Surprise, Surprise !

by : Graham Baylis

Scott's discovered that he's going to become a father in a few months time and he's still reeling from the shock. He's delighted, naturally, who wouldn't be? But equally, he has to admit it's all a bit scary. A baby... such a responsibility... bigger than any he's ever known. He remembers how he felt when he held his nephew for the first time. Such a fragile little person, so tiny...

Judy's thrilled and is taking it all in her stride. She's fit and well and is heeding all the advice the doctor gives her. She takes gentle but regular exercise and gets her fair share of fruit and vegetables. That said, she does have some rather peculiar cravings when it comes to food. A lot of people enjoy tinned peaches, of course, pickled onions too; but not usually in the same bowl.

Now that Spring seems finally to have arrived and the fine weather along with it, Scott and Judy have decided to get away for a short break, to give Judy the chance to relax and have a change of scenery and Scott the opportunity to try to come to terms with his impending fatherhood. They consider a hotel at first, but then decide that the privacy and self-containment of a luxury serviced apartment would be more appropriate, a place where they can just 'chill' and be themselves. Browsing the internet, they soon find the perfect retreat. With a baby on the way, they can't be too extravagant, of course, but they're surprised to see just how affordable the accommodation is, considerably cheaper than a hotel, and there's even a generous discount for booking online.

Their apartment is in a smart, modern building, conveniently situated within easy walking distance of the historic city centre of Cambridge. Scott parks the car in the private underground parking area and the two make their way to the apartment. It's enchanting; spotlessly clean, spacious and airy, decorated and furnished throughout in a contemporary, yet comfortable, style. There's a superbly equipped kitchen, complete with oven, hob, fridge/freezer, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery. Complimentary toiletries have been placed in the bathroom/shower room and white, fluffy towels hang from the rails. The roomy bedroom has ample hanging space and a soft, king-size bed bedecked with crisp linen and stylish quilted throw. The lounge/diner has sumptuous leather sofas, wide screen TV, DVD and stereo with CD player. Outside their lounge window, there's a balcony with a small table and chairs, and a fabulous view of the quiet and pretty street below. To cap it all, Judy's delighted to see that there's even a welcome hamper, containing wine, snacks and luxury chocolates. She'll have to forego the wine of course, but those chocs will go down nicely later, accompanied by a couple of gherkins.

After unpacking, Scott and Judy take a leisurely stroll to the city centre. Cambridge is a charmingly beautiful cosmopolitan city with outstanding architecture, old and new. Scott and Judy browse happily around the many shops dotted around the historic market place. Judy buys some maternity wear and some baby clothes, whilst Scott selects a tiny baby-gro in the form of a United strip, with matching hat. Before heading back to the apartment, they pick up some tasty bits and pieces for their evening meal.

Scott insists that Judy must put her feet up while he prepares the meal. He's no Keith Floyd, but under Judy's supervision, manages to rustle up a succulent steak with a jacket potato and salad in the well-appointed kitchen. Replete, they settle down happily to watch their favourite DVDs before retiring to bed, relaxed and sleepy.

In the morning, Scott brings Judy a cup of tea in bed while he cooks them a full English breakfast. Time then to explore the joys of the nearby market, selling just about everything, from organic produce and whole foods to antiques, bric-a-brac and jewellery.

Just before their departure, Scott teases Judy as he watches her tucking into her second pilchard and strawberry jam sandwich. "I suppose you are eating for two", he smiles. "Actually, Scott, there's something I need to tell you", replies Judy. "It's three - I've just found out that we're having twins!"

Moments later, a stunned Scott comes round, aided by Judy fanning him with her copy of 'Mother's Weekly'. As the news starts to sink in, he's starting to feel very excited at the prospect of twins. "Should have got two of those United strips", he muses...