Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ice cold milk and green apples.

Story contd.

I was nervous about the visit of Paula and her husband. Quite apart from telling her I was pregnant and would have to break my contract; it was the first time she had visited and I had never met her husband. I wanted everything to be perfect. I had an excellent cleaner, so the house glistened with lavender polish, the brass and copper gleamed and the table looked a picture with starched napkins and most of Dodie’s silver. William was looking reasonably respectable in a laid back ‘I’m in the garden rather than the office’ way but when I came to get dressed I couldn’t do up my skirt. Panic!

The only thing I could think of was to safety pin the skirt and cover it up with one of William’s white shirts loosely belted over the bump. It wasn’t supposed to show for ages yet but no-one seemed to have told it. In my mind I was sure ‘it’ was a girl. She would be small, blonde and feisty and I called her Emma. Such a poppet!

When the car rolled up I got a shock; Paula’s husband was not at all what I expected. He was a good ten years younger physically, but looked like a man who worked in the City - with a tooth brush moustache, and had left his bowler hat and furled umbrella at home for a day in the country.. As it was the week-end he was immaculately dressed with discreetly checked shirt, cravat and camel waistcoat, thorn proof jacket, beige cord trousers and suede (brothel creeper) shoes. What was odd was the fact that they all looked brand, spanking new. I remembered that he was her second husband and she had had three or four children with her first husband.

Paula was her usual chaotic self, but she had made an effort with a hat, heels, fur coat and a voluminous silk dress. An odd couple. We greeted each other warmly, made the introductions and got them drinks before the inevitable gap in the conversation. I had seen Paula’s piercing look and as soon as she had tasted her G & T I blurted out:

‘We’ve got some news to tell you. We are going to have a baby in November.’

Paula roared with laughter and gave me a big hug and there were congratulations all round. Lunch was a success with wine flowing and the men talking about cars and how to get to A from B and MPG and bottle necks. After lunch it was sunny so we sat in the garden and I told Paula I planned to work as long as possible and after the baby was born nurse it for six months and then go back to work. We agreed that my contract would lapse during this time and then start again; Paula said she would vet carefully, any jobs in the coming months to ensure I wasn’t overdoing things and the day ended very happily.

I think, at the time, we both believed this would all come about but I had a faint worry about the fact I was showing so soon. Was I having twins or a baby elephant? I started to prepare a layette and bought tiny Vyella nighties (that opened down the back – of course), stencilled designs on the bodices and embroidered them, sewing lace round the neck and wrists. Suddenly I could knit and sew. Fleur came up trumps. With all her wealth she had stuff that had been in the family for years and I was now to use them and then hand them back again. There was a lovely cot covered in pink and white organdie, ancient cot blankets which I renovated with new ribbon, a lovely piece of swaddling cashmere and a playpen. It was the time of very smart prams a la ‘Princess ‘Grace of Monaco’ so I couldn’t face using the pram she offered which looked as if it dated from the year dot with a cavernous body and tiny wheels. Not in Epsom – I just couldn’t! Dear Fleur; I know for a fact her grand children are still using the ancient layette

William and I were blissfully happy – for the very first time. My only problem was indigestion which may have had something to do with my propensity for drinking ice cold milk and eating green apples at bed-time.

21 comments:

FOUR DINNERS said...

Should have stuck to vodka.

Twins or a baby elephant? Sounds like fun. My pal had triplets. One of each....

sablonneuse said...

So it all went well and you needn't have been so worried. Did you develop any other 'fancies' during pregnancy? I can remember eating raw turnips!!

apprentice said...

What lovely memories, apart from the indigestion. I remember touse Vyella suits. My brother wore them, and I probably did too.

Swaddling cashmere, that sounds lovely and cosy - especially in pre central heating days.

Guyana-Gyal said...

That 'voluminous silk dress' Paula wore would've been perfect for you, wouldn't it?

Did they have maternity magasines back then that you could've modelled for?

'Brothel creepers.' Hahaha. I wonder why that name...

And speaking of cravings...I know of women here craving things like ice-cream then green mango with salt and pepper.

Dandelion said...

Hurry up! I want the baby!

PI said...

4d: I'll tell him you said that

Anna: in fact it wasn't a good idea to put lace round the neck - delicate little skin!

GG: I can't remember any such mags. one sort of went into hibernation and one certainly didn't flash the bump like they do now. It was all very discreet. Unfortunately I was bustin' out all over!
Brothel creepers had crepe soles so were silent.
Ice cream. mango and salt and pepper? Yummy!

Dandelion: all in good time my dear! These things can't be rushed - especially this little thing!

kenju said...

Green apples? They would be bad at the best of times!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Love the dark hint about how it didn't quite work out as planned. And, as usual, I can't wait to find out what DID happen.

PI said...

Judy: some people ate coal.

Zinnia:Nothing ever quite does in Pi-land.

R. Sherman said...

Had the Official Elder Son been female, he would have been an "Emma."

Cheers.

PI said...

Randall: you were VERY lucky. You had two sons AND a daughter.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

If being pregnant enables women to suddenly start knitting and sewing, what does it do for men who are about to be fathers? Do they suddenly discover an aptitude for woodwork and toymaking?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, that meeting went well, didn't it...I'm anxious to read what happens next, my dear....It feels like your "showing" is going to get in the way of Working...Yes?
OKAY! I'll try to be patient....lol!

PI said...

mermaid: Welcome! They may not necessarily find an aptitude but they certainly get strong encouragement to shape up!

Naomi: in a word - yes:)

PI said...

sablonneuse: I just craved food in general with milk and apples in particular. Stopped smoking and drinking - not because I thought I should but I didn't fancy either. and my very sweet tooth became less intense.

Dandelion said...

Aren't Granny Smith's green? And Golden Delicious?

Dandelion said...

Ba-by! Ba-by! Ba-by!

Scouse Doris said...

Just lurking as usual and enjoying. Looking forward to next installment!

PI said...

Dandelion: granny Smiths were the ones. I can't eat them now and I eat an apple every day. It's coming, it's coming!

Scouse Doris: You're always welcone - lurking or no:)

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I craved liquorice, tomato soup, my granny's mince 'n' tatties and her thyme-liver and rice.

I have to say - you looked radiant when you were pregnant! That is not how I looked at all.

Babies in swaddling cashmere - heaven!

PI said...

Sam: thyme liver and rice! Mmmmmmmmmmh!