My daughter was Christened on Sunday.
What we didn’t know when we accepted the date offered to us, and what we only realised the week before, was that it was the same day as the London Marathon.
The service was held at our old church in central London. But we recently moved out to the suburbs and the direct train from our local station wasn’t running.
On top of making sure my daughter was fed, washed, dressed up in my family’s antique Christening gown, strapped into the pram with full changes of photo-friendly clothes and plenty of toys to keep her occupied, we were going to have to negotiate two separate train journeys around and into London to get her to the church on time.
After she had woken for a feed at 5am I had lain awake going through everything I had to do and remember, and just generally worrying about everything that could go wrong.
The trains near us are prone to delays. Often they are so late they just cancel them. Or run them fast, skipping out stations full of frustrated passengers who are left raging on the platform as their intended connection whizzes by.
What if we caught our train and it broke down and we were just left stranded in a siding for hours, sucking wet wipes to keep hydrated while everyone else waited at the church in vain?!
By 6.30am I decided to put my make-up on, using three different kinds of supposed wonder products on my dark circles.
My daughter woke up later than usual after a bad night’s sleep, feeling grotty with a cold. So I chucked some Calpol into my bulging changing bag for good measure and prayed it wouldn’t leak all over the silk gown.
Half an hour before our train was due to leave we began the ten minute walk to the station and she promptly fell back to sleep.
On arrival at the platform my heart leapt into my mouth as I saw our train did not have ‘On Time’ written by it, but an actual time in numbers, indicating a delay.
Squinting at the ‘Expected’ time I realised it said the actual time the train was due. Why do they do that?! They were clearly taunting me.
Then the time went up by one minute.
This is usually how it starts. A minute’s delay, then three, then 10. Next thing you know you are begin advised your ticket is valid on local bus services.
Then the clock changed back to the correct time again, and as the seconds counted down I could see the train pulling into the station.
We arrived in Victoria on time, with an hour to make the 20 minute journey to the church.
The station was full of people with wheelie suitcases, wandering slowly as they looked up at the signs for directions and cutting me up as I tried to weave the pram swiftly towards the tube.
Arriving on the Underground there was no Circle Line train advertised. This could be a 12 minute wait at least.
I started twitching as I looked at my watch, trying to remember if I had set it five minutes fast, or seven minutes, and attempting to work out exactly how much time we really had before we were late.
Then it flashed up, ‘Circle Line. 1 minute.’
But would we get on? There were so many people heading to watch the marathon. And it was FA Cup Semi-Final day.
The train pulled in and there was already a buggy on the carriage that stopped in front of us. I started trying to hurry to the next set of doors, but there was a group of little boys in football vests bunched up in the middle.
Then the buggy got off and we whizzed back into the space they left behind.
Getting off at our stop there were extra stewards all around the station to direct the crowds.
The crowds who had not yet arrived, because it was too early and the male wheelchair racers, who are first to set off, had barely made it this far yet.
We walked up the street to the church, and with 20 minutes to spare and the finish line in sight, we popped into Pret to use the loo.
I may have completed my own personal London Marathon, but I’m no Paula Radcliffe.