Having been on tenterhooks (if any of your think that should be tenderhooks – no, sorry – tenterhooks were used to stretch bleaching linen out on the tenter ground) anticipating the extension of my family tree in the best possible way, I finally got a call on Monday morning – 8 days late – that things might be happening. Had no one told this child that, in its mother’s family at least, everyone one is always early for everything? This was a relief as had it been much later I was about to hit one of my four talks in ten days plus a day at work and fitting in a 600 mile round trip to see the new arrival would have been difficult. Monday dragged on and still no news, by early evening the prospective parents were at the maternity unit. Unsurprisingly I slept not at all on Monday night. Lucy Ruth finally put in an appearance by emergency C-section just before 8am on Tuesday morning.
I had a talk to give on Tuesday afternoon, which, despite being my being asleep and having other things on my mind, went well. Afterwards, we headed north (pretty much everywhere is north from here) in pouring rain, pleased to see how many people were setting off fireworks to celebrate Lucy’s birth.
We arrived too late for Tuesday’s visiting hours and sadly had to wait until 5.00pm on Wednesday before we could breach the security cordon. Chris passed the time strimming the ‘lawn’ for the new parents. Unfortunately this involved the outer glass of their back door being augmented with a particularly attractive crazed glass pattern.
Lucy is, needless to say, the most wonderful baby girl in the world. I explained to her about not wanting to believe all that nonsense about being born on Guy Fawkes Day, when in fact it should be called Robert Catesby Day. She seemed to appreciate this. I can trace Lucy’s direct maternal line back through 8 generations, with another two speculative generations after that but that is for another post.
After all too short a time we had to head back to Dorset, where I was speaking about One Place Studies. We ensconce ourselves on a caravan site. We are near to our favourite fish and chip shop and my insides were just nicely anticipating my chicken and chips when Chris returns through dark and rain to explain that we are locked in and there appears to be no way to get the car out of the site in order to reach the too far away to walk chip shop. I was disconcerted by the locked-inness, worried about what might happen in an emergency and disgruntled by the lack of chicken and chips – obviously a 5.30pm curfew on that site!
Home again and time for the Remembrance Day Service. This involves a certain amount of standing outside in the cold so I look out my Lapland thermal outfit and fleecy boots. It turns out to be the warmest November day on record and I swelter nicely, especially after the service moves in to the church.