When I was about eight years old, Maddie came into my life. She was a (much younger) work colleague of my mum’s and they became very close friends. I adored Maddie. She was everything my own mum wasn’t – young, glamorous, up to date on pop music, drove a red sports car. Maddie had long blonde hair with a centre parting (a popular style back in the 1970s), warm brown eyes and an engaging slight gap in her two front teeth which really set off her smile.
She was very good with me, too, interested in what I had to say, and we became great friends too. Perhaps it was unsurprising, then, that Mum eventually asked her to babysit me from time to time so she and Dad could begin to reclaim their social life a bit now I was a bit older. I was a bit disgruntled to be thought old enough still to be ‘babysat’ – but spending time with Maddie made it worthwhile.