- Come round and have "a quick tidy up" (twice weekly, Marigolds provided)
- Stroke my forehead and say 'there there, it's ok, you're doing fine' (ad hoc, as required)
- Discourage me from eating 7 cupcakes in a row by their mere presence
- Make cups of tea (constant. It's one of my very favourite things about having my sister or Prog Rock to stay, the endless stream of hot beverages not made by me)
- Walk the dog when bits of me fall off (about twice weekly again)
- Tell me when I am wearing food stained clothes (this would have to be daily - a quick 2 minute outfit check)
- cook a proper meal (once a week is quite sufficient for this. More and I would implode with pathetic gratitude. Noone needs to see that)
- Collect me from the station. I have become bizarrely obsessed with this in recent months. It seems the height of luxury to have someone collect you from the station. Apart from trips to York, when Prog Rock is almost always standing somewhere on Platform 3 smoking a sneaky B & H, noone has collected me from a station or airport since dinosaurs roamed Uccle. Yet lately, when I get off my Eurostar, I find myself casting a wistful glance at the waiting huddle, knowing there can't possibly be anyone waiting for me, and yet bizarrely hoping there might be (who? God knows). Not the corporate ones with misspelt name signs, but the actual people, coming to collect their actual people, carry their bags, give them a hug, spirit them away.
I remember coming back from my first proper trip by myself (a month in Morocco aged 16) and my mum meeting me at Heathrow. When I came through arrivals, at first I couldn't see her, I recall. I remember scanning the barriers to try and see her, and almost getting to the point of being a tiny bit anxious, when she stepped out from behind a pillar. It was, she told me, a trick my father had taught her - to hide for a moment. He's a wicked tease, my father. I think I probably started romanticising being met from a train or plane at this point, and I have never stopped (I've never tried the hiding trick myself, though. I'm not good at deferred gratification). I used to collect the CFO from Heathrow all the time during the Oxford Misery Years, dashing up the M40 at suicidal speed and standing in Terminal 2, sometimes with a silly handmade sign. I want someone to do that for me sometimes, especially the late trains, when I am carrying five plastic bags of cheap chocolate and paperbacks and wearing unsuitable shoes. I want to walk along the dingy, grey, striplit corridor of the Gare du Midi and actually see someone who is (paid to look) glad to see me. There's a French novel that I haven't read, but that was in all the bookshops I ever went into for a while called "Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelquepart", and it seems to be lodged in my psyche. I want someone to wait for me somewhere.
- bring me my toothbrush when I accidentally get into bed too early in the evening and can't get out again (I want one of those buttons on a string round my neck for this, like those "Mrs Hope knows help is coming" adverts from the back of the Sunday supplements c1985. "Uuuuugh! I have a dental hygiene emergency! Help! And, er, can I have a hot water bottle now you're here?").
What do you think? Am I likely to get any applicants? I can pay, oooh, thirty centimes and all the bowls you can carry. Place your own personal ad for staff in the comments box.