How Transport Ideals Downscale with Time…

How transport ideals downscale with time…

At age 5:

No limits

‘…the bunk-bed can be my spaceport.’

At age 15:


‘I’ll have one in red as well’.

At age 25:

'What speed-camera? Oh'.

‘I’m gonna book that Silverstone track day’.

At age 35:

'It's the 2.0L turbo diesel so it shifts".

“It’s the 2.0L turbo diesel”.

At age 45:

'I'm riding 60miles this weekend'.

“I’m riding 60miles every weekend”.

At age 55:

Walking boots

“Might do the coastal path next summer”.

At age 65:


“St. Lucia looks nice”.


The (Sub)Urbandaddy

The living room is a Bikini atoll of furniture, toys and dust-sheets, erupting from a beige carpet. There are unpacked boxes everywhere. The new loft contains everything we took out of the old loft, except for the stuff that is now in the garage, a place where the previous occupant actually used to park her car. I mean, where did she put her stuff?

One wet afternoon back in February, sober and possessed of all our faculties, MsUrbanDaddy and I decided that we should move house and have a third child at the same time. Well, how hard could it be? Ha! Idiots! Unsurprisingly, It’s been four and a half months since I wrote a blog post…

Still, it’s done. Our first floor casino chip in SW17 has been cashed in for a place out in North Kent commuter belt. Three kids, a semi- detached house in the ‘burbs, a VW Touran – I’m gonna need a new name for the blog…

No running with the dogs here.

The (Sub)UrbanDaddy…

Goodbye to a Family

So a couple of days ago, we sold great-grandma Jane’s old Astra.

In a donotreply email received from D.V.L.A. today, I read this:

I remember you walking round kicking my tyres, as if you knew what you were doing!

I remember how the two of you would always wait until the kids were asleep in the back, before you tucked into the crisps and sweets.

I remember you always tuned the radio to Magic FM, you old cheese-bag!

I remember how your daughters always reached their limit around Bristol and you’d have to sing Old MacDonald for another forty miles!

I remember an Aire south of Paris; giant wind-turbines silhouetted against a flaming sunset, and a fairytale playground, corralled by long-distance lorries, where the girls ran free while you searched for the bag with the pyjamas and sleepsuits in it. And I remember thinking: I’m a proper family car!

I loved every minute, even after I knew you were going to sell me.

Good luck and drive safely, wherever you’re going.

Goodbye Astra

We now have a big brood, MsUrbanDaddy and I. And big broods don’t fit into small cars.

It’s time to move from old hatchback to slightly newer MPV. We have been to Estate-on-Thames and S-Max-minster but some good friends have pointed us towards Touran Town and, well, we like it there.

Anyway, I thought I’d better empty out the last few bits of our stuff from the old car and get it ready for sale.

Those ‘last few bits’ turned out to be:
1 UK road map
1 notepad
4 pens
3 sticker books
2 old CBeebies magazines
7 plastic balls
1 large bag of raisins
1 bag of jelly sweets
3 nappies (unused)
2 rolls of toilet paper
1 bottle junior Paracetamol
2 packets Ibuprofen
and the spare buggy

(Note-to-self: Keep the new car tidy).
(Note to note-to-self: Fat chance!)

So last week, a VW Touran arrived (thanks Justine!) and, this week, it’s goodbye Astra. Had some good times in that car. Hope its new owner enjoys the many thousands of miles it has left in it or, failing that, fills it with a better kind of clutter.

Goodbye Astra...

Goodbye Astra!

Why Do You Get Hair In Your Nose?

“Have you washed your hands?”
“With soap?”

Without warning, two damp palms are thrust towards my nose. I smell them suspiciously.

“That one doesn’t smell of soap”.
“Daddy your nose isn’t very good at smelling. I think it’s because you get hay-fever. And because you have lots of hair in your nose”.

I am somewhat winded by my eldest daughter’s observation. She, naturally, is oblivious to this.

“Daddy why do you get hair in your nose?” It’s a question I’ve raised myself, in more plaintive moments.

“Just… Daddies sometimes have hair in their noses, petal”.


I fix my best rictus grin and hand her her junior toothbrush.

To have children is to subscribe to mild humiliation on a continuous basis. This much I know.

How I look to my daughter

How I look to my daughter

Birthday Girls

The whole family is gathered outside a cafe for tea and cake. MsUrbanDaddy is fishing a teabag from her foampack cup. Grandma V busies herself marshalling errant bits of gift-wrap into a plastic bag. The high sun is in full conspiracy with our bistro table to near blind me with reflected light. Maybe that’s why it takes me so long to light the candles on our shop-bought Victoria sponge.

Our eldest reminds us that the cake has not even been cut, still less served; a state of affairs she clearly regards as criminal. I agree, but cake cutting duties have been given to our 2 year-old birthday girl and she just is not following our script, preferring instead to sit and quietly chew her plastic spoon.

Suddenly, MsUrbanDaddy stands up and starts hopping from foot to foot. Her hands flash between open palm and clenched fist, her breathing is deep and measured. Her eyes could start a blaze in the middle-distance over my shoulder. I say nothing.

Her tension subsides and she sits down. The children are completely oblivious to mummy’s strange behaviour. MsUrbanDaddy decides the time has come to get the party started.

“Shall I help you cut the cake, lovely?”

Birthday girl is suddenly ahead of us, cutting a tiny, mushed-up strip of sponge and giving it to her sister. Ha! You go, girl, I think to myself. This will likely be the last birthday cake she’ll have for herself. MsUrbanDaddy confirms my suspicions as I take Grandma V and the girls home. “Don’t be long. This is happening”.

Barely two hours later, daughter number 3 arrives, express. The midwife doesn’t even have time to put her gloves on, catching her instead with a towel. At four weeks pre-term, she’s caught more than our midwife on the hop. We need to pick up a few things – a bigger car, for starters. But the logistics can wait. I’m looking at my second birthday girl of the day and she’s beautiful.

Get Busy

The eldest comes skipping out of pre-school, waving some pieces of paper at me. It’s a school portrait in which she’s braced, ram-rod straight, smiling a vaguely terrified smile, the way you might smile if your photographer were a 6-foot bunny rabbit with the voice of Timmy Mallett. The youngest takes advantage of my distraction and pulls the pic out my hand, into the buggy. She wants to look at it, which means chew it, obviously.

In the 25 minutes it takes us to make the 5 minute walk from school, we have a discussion about funerals , a low blood-sugar tantrum and countless gentle prompts on road safety that pass in, through and out the other side. One day the youngest, who routinely ignores everything I say, will learn how to ride a scooter properly. Then things will be interesting.

Actually, things are going to be interesting a lot sooner than that. Thins are re-emerging from the loft: a carrier seat; a Phil and Ted’s cocoon. And lots of very small clothes. We are about to get very busy in our house. I’ll enjoy these relaxed school runs while I can.