Monday, August 4, 2008

Lisa went swanning off to have champagne on a yacht on Saturday, leaving me at home with George… Claudia’s company had some kind of wine tasting jolly going on and she invited Lisa to go along with her.

George is well and truly on the move now, and although he requires more supervision than he did before, he doesn’t actually want as much attention. He’s happier to play on his own, practicing getting around and banging things together, so he doesn’t want you to follow him about. However, he’s never more than 10 seconds from destruction of property or fatal injury, so you have to keep an eye on him (he nearly fell down the stairs a few days ago – so we’re busy leafing through catalogues trying to find stairgates that will fit onto curved banisters….)

Anyway, in his new role as resident safety inspector, he was happy to spend the morning checking the house for sharp, electrical and unstable objects.

In the afternoon, I thought I’d take him out for a short walk, so I put him in the pram and set off round the block… just as I was on my way home, I met Mons and Abi and their children on the way to Dulwich park. I decided to join them, and it only occurred to me once we were there, and it started to rain that I had come prepared only for a walk around the block.

We try to be as minimal as possible with George and don’t carry round the trailer loads of baby stuff most parents seem to require, but being caught out made me suddenly aware of how useful a change of nappy and clothes, a rain cover, some milk, a couple of rice-cakes (fair trade, additive free, organic rice cakes –obviously), a muslin, a raincoat, some toys, a book, some baby suntan lotion, a rubbish bag and a box of wipes would have been…

At the park, we met up with a few of their friends. One guy turned up with a double push chair, and a confident air. A couple of weeks earlier, his wife had given birth and he had delivered the child himself…. In the world of the modern father, it’s no longer enough to be there at the birth – if you want real kudos, you have to be the midwife too.

That said, I don’t think even East Dulwich Dad Etiquette would have required me to perform a DIY caesarean…

When Lisa returned, just after her parents arrived (Lisa’s Dad was going to a couple of Proms with Sam this weekend and her Mum was working) we left her mum looking after him and went off to Soho – where we found the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to ( There’s only one other that comes close and that’s in Australia (and run by a chef to the King of Thailand).

I think Sam and Lisa’s Dad had a less successful evening – they went to a concert of classical music by a composer who described himself as the greatest composer in history – but who didn’t find many other people to agree with him.

Sunday was a little more relaxed and basically revolved around Toad in the Hole cooked by Sam – toad in the hole is such a good meal – and I wonder why I never make it.

Toad in the hole

6oz/150g plain flour 2 large eggs 6fl oz/150ml milk salt pepper
6 sausages (I use Quorn sausages)

Make a pancake batter from eggs, milk and flower whisked together – it’s best to leave the batter to sit for a couple of hours before cooking it.

Meanwhile, brown the sausages and put a little oil in a baking dish. Heat the dish up in the oven until it’s very hot, then pour in a little of the batter (it should sizzle and start to rise). Put the dish back in the oven for a few minutes before adding the sausages and the rest of the batter.

When the batter is cooked through and brown on top, serve – with onion gravy, and some steamed greens….

Great comfort food.

We intended to spend the afternoon at a Malaysian market which was apparently taking place at Tower Bridge, but we just didn’t feel like it…

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