I love to eat fruit. It keeps you healthy and regular and all that, but it’s got another very useful purpose too.

Fruit is a very effective measure of the state of my life. Like a personal KPI (key performance indicator). If the fruit bowl is flowing over with a variety of plump and enticing specimens, all is good with the world and I’m on top of my game.

But pay heed when the bowl is empty, or worse, when the bottom is covered with sticky oozings and furry growths can be spotted among the sad and soggy contents, right next to the shrivelled, rock hard limes now measuring barely two centimetre that should have been used weeks ago and that I’m sure were twice that size when they went into the bowl. It’s a sign that life must have been getting way too hectic and any form of decent shopping regime and self-care has clearly gone out the window.

The (now grown) Misses M used to notice the difference too in their lunchboxes of days gone by. A handful of green grapes was a treat, but not as special as a mango cheek, sliced ready to fold back and bite off in little cubes, with a paper napkin ready for the glorious mess. Mandarines, easy for small fingers, or baby celery sticks (yes, I know it’s not a fruit) weren’t a bad sign, but perish the thought of the days when there was no vegetative matter present whatsoever and small bags of popcorn and muesli bars appeared next to the sandwiches, pretending to be a healthy choice for a overwhelmed mother (not that that was the determining factor in what was eaten). An easy indicator that a little bit of mayhem was sneaking into our existence, sometimes a lot. Lunch order days indicated an even lower level of disorder, popular though they may have been. Just about always a Friday, as I recall.

Today I looked at my fruit bowl – not bad! Quite a lot, even some variety, and not one bit of ooze or offness. Things must be going okay.

Maybe I’ll stop consulting doctors and psychologists re the state of my health, and just peer in the fruit bowl instead.