Heart stopping moment last week. Horror filled, bile inducing, bowel moving moment.
Tea time at Grandmother's. Imagine a dear little cottage on the edge of Dartmoor, garden filled with spring flowers and neatly cut lawns. We'd spent the day on the beach and returned home in the early evening.
Children bathed. Food on the table.
Me sitting at table with huge cup of tea. Smiling indulgently at my children, fragrant from their baths, rosy from the beach.
Daughter, aged almost nine, puts down her fork and smiles at me.
Ah, I think. Such a dear girl.
She looks at Middle Son.
'So,' she says, directing her clear blue gaze on her elder brother. 'When do you think you will Have Sex, then?'
My jaw fell open. I could feel my eyes widen with surprise and a terrible giggly laugh issue forth before I could stop it.
Middle Son spits out all his food in his mirth.
Youngest looks on with Ready Smile, enjoying the moment.
Grandmother is in the corner of the kitchen. I can hear her muttering to my Husband
'These schools...they tell them everything....so young...know it all...disgraceful...start before they know which end is which... honestly...whatever next.... got to be so careful with girls.'
I can see my Husband's back is shaking with laughter.
He tries to pour balm on the situation.
'More tea, darling?' he asks me, with an Inspirational Facial Grimace which shows his solidarity to me, shares the humour, notes the sympathy to his mother, and lets Daughter know she is in Deep Dudu.
Meanwhile I just press my lips together in an attempt at Seriousness.
It's not working.
Daughter's face is a picture of Consternation and Giggles.
'Can't think why I said that,' she says, in a Conversational Type of Way.
'No,' say I in Clipped Tones.
'For the life of us, neither can we.'
Rest of meal carried on in muted silence, with the odd chuckle from Middle Son.
Oh, and me.