Safety first: That’s my motto when ask­ing strangers to look af­ter the twins

DOU­BLE TROU­BLE FOR A FIRST-TIME DAD OF TWINS

Bath Chronicle - - FAMILY MATTERS - Richard IRVINE

I’D an­tic­i­pated sleep, money and time as be­ing prob­lems, but not the art of manag­ing com­plex op­er­a­tions, when all I wanted was a turnip from the fruit shop. The lo­gis­tics of sim­ple tasks take on a new di­men­sion when you’re in con­trol of a dou­ble buggy laden with hu­man life. This par­tic­u­lar Satur­day, I’d left the house with the twins se­cured by a four-point rac­ing har­ness. It’s sim­i­lar to some­thing For­mula One driv­ers re­quire, when they’re driv­ing around a track at 200mph. Nat­u­rally, bet­ter safe than sorry, but I’d like to see

them move more than their heads and fin­gers, when we’re out for a walk. First stop was the fruit shop for that turnip and some over­lyripe bananas for their pud­ding. Un­for­tu­nately, there was a large box of pota­toes block­ing the door­way. I thought I’d gently shove it out the way with the buggy but re­al­ized it was sup­port­ing a bro­ken box of heavy look­ing cour­gettes. Rather than risk an en­tire box of veg­eta­bles emp­ty­ing across a busy shop floor, I de­cided to as­sess sur­round­ing shop­pers for a suitable baby-sit­ting can­di­date.

Women were my first choice, but they were all bustling past laden with re­us­able bags. I stood out­side for a while fish­ing for in­ter­est in the twins but no­body was tak­ing the bait. Luck­ily, I spot­ted an older man with a dog next to a lamp­post. To me a dog pro­vides a halo of hon­est de­pend­abil­ity and this cou­pled with the chap’s age led me to think he was a safe bet. I ap­proached the stranger and po­litely asked if he’d mind mak­ing sure no­body stole the twins while I got my turnip. He replied, ‘why not’, which was fine but I would rather he had said some­thing more along

the lines of ‘it’d be a plea­sure’. Through the shop win­dow, I was watch­ing to make sure he did his job prop­erly and although not em­brac­ing his role, they weren’t stolen. Turnip suc­cess­fully pur­chased I re­turned to re­lieve him of his duty only to no­tice he smelt strongly of al­co­hol. It’s cer­tainly not my place to judge but on closer in­spec­tion I also spot­ted he looked a lit­tle di­shev­elled,

weath­ered and was not as el­derly as first thought. It was cer­tainly a timely wake-up call in re­spect of my baby-sit­ting re­cruit­ment pol­icy. Although the most im­por­tant les­son was what I find an amus­ing anec­dote about leav­ing the twins with a drunk stranger is some­thing my part­ner Vic­to­ria may view very dif­fer­ently, there­fore it’s best to keep th­ese er­rors of judge­ment to our­selves. Let’s keep mum about this one.

Sure I’ll mind yer kids – jus s’long as I don haf to share me bot­tle

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