28 January 2007

Icing on the cake

It is nearly midnight on Sunday. I have briefly logged onto the BBC news website to see what has been happening over the last few days in the big wide world. I haven't looked at a newspaper since Thursday. I took Friday off work and, except for a couple of calls and emails, spent the day with the three most important girls in my life. We went to Aqua Babies at the Kensington Sports Centre near Ladbroke Grove. Yesterday - Saturday - we took a long walk down to the Kings Road and the new farmers' market at the Duke of York's barracks development, where we ended bumping into two different lots of friends quite randomly and making new friends with a lady who, pregnant with twins, who stopped me outside Patisserie Valerie and wanted to know all about our Jane (Spanish - pronounced Yanee) double buggy. Sarah gave her a card and invited her to get in touch by email if she wanted the details of where to get one. Later on my brother came over for tea with his wife and daughter and we finally got around to exchanging Christmas presents. I got some snazzy Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones which will be handy on my travels. I got him a slingbox - I hope he manages to get it to work. We gave our niece a Barbie doll with a battery operated spinning skirt, which has to be seen to be believed. A glimpse of what I am for in the next few years.

This morning we managed to heave ourselves out of bed in time to make it to our church, St Mary the Boltons, for the first time since the girls were christened at the start of December. It seemed fitting to go there today, their six month birthday. When the girls were in Special Care Baby Unit at the Chelsea and Westminster, I could see St Mary's spire from the window by their cot and looked forward to taking them there when they were big enough to come out of hospital.

Just after we arrived, some more friends whom we haven't seen in quite a while came in with their little girl - who I hadn't yet met although she must be about 15 months old - and came and sat down next to us and we discovered that they are expecting another one. Georgina spent the whole service on my lap or on my shoulder, falling asleep during the sermon and waking just in time for communion, but without a sad whimper throughout the whole service, just a few happy squeeks. Francesca was just as good with Sarah and incredibly neither of us ended up in the "fish tank" at the back of the church, where the parents of noisy children retreat to listen to the service through a relay speaker.

At the end of the service a couple who are friends of a very good friend of mine spotted us and came over to say hello and to meet the twins. They're expecting twins as well and were full of questions. Then they told us that they are renovating their house and thought they might need an architect to produce some drawings, so Sarah is seeing them next week.

After church, we trundled off to South Kensington to check out the Aquilla health club as a possible alternative to Aqua Babies and discovered that they run Saturday morning "father and baby" sessions, so decided that we would sign up for those, since I can't exactly take every Friday off.
Then to complete our weekend of pregnant people, after a quick lunch (with the twins trying out their high chairs for the first time, each propped up with a cushion) we went off to Marlow to have tea with an old school friend of Sarah who is expecting in May.

Back to London for a slightly late supper (in those high chairs again) and a bath for the girls. We heated up a jar of goose cassoulet bought from a Frenchman at the farmers' market yesterday and settled down for episodes 3 and 4 of the new series of 24 (which is compelling, if a little silly).

Earlier today, as we were walking back from South Kensington, Sarah told me how happy she was and how the twins were the icing on the cake. Surely, I replied, they're part of the cake - they're the strawberry jam. What does that make me then, Sarah asked, the Victoria Sponge?

Days like this help me put things into perspective. Tomorrow I will go to work and no doubt will get exercised by what is going on there and by things I read in the papers. And maybe I'll be moved to write about political issues, or one day, maybe even do something about them. But however incompetent or corrupt or boneheaded the government of this country is and continues to be, nothing has prevented me from having a perfect long weekend with my girls. Goodnight.

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