"I can't see you this weekend." he said, gravely.
"Oh," she said, "right."
"You're going to be so envious," he said, the smile returning to his voice, "when I tell you where I'm going this weekend."
"Really." she said, wishing he hadn't phoned.
"Yeah, I'm going away for the weekend."
"Where are you going for the weekend?"
"Oh you're going to be so envious."
"So, where are you going."
"I'm going to Paris." he said.
"Right. Great. Paris. Great." she paused, wishing she hadn't answered the phone. "Right."
"Yeah, I'm going to see my friend, you know," the smile had become a grin, "the one I told you about?"
She thought for a moment.
"Chloe." she said.
"Yeah, it's been booked for ages. I booked it ages ago."
She thought for another moment.
"Mmmm, yeah." he said, tentatively, "going to meet her new man."
She didn't speak.
"The American." he said.
"Yeah," he said gravely, "hope it doesn't rain," trying to make the trip a less enviable prospect, "probably will."
"Does it matter?" she said, "It's Paris."
I found a large bottle of vintage port and a box of 'intensely chocolatey' French truffles on my desk, a note saying: thank you so much. .....for fixing up the mess and covering the ass of my young colleague while she was away on her 3 week holiday.
Top tip: How About I Be Me (You Be You) Sinead O'Connor's latest album will keep you dancing round the kitchen on even the wettest days.