Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve 2010

A telephonist works by torchlight at the start of the three day week, which was introduced at midnight on 31 December 1973

The end of the year. It is also the birthday of our son, Tom, born on the very day that the telephonist above was working by torchlight. He was born in the Lister Hospital in Stevenage at about 1:30 in the afternoon. Husbands weren't encouraged to be present at first births in hospital. Just over two years later, our daughter, Helen, was born at home to an international deputation of five midwives, none of them English (one leading, the rest students) with a Hungarian husband standing by. She was the only English person in the room, and even she was born in China.

How little and strange the child inside the man
But there is no escaping him.
The bones and flesh expand around him
And all the usual processes that ground him.

And you, whose mind and body have moved on
from childhood to this median,
may know yourself loved as you keep moving,
these words being the evidence, the proof and proving.

Tom shares his birthday with Sir Alex Ferguson (Happy Birthday, Fergie), and I share mine with Ryan Giggs. Clearly there was something fated about all this. Tom, by the way is currently gigging in Slovenia. Last year it was Brazil. He gets around. Happy Birthday, Tom!



Mark Granier said...

Cheers George, and to you and yours also!

Angela France said...

All the best for 2011 to you and yours, George.

Gwil W said...

I have survived prosecco and oysters. Here's another birthday boy.-

31st Dec 1830
The spasmodic poet Alexander Smith was born in Kilmarnock. No idea what he wrote. Probably not much.

Here's wishing you good health and best of luck for 2011.

George S said...

I was mixing Alexander Smith up with James and Horace Smith who put together a book, famous in its time, Rejected Addresses (1812), a book of parodies to do with the re-opening of Drury Lane Theatre after the fire which destroyed it. I actually have a copy of that right in front of me, bought at a second-hand bookshop for a pound or two.

Alexander Smith's essays can be found here:

Cheers, Gwilym. And all best for this new year.

dana said...

Cheers and happy new year to you George, and everyone here. I just love this chance to have conversations with you over time and space. It's like a slow motion party.

Here: around freezing, first sun in days, raking the yard, moving the minivan so the boys can tricycle, daughter doing artwork, Hansel and Gretel opera on, one boy sans clothing since coming inside, considering baking something, and determining to put on more coffee.

Anonymous said...

Isn't your good lady C English ? presumably SHE was in the room at the time ?

Happy New Year !

George S said...

Isn't your good lady C English ? presumably SHE was in the room at the time ?

er..."She was the only English person in the room, and even she was born in China."...

Happy New Year to all.

Gwil W said...

Roughly the same situation must have arisen when I was born sixty something years ago. And roughly born I was. Pulled out of the tunnel with forceps. I suffered strange from falling into vortex nightmares and had problems with my ears for quite a few years. I think our birth circumstances, those first impressions, can and do affect our own personalities to some extent.
Mum was probably the only English person in the room; everybody else almost certainly Welsh.

Gwil W said...

Spiegel Online is consistently the best European newsblog. They keep a weather eye on the state of play in Europe for very obvious reasons.