Saturday 1 January 2000

When we get home at nine in the morning there's the babysitter who we're paying five times the normal rate staring at the new millenium celebrations on TV. One twin sits on either side of her. When they see us they raise their glasses of Orlando chardonnay pinot noir and say, 'Hippy Noo Hear!'

This is dreadful. They're only three!

While I drink volcanically strong coffee Stephen crawls back into the car and putters off to buy fresh bread for the monster barbecue we've planned for this afternoon.

We must be mad.

Eight hours later people float through the dope haze and out to the patio where they encounter our first and only Y2K problem. The barbecue won't work. A pipe has corroded and the gas can't get through.

But a few weeks ago smartypants me bought a little stove that screws directly onto a gas cylinder--just in case the power fails in the new year and we need to cook with gas. So Stephen uses it now. He juggles three pans--one each for steak, snags and onions--and keeps a relay of hot food going for hours. Gobs of grease dance in the pan and spit at the passing guests.

All the interesting people end up in one corner of the garden listening to Ray Gunn rave on about his latest venture. I'm just about to ask him about Axel is who I haven't seen for years when I hear one of the twins crying...