I've actually been all over the show, hanging out in such exotic destinations as Putney (yes, again), Hampstead (pretty) and the Starbucks on Fulham Road (I know, capitalist pig, but it's warm, I like their chai lattes, and I genuinely do think better there). Almost the first thought out of this deep thinking pool was that Starbucks is far superior to Caffe Nero, even though I have a loyalty card for Caffe Nero and Starbucks gives you squat. To begin with, I didn't spill my drink on anyone, not even myself, I got a good amount of writing done, took an exciting phone call, and got to watch the good women of Fulham, who may as well have been put on this earth solely for my enjoyment, such is the level of glee I gleaned from this particular people watching experience.
It was mid-afternoon, and as I sat, Starbucks began to fill up with the pampered and their progeny, having an after-school treat before heading home to the hardships of homework and hot baths. If you pay the papers any mind, you would think the yummy mummy is a dying breed in this post-recession world, all stressed and shrivelled from having to deal with husbands losing jobs, bonuses, and mistresses left right and centre. This is clearly not the case in Fulham, which seems to have escaped the worst of the recession rather neatly - house prices started going back up before anywhere else in London, the private schools remained well stocked, and at no point were the streets packed with lost businessmen vaguely rambling. And the yummy mummy lives on here. In Starbucks, apparently.
There were two women, complete with children, who were a lot of fun to watch. The one had a pre-schooler, who got her very own babyccino and cupcake. I was frankly astounded - Starbucks cupcakes are so big I struggle with them, but here was a three year old with one all her own. All right, I was astounded and jealous. Especially when I saw this kid actually tackle the cupcake. With no prevaricating it was straight up to her mouth, full speed, icing first, right in her mouth. Unfortunately, it was about three times as wide, so it was also all over her teeth, cheeks, and oddly enough, a bit in her hair. Her mum saw me looking and looked a bit flustered and embarrassed, but I was just really impressed, frankly. Wouldn't you love for it to be acceptable to just chow down delicious food with all the gusto of a three year old? I tried to convey this thought to Yummy Mummy No.1 (hereafter YM1) with nods, smiles, and other complicated facial expressions, but am afraid I failed somewhat.
Yummy Mummy No.2 (YM2) came in a little later with a sweet blonde boy, probably around the age of six or seven, and sat down with him for a coffee (for her), a juice (for him), and a giant piece of cake (also for him - do these mothers not have to deal with the after effects of all this sugar?) She was beautiful in an expensive way, and not the slightest bit harassed looking, despite having a baby in a pushchair, a Bella off at ballet, and the little blonde boy*. Incidentally, YM2 clearly had aspirational ideas for her children, calling after her son in a perfectly pitched accent when he made for the sugar packets (guess the cake wasn't enough). 'Clinton!' her voice rang out, as I silently snickered. I understand the logic of naming your kid after someone high up, such as the 42nd President of the United States of America, but why go for the dishonest, womanising, ever so sleazy one? Although, it's better than calling your kid Bush - I will give her that.
There were many other mothers in Starbucks that afternoon, almost all of the 'yummy' persuasion, but YMs 1 and 2 were those I limited my observations to, mainly because they were the closest to me. As I sat there, surveying the small cafe packed with children and their mothers, one persistent, rare, fiance-terrifying thought churned in my mind: I want a kid. This thought is not one that I have very often at all, because I live in London, and lets face it, most kids in London are unbridled terrors (I have been known to quite frequently ask those friends who are from London how they grew up into such nice, normal adults, as I have yet to see an unknown child here who makes me feel okay about the future of the human race). These kids, however, were uber-sweet. Although that could have well been the huge proliferations of sugar being thrown at them from every angle.
I eventually, reluctantly, left Starbucks for my own home, cultivating this bizarre thought, before sharing it with H1 later that night. Who promptly gave me the confused, stricken look of a man about to sit in a corner and cry from sheer self-pity, and started mumbling incoherent babbling sentences made up of words like 'children no mean little horror you don't want that not here not now no no nooooooooo', while rocking back and forth. This helped to a degree, then the next morning I went for a run and got swiped by a little girl brandishing a stick** and I was well and truly over it. No babies here, not for a veeeeeery loooooong time. I shall stick to Starbucks.
*A little eavesdropping went on - don't judge me, it was very interesting.
**Thank f*** it wasn't a knife - she was about eight, so prime knife-carrying age.