Clarkson on: babies
So there I was, standing around in the crush bar at Pebble Mill, when my wife telephoned to say that she was pregnant. Initially, I was pleased because it meant all my bits work properly. But then I was hit by wave after wave of problems. So great is the list that after six cups of hot sweet tea and some Marlboro, I began to wish that the bits had been surgically removed at birth, like we should do with stupid people.
It isn't so much that I will now have to wait until 2110 before I get a decent night's sleep or even that every penny I earn will be gobbled up by the perverts and beardies who run whatever public school we choose. (And that's only if we have any money left after the unavoidably massive investment in Pampers, Fisher Price and a pouting 16-year-old Swedish au pair has bled our bank account dry.)
Already, we are arguing about names. I like the idea of Boadicea if it's a girl or Rumpelstiltskin if it isn't. But this has gone down about as well as the idea of a 16-year-old blonde locked up in the house with me all day.
“I have been told, quite firmly in fact, that the nanny will be a moose, or there will be no nanny at all”
I keep trying to point out that I'll be far too tired for any horizontal jogging with the staff after I've been up all night long wiping vomit and faeces off the walls. But despite my protests I have been told, quite firmly in fact, that the nanny will be a moose, or there will be no nanny at all.
The rows, however, are not the worst aspect of Babydom. Nor do we mind very much that the days when we can simply disappear off to California are over. Sure, we could take the child too, but I really do believe that no-one should ever be allowed to take a baby on a long-haul flight.
Airlines ban smoking because it inconveniences other passengers, yet children are allowed to howl all the way from Cornwall to Nova Scotia.
Babies should be carried in soundproof boxes stowed safely in the hold, and as I don't want my baby in a box, it won't be going on an aeroplane. And that means we won't either.
We won't be much fun at dinner parties, either. Like every other couple that has ever spawned a child, we will be able to talk of nothing else. Which will make us dull and tedious. I may even start wearing corduroy.
Certainly, I shall need to go to church and renounce the devil. But all this, we can live with.
What sends Mrs Clarkson scuttling for the Gordons and the coathangers is the mere mention of the V word.
What we find difficult is the thought of a Volvo. The Cosworth we have as a second car only has two doors and will be no good as a pram, despite the large handle on the back. And anyway thieves keep breaking it, so it will have to go.
My Jaguar has enough doors and space to be a sort of wheeled playroom, but I will ruin its caddish image by fitting baby seats so we need something else.
And if we're going to be dull and tedious, and wear corduroy, and have no money, and if we're going to carry on living in south-west London, and if we're going to conform on every other front too, then it will have to be a Volvo, with a ‘Baby On Board' sticker and maybe even an animal of some sort on the bonnet.
Got to go now. I can hear the unmistakable sound of boiling water being poured into an already hot bath.