Tuesday, 22 July 2008


If you are a single woman aged between 25 and 30, logically, you will want to live in a bustling city centre, where there is plenty of work, plenty of noise after 10pm, plenty of light and movement, and plenty of 24-hour liquor stores for when the company of other single twenty-somethings gets too much for you.

At all costs, you should avoid small, tranquil dormitory towns with a high birth rate and an even higher income bracket.

Like Sevenoaks.

From dawn til dusk, the assault is relentless. The minute you step onto the high street...

.... wham! A straining mass of T-shirt stretched over pregnant belly popping out at all angles!

You keep walking. Pretty smocked tunics flutter over Mummy Gap skinny jeans (with elasticated waistband).
Any shop you enter becomes a feat of navigation (not to mention a politeness contest) as you attempt to sidestep your way around the pushchairs and perambulators blocking the aisles. Do not forget to add a liberal helping of guilt for the resentment you feel towards these poor languishing ladies.
Enormous four-by-fours clog the narrow streets, tiny children perched high up in the vast cabin.
Do not even think about crossing the road.
Particularly if you live on a street with more than one private school.

Sevenoaks is where Giles and Annabelle the Private Wealth specialists come to breed.
Sevenoaks is where energetic sex lives come to die... (their final throes producing young in the Rupert, Zara and Tarquin mould).

Let us picture an innocent scene outside a café. Say, for example, a perfectly common Italian deli-style café serving pickled artichokes and lah-tay* to bored housewives and retired folk.

Two women, with identikit tots squirming on knees, sit sipping skinny latte in the shade.
The waitress arrives:
- Ooh look, Fearghus, here comes your penne rigate!
The child looks suitably excited at the sight of the revolting adult food. At the same moment, another tot - attached to mother's hand - passes, breathes in the heady waft of garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, and says loudly: 'mmmyum, yum!'

Now when I was a child, pasta didn't exist. There was only spaghetti, and you didn't eat it - because it was cold and slidey and clammy - unless it had been spewed out of a tin in a puddle of violent orange sauce.

One would certainly never touch nasty flabby spaghetti snakes if they were doused in pungent garlicky oil and sprinkled with shrivelled bits of charred courgette.

Just what is the world coming to?

*'This isn't latte! This is cappuccino!
Girl behind counter: 'It is latte actually'
Posh customer: 'well I hope you don't mind if I just scoop all this foam off into here then...' (moves to other side of counter and starts to bail foam out of coffee cup into tray of coffee machine)


peixote said...

Do I detect a touch of envy behind all the condescention at the Yummy Mummy lifestyle? Could it be the old maternal instinct stirring?

Anyway, little do they know it should actually be 'here come your "penne rigate"`, not 'comes'.

pinolona said...

Envy? Hell yeah... I want that kid's pasta... (mmmm)

Brussels Girl said...

Well anyone concerned about Europe's declining birth rate could well be reassured by a visit to Brussels or Sevenoaks! I'm still surprised by the sheer numbers of pregnant women I see out and about here too.

Something in the air? Could it have drifted across the Channel with all those fertiliser fumes earlier in the year perhaps...?

pinolona said...

I mean, in Kraków there's no shortage of bumps and ankle-biters either, but here spoiling children seems to be a community sport...

peixote said...

This Polish "spoiling children" thing has two sides to it. Someone (an English person) once told me the British treat their dogs and horses better than they treat their children. I suppose spoiling them isn`t so bad after all, in comparison.

BTW I`m glad you still use the word "here" when referring to Kraków.

pinolona said...

No no no! 'Here' as in Sevenoaks. Sorry. What with posh pasta and Baby Gap, it's all about the next generation...

Although I have caught myself referring to 'here' and meaning 'Kraków' in casual conversation.

scatts said...

It all sounds frightfully dreadful, Pino.

I think you need to stop washing, start dressing in urine stained clothing, blacken up your teeth and wander round giving all the Tarquins a big hug.

pinolona said...

Scatts, it's awful. And wedding season has only just begun. I'd throw myself into the Thames only it's so full of junk I'd probably bounce off...