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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

We inadvertently broke the First Rule of Stoke Newington this afternoon. Walking down Church Street hand in hand, as a couple if you like, it is apparently obligatory - nay, laid down in letter of law - that you should, hetero or otherwise, be accompanied by at least one child (baby or toddler age preferred). If you can't muster up a child, the lady half of every couple must instead be heavily and uncomfortably pregnant.

We did manage to sit next to the Ideal Stoke Newington Couple at lunchtime. They were laden down with the colourful and educational toys and all the flotsam and jetsom that go hand in hand with trying to stall a two year old's tantrums. Child number one was sitting in a high child throwing her food around the cafe and throwing up on her lovely colouring book, sucking on crayons and shouting. The lady was heavily pregnant with child number two and was successfully ignoring every cry for attention that child number one was hurling her way. The gentleman was looking ravaged through sleepless nights and the enforced and constant suppression of anger and exasperation at Turquoise or Fidelma (or whatever godawful name child number one was blessed with)'s inability to sit still while he tried to get just a couple of paragraphs in to the Sunday Supplements.

On a weekday the rules change somewhat. You are allowed unaccompanied on Church Street if you are a gentleman, but only if you are walking very very very quickly, while shouting something completely unintelligible in to a tiny mobile phone. If you are a lady, the child quota seems to be increased to two or three children, preferably one in a buggy, one standing at the back of the buggy shouting and pulling at your haggard hair while you are trying to buy organic wheatfree food.

I just keep my head down and try not to catch anyone's eye, for fear of being knocked up just to comply with the rules.


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