Baby was supposed to arrive today. These things aren't an exact science, and apparently only 5% of little ones are actually born on their due date, but even so this is a day that's been staring at us from the calendar for months, covered in red circles and exclamation marks. So it's a bit of a shame that it's been an anti-climax. I'd kind of hoped that baby would be born with an inherent sense of punctuality. However, as the photo demonstrates, she remains resolutely inside Mrs J's tummy, so it looks like she's inherited her dad's tardiness if nothing else.
There were plenty of moments this weekend when I could see my future life unspooling before me, though. In the old days, and providing I wasn't at work, by 3 o'clock on a Saturday I'd have spent several hours surviving on little more than paracetamol and bacon sandwiches, and would have reached the sofa in time to spend a couple of hours with Jeff Stelling firing largely meaningless football statistics at me. Yesterday at 3 o'clock I was in Mothercare. Then we went on to B&Q. Today I watched the first half of the Manchester derby, but we were on our way to Ikea during the second half, although I did manage to make the process of parking the car last an inordinately long time so I was able to listen to the barely believable end of the game on the radio.
I took a close interest in the United-City match partly because I like football, but mostly because I've always had a vague sense that it's important to know about what's going on in the city where you live, and that includes football. I was in Leeds during their run to the Champions League semi-final in 2001, and it definitely gave the place a lift. There was an exciting atmosphere around the city on match days, and you could feel it in Manchester today. It was certainly different to the derby that took place the day after I first moved to Manchester in 2006, a match which probably nobody remembers much about. City were pretty rubbish back then, and nobody had any idea that soon they'd be the richest club around thanks to mega-rich backers from Abu Dhabi. From now on, it's likely both United and City will be among the biggest and best teams in the world, which gives Manchester a prestige lacking in similar cities such as, well, Leeds come to think of it. If we end up living either in or around Manchester for years to come, our daughter's going to have an exciting place to grow up in. Whether she likes football or not.