This has been the first visit to London for a long time when I have been willing to risk haunting the old neighbourhood and seeing a whole parcel of old friends, all crammed together in a week. On previous visits, I have had to avoid former routines because it just made me feel bad, this strange halfway house between living here and being a visitor. Maybe I am feeling braver or maybe enough time has ticked on by to be more comfortable about it all. Yesterday on a trip to an East End park with my six-year-old's best friend and his artist father; the boys threw up armfuls of dry autumn leaves and showered in them while the baby girl kept saying: "What dat noyuz?" every time she heard a police siren. The only problem is struggling around London with three children and a buggy requires more patience than I have. Yesterday it was counting grey squirrels and talking about art, today it was all more of an effort. I knew it would be because I missed my slot to go out this morning. If you time it right you can go out before the baby has her nap. This means she goes without the nap but the alternative is what happened today which meant she got the nap and we did not get to go out till after lunch (which incidentally was pasta and all three of them hated it) and which is far too late for an expedition any further than the corner shop. The poor behaviour was all pretty low grade stuff but built up to the point where I was not even out the door when I was forced to utter The Mother's Prayer: "Dear Lord, give me patience." I have variations on this prayer. Sometimes I make it: "God give me strength." Occasionally, I just say: "Fucking hell." We went to a movie, they ate their own body weight in popcorn, had a quick tootle round Canary Wharf shops which meant you had to keep finding and then going up and down extraordinarily slow lifts which smell of cheese, my bank card got declined, I realised my two mobile phones did not work and then we went into a pizza restaurant where we were meeting my husband and I ordered a glass of wine and the waiter said: "Would you like a small glass or a large glass?" If you say large glass you sound like an alcoholic. If you say small glass, you sound like an alcoholic when you drink the first one in 30 seconds and then order another. I felt like saying: "I am sitting here with three children, the baby girl is fractious - despite the nap, the two boys are quarrelsome, getting everyone home is going to be a nightmare, I obviously want the large glass."