It’s been a busy couple of weeks, culminating in a long weekend away at Center Parcs. Just Claire and me, our infant son, and ten of our friends-who-don’t-have-children. All of us, along with four and a half litres of gin, eight bottles of Prosecco, a case of red wine, two crates of Peroni, a selection of bottled real ale, a box of infant formula and a selection box of Ella’s. All tastes catered for.
At this point, it’s important for you to know that Claire comes from something of a ‘planny’ family. Lunches are agreed at least ten clear working days in advance, weekend visits scheduled months ahead, holidays planned years in advance. Sometimes I’m genuinely surprised there’s not a series of allocated time slots pinned on door to their lavatory. I don’t come from a family of planners; my lot are more likely to decide to make the 180-mile trip only to find we’ve gone out.
Anyway. The good thing about one of us being a plan fan is that we usually have an enviable set of gigs to look forward to, a Saturday night table at one of London’s better eateries, at least one reasonably priced flight to somewhere new and interesting, etc. That was back when we did things like go to concerts, eat in restaurants other than Giraffe and holiday in places that aren’t just an hour up the M1. But did we manage to secure any baby activities at Center Parcs? Or did we spectacularly fail to secure the boy a single minute of creche, baby sensory or messy club? And, with the infant swimming session scheduled at 9am on a Saturday, the boy’s swimming shorts were destined to remain untainted by chlorine.
He was stuck with us, our ten friends, and the largest cache of alcohol that’s ever been driven away from Tesco Bedford in a small family hatchback. Thankfully, there is a mutual love and respect between drunk people and babies, probably borne out of the similarities between the two: undulating emotions, an insatiable appetite for snoozing, tearful wake-ups, and a love of MC Hammer.
Not being completely irresponsible, we made a pact. Claire would swap Captain Calamari for Captain Morgan on the Friday and I’d get to decide which particular red wine most looked like Ella’s Prunes Prunes Prunes on the Saturday. Everyone else would be all even on both nights. Except we’re all well into our thirties now and, never the fan of drinking alone, I’m sadly unable to report any findings.