Johnny Moore: Being a cool uncle
My dodgy brother-in-law was grumpy and uptight last week.
It's only a few weeks until Queen's Birthday weekend when we take his 1926 Chrysler on the Irishman's Creek Rally. Even for a joker known as the "Piston Whisperer", the list of required jobs was enough to make him grumpy.
I decided the best thing to do was steal his kids for a day so he could hook into fixing the car.
My wife and I like test-driving kids on the weekend. You get all the fun with none of the responsibility.
Sadly, my niece Tilly was so badly behaved on Friday night that she was grounded. As part of her punishment she wasn't allowed to come with us. Sometimes you punish yourself when you punish your kids.
My nephew, Tom, got to be king for the day. Tom's awesome.
He's more like a grown-up mate who doesn't drink than a kid who started school last week.
He cried when his mum left him at school. His grandmother told him that's what I did when I started school.
He liked hearing this. He thinks I lived in the olden days and that dinosaurs were around when my mum was a kid.
We had a grand old day. We laughed and played and I explained what happens in the first three Star Wars movies, which his father refuses to acknowledge exist. We went to the shops and watched the Lego Movie.
During the film he was so deliriously happy that he kept saying: "I'm really having a good time, Johnny." He's a kid that needs shushing if ever I've met one.
My mum has been up staying with her sister this week. Auntie Lib was undergoing surgery for breast cancer. I've spent the week thinking fondly of Auntie Lib and how she was responsible for teaching me Pythonesque humour and a smart-arse atheism.
This has led me to talking to a bunch of people about how cool old aunties and uncles are, especially the childless ones.
Mothers and fathers get a Hallmark holiday every year.
But not poor old aunties and uncles. You know who they are. The cool ones. They let you stay up late and listen to good music. They do wheelies on motorbikes and go on holiday to exotic places.
Basically, they're like your parents, just not as daggy.
When my wife and I dropped Tom home, he ran straight inside to tell his sister about his day. Tilly had spent the day being neglected.
She'd wandered about the house keeping herself amused while her father ignored her for a car. She reminded me of my mad old nana with weirdly applied makeup and imaginary friends.
The Piston Whisperer was in a great mood though. He had broken the back of his "to do" list and it was looking like we might actually make it on the car rally.