EATING out has not gone too well this week.

Ben became the child you dread sitting next to if you want a nice quiet relaxing meal, with the basic requirement of being able to hold a conversation without the constant caterwauling of a tantrum enveloped child in your ear.

We made the mistake of inflicting him on a lovely Sunday afternoon pub crowd last weekend. It seemed to be going well. We had enjoyed a lovely walk in the woods, a half an hour jaunt had turned into about two as the little man insisted on making the most of every puddle we came across.

In a bid to speed things up I made a big deal about running ahead to jump out from behind a tree. This was going quite well as Ben seemed happy to pick up the pace to find me crouching unconvincingly behind a small sapling.

Until I made the mistake of being a bit premature in my jumping and accidentally scared the wellies off an unidentified child who was enjoying an amble with her own parents, unaware that half-mad mums lurked in the undergrowth.

Never mind, lesson learned, always keep one eye on your target. So, by the time we got to the pub we reckoned Ben was well up for a hearty plate of delicious grub, but how wrong we were. He turned into the devil child, spilling salt and pepper everywhere, throwing his cutlery.

I took him out to the car and threatened him with going home if he didn’t buck his ideas up, only to be met with a shrug of the shoulders. It quickly dawned on me that sitting in a country pub for the afternoon was in fact more for our benefit for his so I then threatened to withdraw all the pleasant things he enjoyed up until the age of five.

At which point he capitulated and agreed to go back inside and behave.

It was to be the start of a long afternoon of negotiations that would have tested a UN peace envoy.