Another red letter day, my darling daughter Chloe’s birthday. I know she won’t mind me saying that she is 44. I remember the day she was born as if it were yesterday. She was a homebirth baby, born in our four-poster bed. Like her brother Miles she did not hang about, which is not surprising as she was almost 3 weeks late. She was due on or about the same day as son Smiler’s birthday, 27th April. As a result we had engaged, at great expense, a Norland nanny., She was a delightful elderly lady who really ruled the roost when she came, Insisting, for example, on re-washing, by hand, all of the new baby clothes that had been very carefully prepare beforehand. After hanging about four 2 1/2 weeks or so she sent my lovely’ on a three-mile hike around the village and that seemed to do the trick. Our life was not made any easier by having the builders in, constructing the breakfast room, which meant installing some steel girders in the back wall which meant propping up the bedroom where Chloe was born.
In the event of my darling daughter arrived even before the doctor arrived but we did have nanny and the midwife together with my mother-in-law-100 years old this September.. who probably knew more about it than the doctor anyway. I seem to recall that I was sent out with my beloved labrador, Woody (on second thoughts it must have been Pouche, our very gentle Doberman who we brought back with us from Aden). I certainly wasn’t up to this modern stuff of being in on the birth. All that screaming and mess I think is women’s business. I know that this will not be a popular remark amongst my female readers but you must forgive me I am old-fashioned or perhaps what some of you may call a mail chauvinist.
Chloe Olivia Wynn Cato graced this world with her presence after breakfast and before elevenses – very considerate timing which she seems to followed through with all her life – by the time I arrived back hume, she was washed and dressed in a beautiful little smock, looking as beautiful as any one’s own new born baby does. I was, of course, emotionally tickled to death. We had achieved the perfect start to our family, boy and then I girl. She has been a great joy to me every day since. The observant amongst you may have noticed that her initials were C.O.W. Cato. How on earth could we have made such a stupid mistake? She would undoubtedly have been known to her friends as MOO! In fact we only noticed our mistake when we received a. Milk Token Book with her initials written in capital letters written on the front I immediately set about changing Olivia to Victoria by advertising it in the Law Gazette at the exorbitant cost, in those days, of Â£80.
Our day was not without its dramas. At lunchtime I was deposited by the girls into my wheelchair in the hope that I could have gone for a spin in the afternoon. However, despite having had the engineer here the day or two before, we could not get the chair to move. It came down to all about a flashing key symbol over which we had to wave a magnet After several desperate calls to people who provided the chair they agreed to send an engineer after five o’clock.
This meant I had to sit in it until one of our girls came at six in the evening to get me out of it. In the event, once the engineer, Gary, arrived and explain things to us -he was very patient – he discovered that the solution was very simple and I have every confidence that when I try the chair tomorrow all will be well!
After lunch our kindly sewing lady, Janet, arrived to measure me for the alterations to my morning suit for the forthcoming wedding. I think she was incredulous at the expansion of my waistline, however, she is a clever seam mistress and, no doubt, will be able to stitch me up in a satisfactory way which, as I shall be seated in the wheelchair for the entire period of the wedding will not be seen by any of the other guests. Only two weeks or so to go now so we are fairly confident that I will be up to the whole business.
The second small drama occurred in the evening when Sam came round for the six o’clock walk which meant helping me out of the wheelchair. After two attempts it was pretty clear that my legs were just not up to it so we had to use a hoist. A little worrying, at that time, as one always wonders whether that is it as far as the arms and legs are concerned but then when Sam came again at 9.30 there is no problem so it must mean that they were just tired from the exertions in the wheelchair.