Sunday 4 July 2010


Finally, at last . . . after waiting nine months, I feel as if for the second time in my life I’ve managed to achieve something astonishing that actually matters. Something responsible, dependable and with an almost divine sense of purpose that’s above and beyond say, planting a new row of beans or constructing a garden chair from an old pallet.
Last Friday morning, my girlfriend gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy and unlike fifteen months earlier when our first little boy was born, this time she opted for a home birth that turned out thankfully, to be a relatively quick event.

The first forty-five minutes was a generally standard programme of events and as a spectator, I didn’t witness either of the two midwives perform anything particularly astonishing that made me gasp out loud although the vibrant dialogue did keep me engrossed enough to forget the bag of toffees I’d purchased especially and left in the other room. So I was delighted when the screaming became serious enough to suggest we were leading up to the best bit . . . the grand finale.

I was too afraid to look away for even one second in case I missed something important and I watched the midwife’s hands very closely for any sudden or unusual moves. Then she moved in closer and I felt my breath stop, when fleetingly and in one movement, she lowered her arms and raised them again with both hands holding a bundled up towel. The very same towel that she had only moments earlier showed me to be completely empty.

Then in typical theatrical tradition there was a slight pause, heightening suspense and suddenly . . . from inside the towel, a real live tiny baby appeared from what appeared to be thin air! And just to prove to us that the baby was real, the midwife handed it firstly to my girlfriend and then to me for examination! It was mind-boggling to watch and I just wanted to clap out loud and shout “ Amazing! . . . do that last bit again!”

This was a first class act, far superior to any sleight of hand that street magician David Blaine could offer and I’d like to thank the two midwives so very much for coming out to Sidmouth that morning and demonstrating their craft so beautifully. Until the next time, ladies. Also, I’d like to thank my girlfriend who has been so strong, for giving me the two greatest gifts a man could ever wish for. For this my darling, you have as always, my adoration.

That same night however, I had an unpleasant dream. In it, I re-lived the famous maze scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson. But in my version, it was me that was being chased by a psychotic Mr Sandman who wrestled me to the ground and sat on me, forcing me to sign a legal court document forfeiting all my sleeping privileges.

Consequently, I haven’t slept since and for the past few days, I have found myself incapable of standing upright for any longer than about fifteen minutes or so, without tipping over and having to lean against either the person nearest to me, or a wall.

It has been written that any man, can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. So carrying with me through my weariness this thought together with all the extra laundry that will ensue, if I can impart on my children just some of the values that my father bestowed upon me, then I know I will be doing my job well.

In the meantime I can’t help wondering how my girlfriend will react when I tell her I’ve advertised for an eighteen year old live-in Swedish au-pair . . . to help me with the laundry, of course.