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Brassica and I were in Costamuchamoulah must-seen café, looking for liquorice spiders for Hallowe’en, when Carrie rushed in.  We made our ghoulish edible purchases and then all sat at a corner table to drink some coffee.

You will never guess what Ferdy told me after school? That awful John in his science class has been stirring things again, Carrie moaned.

Tell me about it, said Brassie, ruefully.

I was just going to, continued Carrie, who privately loathed Brassie’s

use of that expression.

Well, he sidled up to Ferdy and said, Why doesn’t your Mummy get fixed up with ‘FameDaddy’?  Ferdy didn’t know what he was talking about.  I think John’s mum must allow him to watch trashy ITV programmes as I Googled the name and it transpires that some CEO called Dan Richards was on a programme with Phillip Schofield, presenting a soon-to-be-launched-service, offering women who wanted to bear children with quality DNA to avail themselves of their sperm bank of celebrity donors.

Brassie looked interested, but she had already asked to be regaled with the facts, so she bit her tongue.

Yes, said Carrie, John then insulted Ferdy and his brothers-and, by implication, Gyles- by saying that if I had applied to ‘FameDaddy’, I wouldn’t have produced such useless kids and I still had time to produce a decent one.

How rude! What did Ferdy say?

He reminded him that he had beaten him at science and so John’s daddy couldn’t exactly have been Richard Dawkins.

But two wrongs don’t make a right, I interjected.  Neither paid the slightest attention.

And then Ferdy- how can I put this?-punched his lights out.

Brassie clapped her hands and then desisted when she caught my disapproving look.

Was John all right afterwards?  She feigned concern.

Oh, after he came round he said that he saw stars and Ferdy said, ‘Well, you always were on a different planet.’  Then he walked out of the locker room.

What did Mr Milford-Haven do when he discovered the boys had been fighting? I thought I’d try to bring some order to this exchange.

He took Ferdy aside and gave him a commendation and a mini-Mars bar, I believe.

But surely that was immoral? I insisted.

Yes, said Carrie. We don’t encourage sweets at home, so Ferdy brought it to me and I ate it for him.

No, I was becoming exasperated. I meant the violence.

Carrie looked a little discomfited and sipped her coffee which was tepid by now. Ferdy explained it to me.  He said that it was the same as a burglar breaking into your home.  John had invaded our privacy and stuck his nose into our business, so he had used proportionate force to repel him.  David Cameron said that was okay.

Brassie looked wistful.  I must say, Carrie,  that I sometimes wish I had dipped into the gene pool of Dan Snow, or Roger Federer, instead of subjecting the twins to a possible genetic link to Cosmo’s mother.

I'm quite chuffed with how the camera coped, c...

I’d call that a black swan event, said Carrie comfortingly.

Brassie looked confused.

I mean, there may be a pattern and there may be a rare chance that they will fulfil a prediction, but it is unlikely. 

More likely than you sharing your genes with Dan Snow, I added unkindly, before I could stop myself.

Carrie tried to draw attention away from my inappropriate remark:

Black swan events are linked to global weirding, she continued. You know- sunspots, extreme cyclical weather patterns, with rogue element exceptions.  You can’t predict whether you will get out of a snow-bound Heathrow or not in the Christmas holidays.

I saw Horizon too, I remarked.  She was beginning to sound like the tiresome John of the black eye.  They said that you can’t really make 100% accurate predictions.

So, I might have a chance with Dan..

No, that’s a certainty: you won’t, I interjected firmly.

Well, what about that twenty five pounds that I paid Sonia to look into her crystal ball for me? asked Brassie, shaken in her simple faith.

That’s probably gone down a black hole, or gone up in a puff of smoke, I laughed caustically.

Carrie added, I think you would have been better advised to refer to a satellite, or to that meteorological computer, ‘Behemoth’, that generates 100 trillion predictions a second.

No wonder they get it so wrong all the time then, said Brassie naively.  Yesterday they said it would be dry and I got soaked right down to my ‘La Senza’, standing in the yard, waiting for the twins to come out of their music lessons.

You have to take an umbrella with you at all times, laughed Carrie, then it will never rain!  But, what’s all this obsession with spreading your genes, Brassie?  You aren’t seriously thinking of having another baby?  I thought you had enough on your plate with the twins?

The FameDaddy thing just sounded interesting, she said.

It was a hoax, Brassie, I laughed.

Oh, it’s just that you both have girls and I just got a little broody.  It would be a black swan event if Cosmo and I got together.  The chances would be about a trillion to one. He might as well be on a space station for all the likelihood of a conjunction between usHe’s taken to sleeping in the observatory in the garden.

200_Vinci_Melzi_Leda_and_the_Swan-a.jpgI was sobering up.  She seemed genuinely upset. I tried to comfort her.  Have you heard of Leda and the swan?

What are you talking about, Candia?  Carrie flashed me a warning look.

Just that swans can impregnate you when you are not expecting it, I muttered lamely.

The only genes I’m really after are Elle McPherson drainpipes. She tried to throw us off the scent.  These are getting too tight.

Maybe you are already…? we both spoke simultaneously.

Brassie looked horrified.

Who’s the father? we enquired.  Three more lattes, we instructed the waitress.