Monday 22 August 2011

Having a baby at 98

No idea, 8.5 units. Reasons for wishing that I could afford to send my son to an English public school (number one in an occasional series): so that he could acquire that irritatingly undeserved self-confidence and air of entitlement that is endemic in their products. My time at Cambridge, and the earlier part of my career in the City, were blighted by a mistaken sense of my inferiority because I did not have this advantage. How a regime of cold baths, starvation, corporal punishment and systematic buggery (thinking of English public schools as they were in my day, rather than how they might be now, Mrs H, just in case you were thinking of lifting your veto on a boarding education) should breed such self-assurance I have absolutely no idea. Maybe it just failed to knock it out of people in whom it had been bred for generations.

 A promiscuous homosexual with a cane

Anyway, I was reminded of all this by eating breakfast in a reasonably posh hotel in Lewes for the last two days, and hearing the 60-something products of assorted public schools braying their weird and wonderful commands at breakfast. Nothing so simple as ordering things that were on the menu, like common Mrs H and I did. No, they needed very specific things, prepared in very specific ways. Rashers of bacon with all the fat cut off. Pots of boiling water with a tea bag brought separately in a dish. Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce (God forbid that they should be offered a generic substitute). My favourite was the 80-something mother of one of the group, encountered this morning, whose volume control had long since dropped off and who delivered her pernickety requests and eccentric opinions in a foghorn voice that could probably have been heard at Glyndebourne, even against competition from the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mind you, it was hard to disagree too strongly with her verdict that Glyndebourne’s Rinaldo was a “silly” production.

After breakfast we drove back to Chester in time for a little light shopping and a visit to a private clinic for a nuchal translucency scan, one of those jobs that gives you a vague idea of whether your offspring is at high risk of coming into the world with one of a small range of unpleasant genetic conditions. When The Boy was in the womb, such things were not available on the NHS in this part of the world and we had no choice but to pay for it (apart from the choice of not having it done at all). Now the test is available on the NHS – but they only provide one chance, so if your foetus is an awkward little sod like ours is (where could it have got that from?) and resolutely refuses to move into a position where the necessary measurements can be taken, you are back to the position as before. So I paid up, the offspring decided to co-operate, and we came away with some more blurry black-and-white images and the assurance that the risk of the abnormalities in question is as low as is statistically possible. Which, given that its parents have a combined age of 98, is terrifically cheering and reassuring.

1 comment:

CC said...

Glad to hear all is well with your expected
new addition.

And, as usual, thanks for the chuckle with my morning coffee.