I’ve never seen The Empire Strikes Back

It’s half past one. The alarm clock I didn’t set goes off and there’s no option to press snooze. The subconscious ability to ignore such nocturnal animations is, according to the gentle shake on my right arm, no longer a relevant life skill. Up we get, one eye squinting and the other still shut. Try not to walk into the wardrobe. It’s like a hangover but without the regret.

He settles back down and resurfaces at a more reasonable time. It’s still dark but at least Radio 4 has started up for the day. A feed and a change and Karthi Gnanasegaram’s first sports desk are a recipe for our first nap. We wake up, a shade before eight o’clock, to both a call from the Sky installer and a house bereft of its mother. We’re on our own but, hey, at least we’ll have Sky Sports before lunchtime. As it is, the Sky man’s in and out before Karthi’s final bulletin (“I hope the rest of the day is this easy, it’s too cold to be putting dishes up outside”). But where there’s yin there’s invariably yang; the BT Openreach man later spends three hours up a ladder trying to install our new phone line. I start moving our network devices over to the new connectivity during his afternoon nap. The boy’s, not the BT Openreach man’s. I don’t think people at BT get to have afternoon naps. Not since privatisation.

An important aspect of looking after an infant is, according to those who have done it, to get out of the house every day. It was nice to visit Lynne (good chat) and Ari (I now know how soon babies can negotiate a flight of stairs and turn on all the bathroom taps) and spend the walk back discussing the relative merits of a particular brand of high chair with my mother. The relative merit is, in this case, that my mum’s willing to buy one for us. We just have to pick a colour. Good job there’s only thirteen of them to chose from.

Bedtime passes without incident. But that unexpected alarm goes off again before long and yesterday’s shake of the arm has become a gentle prod in the ribs. We go through the motions (note double entendre) and go back to bed. No time for Karthi this morning, though, because there’s a Test match to watch. Despite it being the first opportunity to watch cricket at home in nearly four years, I have absolutely no idea what happened or what I did instead of paying attention to it. Some laundry got done, much to everyone’s surprise, and we visited some of the North Circular’s most popular family destinations (Mothercare, Costco, Sainsbury’s petrol station). Alex’s good behaviour was rewarded with a new pair of faster teats, mine with a crate of Peroni.

The evening was unremarkable and passed without incident. He slept, Claire went out for a pal’s birthday, I ordered a Papa John’s and watched Star Wars for the first time. I go to bed wondering what I’m going to use as an unusual fact about myself at the next team-building away day.

“I’ve never seen The Empire Strikes Back.” Job done.


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