Before we left for Greenock, I visited the Doctor on the advice of one of the Clinic nurses. He gave me a prescription for a tablet called ‘Avomine’, which I found out later was for travel sickness. However, it was quite helpful for morning sickness too and I didn’t feel so much nausea. After a few weeks I was back on a more varied diet although I still loved the spinach. We had a lovely week staying with my Mum and Dad, spending time with John’s parents and Elizabeth, plus the Aunties and Uncles who were still around and, best of all, Annabel and Jim. They had a great party. When we left, I still hated leaving Mum and Dad, but this time I was also looking forward to getting back to our own home. Greenock was slowly becoming our ‘old home’ while Haltwhistle was becoming Home. I went back with a load of People’s Friends that Mum Mitchell had saved for me!
By the end of January, I was feeling full of beans and the sickness was forgotten. Life went on as usual, going to meetings, coffee mornings, housework, washing – thank goodness for my wee washing machine. One morning I was on my knees at the front door washing the vestibule floor when I glanced up and saw two pairs of feet in front of me. It was my Auntie Winnie and Uncle Fred who had moved to Weymouth when the Royal Naval Torpedo Factory closed in Greenock. This was shortly before the baby was due, so Winnie thought I shouldn’t be washing floors! I can’t remember if they stayed a night, nor can I remember if they were travelling north or south. Anyway, whatever, we always loved having visitors, however unexpected. She was my Dad’s youngest sister.
At first, we had no phone: if people wanted to get in touch with John they had to ring Mr Thynne, who then had to come round with the message or get John come and speak to the caller. Eventually, he suggested to the Stewards that both manses needed a phone and one was installed in our hall. We didn’t make many calls but it did save Mr Thynne a lot of message carrying, probably often at inconvenient times.
Our ‘expectancy’ proceeded according to the book and, apart from being well overweight, I was in really good health and full of energy. I felt cherished, not just by John but by all the church folk. I was glad to know Mrs Thynne was there if I had any worries. Meanwhile, back in Greenock, my Mum was busy knitting. Every now and then a package would come with a couple of lovely wee baby jackets in nice pastel colours, not all pink and blue. She used Clark’s baby wool to make little vests. The wool was white with a silver thread in it, soft as could be. She made some ‘pram sets’ consisting of jacket, leggings with feet, bonnet and mitts, the latter joined by a crocheted ‘ribbon’ which went up one sleeve and down the other ensuring they wouldn’t get lost. All were made in the second or third size so as to last through winter 57/58, which they did. I enjoyed getting all the baby ‘trousseau’ out and looking at the wee garments and thinking “only (whatever) number of weeks now”!
I don’t suppose any mother-to-be forgets the amazing moment when the baby first moves. I was at home and had to wait for John to get back from one of his country churches to tell him I was now sure there really was a baby in there! It wasn’t long before he/she was doing kicks that were visible. It was all so fascinating and I never had any qualms about the future or worries about the birth. John probably did most of the worrying!! He did the vacuuming, carried the coal and made sure I didn’t do anything he thought was too strenuous.
I said we had got to know most of the people who lived around us. Three doors towards the town was the home of Wilf and Mary Wright and their little girl Linda, who was about 5. They were members of the Westgate Methodist Church, which was at the top of the town while Castlehill was at the bottom. Mary and I often met in the street and gradually became friends. Although I had women friends in all the churches we were part of, Mary was the closest and the dearest. Linda was a friendly wee girl, and I was pleased one day when she took my hand as we walked along the road. I felt I had passed a test! More about Mary in the next episode………