Travelling anywhere with a baby has begun to resemble a particularly farcical episode of Miranda.
Today, for example, Piglet and I (plus my mother) travelled from Bristol to London on the train (Piglet’s first trip on the “big train.” He was fairly non-plussed, despite my mother’s running commentary on the journey with all vehicles played by characters from Thomas the Tank Engine). All started well, although there was a brief moment of panic when we got the pram out of the boot of my mother’s friend’s car at the station only to discover that whoever had packed the pram in the car had disassembled it completely. The last time the pram was taken apart Mother and I spent twenty minutes shrieking in the kitchen and cursing the makers of Bugaboo, watching Youtube videos on “how to assemble your pram” and yelling “it wasn’t like this in my day! I used to be able to fold a double buggy in seconds whilst running for the bus!” whilst unsuccessfully trying to fit all the bits back together, before giving up and taking Piglet out in the sling. This time however, due in no small part to the somewhat calmer influence of my mother’s friend, we managed to put the pram back together, and the journey to London passed uneventfully.
Until we got to Paddington.
“Look!” said my mother smugly as we wandered across the station concourse having successfully folded the pram, stowed it upon the train, removed it from said train and reassembled without incident, “I told you there was a lift!”
One lift. That doesn’t go all the way to the actual tube. POINTLESS.
Needless to say, before long we found ourselves faced with the prospect of a perilous journey on an escalator; Mother with a large suitcase, and me with an empty pram and Piglet in the sling.
Mother panics. “You’re not allowed to take buggies on the escalator! It’s not allowed! It’s too dangerous!” It’ll be fine, I thought. I’ve been on an escalator with the pram before, admittedly not without help, but IT’LL BE FINE. Anyway, there is no other way of getting to the tube, unless buggies are suddenly banned from that too, which is entirely possible.
Seconds later, Piglet and I are on the escalator. The pram has toppled over and is veering off to one side (THANK GOD FOR SLINGS), and the escalator has come to some sort of emergency stop. Piglet is thankfully unharmed, and is gazing at me beatifically from the sling, blissfully oblivious to the fact that his hapless mother has just brought the entire Bakerloo Line to a standstill. Mother and I tiptoe off the escalator, hanging our heads in shame, and wait for it to be repaired while a long line of fellow travellers gather at the top, looking annoyed. It is even worse than that time I tried to get the pram-this time complete with Piglet in it-off a crowded London Overground train at Willesden Junction and the front wheels of the pram FELL DOWN THE GAP and had to be rescued by a crowd of quick-thinking commuters.
And there was me thinking the mass exodus of parents out of London had something to do with the house prices.