We'll probably talk about the kids, then fall asleep

My wife celebrates her birthday on October 1 and this year I think she's in for a bit of a shock, in more ways than one.

Thursday, 8th September 2016, 6:01 am
Rick and Sarah are off on an Oriana mini-cruise

For starters, she has only just returned to work after two-and-a-half years, so our coffers are rather low each month.

Everything goes on the kids. Nursery, baby sensory, gym tots, swimming, clothes, food. What’s left for us? Not a lot!

I don’t think we’ve bought any new clothes since Freddie was born.

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I’ve lost quite a lot of weight in that time, so my wardrobe is now rather baggy and worn.

Gone are the days when I’d lavish jewellery or new clothes on Sarah for her birthday. But there is one little treat she has in store.

I always try to take Sarah somewhere swanky on her birthday. A posh restaurant or a night away in London or Brighton.

This year, she has something extra special to look forward to. We are going on a cruise!

Just a two-nighter, but these trips are such good value and sail from Southampton.

Why more of us don’t do these trips I simply do not know.

We board P&O’s Oriana on Sarah’s birthday. She sails for Bruges on the Saturday afternoon, then returns to Southampton on the Monday morning.

Here is the big news. My in-laws have the kids.

It’s just Sarah and I, on a cruise ship for two nights!

We’ve decided not to get off. We’ve been to Bruges before and the port in which we dock is Zeebrugge.

Nothing to see there unless you love cranes and containers.

Our plan is to enjoy the ship’s facilities to the full.

Have massages at the spa, go to the theatre, see a comedian and generally try to visit each of the ship’s many bars.

It will be a chance to have some ‘us’ time. This is so rare these days. Just chatting, laughing and not worrying.

In reality, we will probably talk about the kids then start falling asleep after dinner on the Saturday and miss most of Sunday trying to catch up on sleep!


I do feel a little for Ed Balls. Once a political heavyweight, now he’s one of the novelty dancers on Strictly Come Dancing.

He’s also blighted by bad luck.

A member of Gordon Brown’s unpopular cabinet, he became Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Never a great role when all the coalition needed to reply to any of his arguments was the note left by Labour at the treasury after the 2010 general election.

It said: ‘Sorry, there is no money left.’

He then lost his seat in the 2015 election.

His beloved Norwich City, of which he is chairman, were also relegated from the Premier League.

Enjoy him on Strictly while you can, as no doubt he’ll be booted off first!


I find shopping at the supermarket more of a challenge these days.

With a two-year-old and nine-month old in tow, you need to get in and out as soon as possible.

Home deliveries, or ‘click and collect’, are great ideas, but I’d rather choose my own food, thank you.

But whether I’m stuck behind a women buying a Daily Mail and Duchy Organic Steak in Waitrose, or a mum getting the Daily Star and a ready meal in Asda, the same thing happens.

After packing all the shopping, there’s the faffing about with the handbag and purse to find money or a card.

Why can’t you ladies always have your payment method ready?

It’s not as though you didn’t expect to be asked to pay at the checkout!