Friday was Burn's night at Sam's... and of course we couldn't just go and have a couple of drinks, we had to look up and follow all the rituals involved.
This included stabbing the haggis (in my case a vegetarian version), reciting a poem in scottish dialect, anouncing the haggis, and eating an absolutely appauling scottish desert made from porrige oats and whiskey (which tastes as bad as it sounds).
We also for some reason performed the "loving cup" ritual - which involves a complex arangement of people protecting each other from being stabbed while they drink from a single challace. apparently somebody once got stabbed in the back while drinking and the ritual was organised to prevent this - and carried on long after the danger was passed.
it's not much good against poisoned drink, though.
We also decided it would be a good idea if everyone bought a single malt whiskey and for the first time, I managed to work out what the difference between different whiskeys was and what "petey" meant.
I found out that I prefer Tobermory to any of the others - and that I don't really like Tobermory very much. The cocktails weren't bad though - and drambuie is OK (although I'm sure a real whiskey drinker would laugh).
Ellen stayed over on Friday night - and apparently for the first time didn't hate being around babies. or maybe she was just being polite.
talking to her, I realised there's a whole sub-culture of baby stuff going on:
when you've got a baby it's like having an unusual sports car. People with the same car will spontaneously nod, smile and chat to you... Being a member of the 'baby club' means you get invited to baby yoga, baby signing, baby salsa, power pramming, toddler cinema showings and a whole host of other baby events that would boggle the mind of the childless.
Then again, perhaps this is just in East Dulwich - which is a little like a gull colony - a place where thousands gather to breed and raise families. Although East Dulwich doesn't attract gulls - it attracts the middle classes....
at least that's why we came here.
Saturday's Guardian featured a pull out on videomaking with an article I'd written (how middle class is that?). Right next to it is an article by Alan Howard - who made the video for our wedding. Further on in the paper there's a book review.....and guess what? it's a review of Richard Fortey's latest book (with a footnote to the effect that he'll be signing copies in Waterstones this week).
In the afternoon it's a gathering of our antenatal group at Donna and Loti's house. Lot's of fun comparing our offspring's development and our various approaches to the huge task of child rearing... We're all trying not to take too much advice from the ridiculus but strangely beguiling books on the matter - The shadow of Gina Ford hangs over us all like a raven over a gull colony - waiting to swoop down at the slightest sign of weakness.
Half way through the party I look up and everyone's standing with babies swaying left to right to keep them quiet. Even those without babies are swaying in sympathy. it's a bit like a sureal drug induced hallucination.
That night, we decide to put George into his own room for the first time. surprisingly enough it works fairly well.
I speak to Mum on the phone. Last week, her new hip managed to dislocate, so she's been told she can't do anything for six weeks. Dad will have to look after her and by the sounds of it he's doing well considering he can't usualy boil a kettle without a set of instructions. It's a shame, but the injury means Mum won't be able to come up and see George for a while...
we'll have to arrange to go down there.
Still, Igor isn't moaning so much now - since Mum shouted at him last time she was down there. He needed it - he's been impossible since they moved into the home.... in fact since he had his stroke.... come to think of it, he was pretty difficult before...
Anyway, telling him she wasn't going to take it seems to have done the trick. I think mum needs to do that a bit more often... and with a few other people who take advantage of her.
On sunday we went shopping - managed to get all kinds of baby stuff. We decided we needed to buy George a couple of toys he can grip as he's suddenly over the last couple of days worked out what his hands are for and he's reaching, grabbing and moving things around.
he's even trying to hold his bottle.
Anyway, we got an award winning toy which seems to just be a tangle of rubber pipes - but which we're told is absolutely great if you're three months old.
it turns out that it is.. George loves it.
On the way home, a girl next to me is explaining to her parents how she'd like to chain her sister to the broccli counter at the supermarket and leave her there....
we've got all that to come