I have immense pleasure and pride in announcing two pieces of wonderful news: Neri and I are to marry, and we are expecting a baby!

Here's the invite we just sent out to friends and family announcing one piece of news and hinting at the other...  The scene is copied from a Fra Angelico painting of the Annunciation where the Angel Gabriel is on one knee telling the Virgin the news. I have added the speech bubble scroll which was commonly used (though not in the Fra Angelico) to show who was saying what. Indeed in some Annunciation paintings Mary's response would be written upside down so as to be read by God (to whom it was addressed). I didn't propose in an Italian cloister. It actually happened during a picnic in our favourite spot in Dulwich woods, with a napkin ring as the ring - the big question engraved on its inside. However I somehow thought adopting this scene would be appropriate, not because our child is The Redeemer, but simply because we were announcing two lots of news at once, and I always linked the down-on-one-knee Angel with someone proposing marriage.

I now feel like I have to embrace all sorts of aesthetic challenges when it comes to my home and the arrival of a baby. I can guarantee that we will not be filling the place with plastic rubbish. Why is it that all baby related equipment is so ugly, and that everything has to be covered in hideous baby graphics in mauve and lime green, with cartoon elephants and bees, their buzzing tracks shown as dashed swirling lines. Revolting. These items are often things like changing mats, used for the first few months - the baby is not even properly aware of colour or form at this stage so why must we have to look at it, and what a dreadful way of introducing a child to colour and form when it does become aware?

Oh dear, this is going to be difficult. 

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