Tuesday, 20 March 2007


I don’t know about you, but all this weather reminds me of a Hollywood disaster movie. Hailstones like golf balls, searing heat, angry cloud formations that creep up on you as soon as you nip out for a newspaper. Still, as long as I don’t end up like Kevin Costner on an upturned boat it’ll be ok.

We braved the weather and the cross London journey to visit my heavily pregnant sister. It was a salutary reminder that while inside the congestion zone a Prius might nip around looking vaguely sensible, as soon as you leave this enclave you look like you are driving around in an orthopaedic armchair or something on hire from Shopmobility to fetch the groceries. You might as well be displaying a bumper sticker that says “Can you tell me where Waitrose is?”. Still, we got there in the end, surviving a trip up a one way street in Brixton (suddenly BMWs were approaching me on both sides of the road. I was either contravening a road traffic regulation or I had stumbled into a covert Police operation.)
“What’s wrong daddy?” asked my daughter, picking up on a squeaked expletive. “Just, er, going up the wrong road” I hissed, doing a U-Turn (surprisingly good turning circle the Prius) and bumping my way over the pavement, pursued by a bunch of irate locals. We also survived the severe climate change, with the coats required in arctic West London proving too much in the South London heatwave. My daughter fell asleep in the high temperatures, I just overheated.

We arrived in a tizz and a sweat, and I turfed my daughter out of the car, barely awake. “What’s wrong, are you a bit grumpy?” I asked as she looked at me with obvious disgust.

This is by way of an apology. I grab her from the school gates, strap her in the car, drive jerkily for hours across the capital in stuffy conditions, rudely awake her and expect her to be in a good mood? Sometimes parents expect nothing short of miracles from their children. I think she’s just about forgiven me now.

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