Episode 26: a troubled outlook for Q4

EMMA and Maria are interviewing nannies. On the principle that three’s a crowd, I’ve taken Noel shopping. Dates and numbers swirl in my head as we walk down the street. The twins are due on 14 October but will probably arrive before then. The weight of the smaller twin has increased but a birth close to their due date would be good. I turn 40 on 4 December and term and half-term dates are equally firmly established in the diary. Meanwhile, the current deal is already consuming my working day and is yet to get into full swing. Q4 will be flat out. On all fronts. Only fee income, initially somewhere around £10m, is uncertain. Oh – and whether and when I’ll be able to take any paternity leave.

A heavily pregnant woman heaves into view, pushing a buggy and dragging what looks like a 4 year old. I stop and stare. I realise that Noel’s hand has become detached from mine. I turn and see Noel, his face pressed against the window of the pet shop.

I walk over to Noel. His nose remains pressed against the glass. “Dad, I want a hamster.” Ah. I know what this is about. He’s feeling anxious about his position in the world. I crouch down beside him. “You know that mummy and daddy love you very much, don’t you darling? And that the twins won’t make any difference to that? We’ll still love you just as much. And you’ll be our big boy. Mummy and I will need lots of help with the twins and they’ll love you the most of all. Do you…” Suddenly I’m getting lost. “I mean, do you want a hamster to love?”

“No dad. To learn about death. They don’t last five minutes, Billy’s dad says.” To be continued here Tuesday. For previous City Dad columns, go to www.cityam.com