When the caregiver suggested I take my young son to the cinema during the holidays, I readily agreed.
"Just make sure I've got some coins to buy choc-ices in the interval," I exclaimed.
"Where have you been dozing Rip Van Winkle? she responded. "Cinemas don't do intervals anymore."
"But," I stammered, "there must be intervals when the organ comes up to entertain, while we purchase refreshments?"
"When did you actually go to the movies last, Mr Van Winkle?" the caregiver enquired again, pensively wondering if I was up to the task.
"Well," I replied, "I recall seeing An American in Paris, with Gene Kelly," whistling I've Got Rhythm from the score to prove I still had a few marbles left.
The caregiver immediately checked the film's original release date on her mobile, before giving me that pitying look which suggested once again that I wasn't quite on the leading edge of contemporary social interaction.
"An American in Paris was released in 1951, so you probably saw it in 1952," she proclaimed. "There's been a few changes in theatre protocol since then. Fortunately, your seven-year-old son is cinema-savvy, so I guess he'll look after you if you become a bit confused over admission details."
"Just make sure I've got enough money to buy the tickets," I responded gruffly.
"Don't worry Dad, we do that online, you don't need cash any more," my son smirked, passing my iPhone to the caregiver.
"Hey, Mum, don't forget to order popcorn when you book," he added, pushing me aside.
"You're ordering popcorn on my American Express card?" I said, incredulously.
"Don't worry, dear. Just give your son your phone when you arrive and he'll confirm your on-line ticket codes and goodies order at the counter," the caregiver concluded.
Thanks to his expertise with my mobile, everything worked smoothly at the ticket counter and we eventually stumbled into the darkness of the boutique cinema.
I found myself fumbling in the gloom trying to push the seat down.
"Dad, you're embarrassing me!" my son whispered. "The lounge seats are permanently down."
"In the old days an usherette would have helped me," I muttered crossly, unaccustomed to such comfy, super-size seats.
However, once Tom and Jerry flashed up on the screen, everything seemed reassuringly normal again.
If only I had remembered to buy some Jaffas to roll down the aisle.By Peter Bromhead Email Peter