There is one piece of kit that is absolutely essential for the middle-class dad, and that’s a fancy baby buggy. It’s as if new dads, facing the reality that they won’t be getting a sports car any time soon, channel their masculine pride into getting the baby equivalent of a Ferrari. The most popular are the all-terrain, go anywhere type. I see a lot of these in the shopping centre at Milton Keynes (Scarlett and I go there for breakfast on Saturdays while we wait for the library to open). The buggies we see are pristine, polished and new-looking. Despite being all-terrain, like most 4×4 cars they’ve never actually been off-road at any point.
I’ve got an all-terrain baby buggy too. Mine looks like it’s been dragged through a hedge backwards. This is because it has – several times, in fact. It’s also been pushed up and down countless ploughed fields, through woods and across streams. It’s been lifted over stiles and carried over rocks. It’s been around lakes, along beaches and into the sea.
OK, so my buggy is never again going to look new. In fact, I have to hose it down every now and then. But think of the things that young Scarlett has seen from that buggy: the birds, the animals, the trees and the clouds. If my daughter grows up feeling happy and comfortable outdoors then it will be worth it. After all, surely this is what all-terrain buggies are for, isn’t it?