A young mother from Cambridge who was attending the Symposium asked me if I could give her and baby a lift to Ampleforth. Fortunately, the baby was young enough to have fairly simple requirements to meet the law - the carry cot has lugs which retain the rear seatbelt. I couldn't resist giving this photo a speech bubble:
Unfortunately, it is against the law (and not a good idea anyway at 70mph) to take the baby out of the cot while the car is moving. So for a while she told us loudly and in no uncertain terms "I . AM . NOT . HAPPY!!!" The baby's godfather was with us on the journey and gently encouraged her to be reasonable. Sadly this met with no notable success.
When we managed to stop at a service station, the complaint was expanded to "My nappy needs changing, I didn't get enough milk last time, I'm a bit tired, I'm fed up with sitting in this stupid contraption, and anyway, just AAAARGH!" Mum pointed out that this was the first time that she had changed a baby's nappy in a priest's car. It was in fact the first time that anyone has changed a baby's nappy in my car.
When we got to Cambridge, baby had calmed down a little, and I met her older brother whom I have not seen since just after he was born. He needed (but did not want) to go to bed and in the meantime, dad (who is on the last leg of his Cambridge doctorate) cooked up a delicious thai green curry and gave me some top grade advice on various combinations of mobile computing, open-source software and 3G internet access.
As I sometimes point out when speaking about celibacy, there are joys and trials in any vocation - it is good for me as a priest to spend even a little time with a young family managing the ordinary daily ups and downs of life with young children.