D & Jago cakeIt’s good to know your presence is needed for grandchildren, and that it leaves time for you to have your own life. We’re just back from Daniel’s first proper birthday party, shared with a friend Jago, a week older. (Here they are being photographed before blowing out a candle each, representing 5 years!) All previous ones were at home, but at 5 he thinks he must host an ‘event’. It took place in a nature reserve tucked behind Paddington Station and bordered on one side by the railway and on the other by a canal. The party of 18 children (including guests, their siblings and a few parents) started off with a chase to the pond with fishing nets and small trays on which to survey sticklebacks and such like inhabitants. I saw mostly green slime, but they greatly enjoyed it and only the nets fell in. After that it was a chase to the bug area. Small blocks of wood had been left strategically near to magnifying glasses on elastic and tied to posts. Much delight in the slugs – DanielD's party fishing proudly showed his wood louse to everyone – and then another rush of the partying tribe to sit on benches by two pizza ovens, and the start of the ‘banquet’ with bread sticks and dips – all very healthy. As the pizzas took longer to cook than planned, we retired to the pavilion where the children sat in a circle and played ‘pass the parcel’, though there were 6 parcels and everyone got a sweet. Munching away, they had their mini-disco before called back to the pizzas. The two hours were quickly over!