I like cinema, I love Toni (it’s no secret, everyone does) and helping her in a bit of escapism with and from the demands of her twin baby daughters seemed like a nice thing to do. Even with the joys of motherhood she pines a little for her demanding job and the necessary, grown-up conversations at the office. She also misses the slightly less grown-up chatter of Tower RNLI Lifeboat on which she had been, like me, a volunteer crew member. So, a simple idea: take the kids to Brixton’s Ritzy Picturehouse and watch a special screening of Grandma with a lot of other mums (I saw no dads, but it was dark) and their babies.
It wasn’t my first outing with Toni and the twins. We’ve done lunch a few times and even gone swimming so this should have been easier. I was wrong on that point.
The logistics to get a baby into a car for an outing are daunting, with twins it’s almost – but not quite – doubly so:
- twin buggy✔
- feeding kit ✔
- nappies and changing kit ✔
- rattles and squeaky toys (I know, a cinema trip right?) ✔
- layers of cold weather kit ✔
- kiddie seats for the car ✔
These kiddie seats have really come on since the eighties when I was transporting my own kids. There’s an awful lot more kinetic science applied to them now, including properly sturdy stanchions and I found myself thinking back to the thousands of car journeys with my own children and wondering: what if…
Toni had everything prepared yet the car loading alone took twenty minutes. The twins were crying throughout the process, but as soon as I turned the key in the ignition they snuffled a bit and then snored all the way. Brixton was about three miles away and traffic was fairly light. We got there quickly, but spent just as long looking for a parking space. The one we found wasn’t that close and it cost more than to get in the cinema. Debussing the pram, the kids and their stores took up fifteen expensive minutes. The lesson here is keep eyes on the road while debussing and then pay for the parking when you’re ready to leave. Duh!
I like Picturehouse Cinema’s. They serve good coffee and have a drinks license … WOOHOO! They have quirky, yet very pleasant staff who are passionate about giving the moviegoer a good time and the Brixton Ritzy is a great example of this philosophy. Before going to our seats we bought the usual refreshments. I should have got a cola, but I got a coffee, a very hot coffee. It was nerve wracking juggling that, a bucket of popcorn, a bag of Wasabi peas AND one of the twins. It took so much concentration that, when the time came, I couldn’t recall which of my many pockets our ticket was in. Turned out Toni had it all along. The good news was the front row was empty.
We watched Grandma, not something I’d have chosen to see, but I’m glad I did. She can handle an ice hockey stick and certainly hits the balls with it. It’s a dialogue rich film, there’s not much action and it was difficult to follow with a lot of the audience crying, gurgling, farting, rattling and squeaking. I expected I could filter it all out, even while effecting nappy changes – well, snapping them: Toni did that stuff. Friendship goes only so far – but I found I couldn’t. It seems selective deafness, unlike riding a bike, is a key parenting skill we lose without regular practice.
After the movie, and making the most of our time before we repeated the lengthy car loading process, Toni introduced me to a wonderful area of Brixton with dozens of tiny cafes, restaurants and bars. I’m fairly convinced that the UN has established the site in an effort to bring the world together through the palate: the place is heaven for a global foodie. We went Mexican.
The Casa Morita, wonderful tacos and the place does a truly great Margarita, but you’ll have to take Toni’s word for that, I was driving. Friendship only goes so far.