He was terrified the neighbours would think they were bad parents - even though they appeared to have no children themselves. Being judged as a parent by someone without kids was like having your book judged by an agent, or your singing by Sharon Osborne.
Jim gave Noah a biscuit. Noah stopped crying. Understanding now that holding back on the biscuits was quintessentially middle class Jim gave him another. Now the boy smiled. Thinking what the hell – after all, HE was drinking Echo Beach – Jim handed over the packet. The lad actually chuckled.