About this time every year my mum rings up and asks what I want for my birthday. That the day itself is not actually until the end of September matters not a jot. Big Mama likes to be prepared.
I'm not too sure why if I'm honest. That's because each year in response to the same question I give the same answer: Socks and undies.
Blokes of my age with a mum of a similar vintage will know where I'm coming from.
To all intents and purposes we are men who don't really need much. We already have everything in our lives.
In my case it's the love of a good (and hot) woman, a shiny set of golf clubs, a never-ending bottle of gin in the booze cabinet and four kids who have all made me proud.
It's also a bonus the four kids have all told me they'll feed me if I can't find another fulltime job.
Anyway. The birthday request.
Big Mama will ring any day now I'm sure but this year I'm going to vary my request slightly. I'm going to ask for some handkerchiefs. Basically because I seem to have run out. Here's why.
I have always had a good supply of hankies but of late I seem to have lost quite a few and have been using others for just about everything . . . except wiping my nose. Take recently for instance.
I'm out walking George the Dog. In my pocket I have the mandatory two poo bags which are very quickly used up. Naturally, because George doesn't know the meaning of "please wait till we get home", he decides a third dumping is appropriate before his walk is over.
To make matters worse he goes on the front lawn of the couple down the road while they are sitting out on their porch having a cuppa. Watching.
I can't leave it and the only thing I have available to remove it is, you guessed, a hankie.
Trust me I know. Disgusting.
So that's one gone.
Next Mrs P needs one to quickly remove some sort of hideous substance which has suddenly appeared on some precious surface far away from her regular go-to removers. The handkerchief ends up completely discoloured, full of holes and basically useless.
So that's two gone. And there were others. So many in fact that when we took George out for a walk in the forest recently I had to go right over the back of the sock drawer, behind my spare, spare reading glasses and that old watch I'm going to get fixed some day, to find one before we left.
I didn't give a thought about it being my last one until Mrs P sniffed and then asked if I had one.
Begrudgingly I offered it up, a bit like when you are at a restaurant and your companion wants to taste your meal – the one you got for you and you alone. You know you have to but you are not happy about it. I'm sure you get my drift.
Anyway. I give her the handkerchief.
A short way into the walk a rather playful dog comes up and jumps up on her. Then it grabs the hankie away from her hand in its mouth and runs off.
Naturally I am somewhat peeved and I give chase, followed by Mrs P and the owner who is shouting - "Don't let him swallow it!".
As the "game" unfolds like one of those crazy Benny Hill chases, we discover this playful mutt has a history of wolfing down all manner of objects. The owner is concerned he will devour the hankie and it will become lodged somewhere in its innards and cause harm.
I am more concerned with saving my last hankie quite frankly.
After what seems like an age the dog tires a little allowing me to get close so I launch into an athletic full on dive, a bit like John Kirwan going in at the corner, and manage to get a hand on the priceless piece of cloth as my dive ends in a muddy heap.
But the dog isn't giving up. It pulls back hard.
Determined to gain the upper hand I respond until the tug of war dissipates in a loud ripping noise and I fall back into the mud again.
The hound is last seen racing off into the distance, the remnants of a handkerchief flapping from its mouth as the owner chases after him.
In fits of laughter Mrs P arrives to help her hero to his feet.
I feel sort of bloodied but unbowed. The field is mine. I have won the day and vanquished the aggressor.
The spoils of war are offered to my fair maiden so she can dab away the tears of joy running down her cheeks.
Or at least she could have if I'd got a better grip in the tug of war.
All I've come away with is a piece the size of a playing card.
Hardly enough to dab away Mrs P's cascading tears of laughter and certainly nowhere near enough to remove a dog poo from a watching neighbour's front lawn.
• Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to email@example.com .