In September 1965, I was the wife of the Vicar of Carno, in deepest mid-Wales, the developing base at that time of the Laura Ashley empire. I was expecting very shortly the birth of my second child, and had been assured by Mrs Eunice Watkin, the local white witch, that the day of delivery would be the 27th - much to my chagrin as I was hoping for a fortnight earlier at least! On the 26th, a Sunday, the Church Warden and his wife rang and asked if we could do them an immense favour, and put up an unexpected visitor, whose sudden arrival posed complicated family difficulties. So we made up a bed and welcomed a rather stressed young person for the night.
Next morning she was duly collected and all was calm until suddenly my waters broke. Even then panic did not prevail although we did have a 10 mile journey over the hill to Llanidloes to the War Memorial Hospital. Shortly before leaving, we had to play host to the local policeman, who called to warn us of a spate of robberies in churches in the area, advising my husband (in vain) to lock up the two in his charge. He did offer us an escort to the hospital when we explained our hurry, but we declined.
Once at the hospital, everything slowed down - no contractions, no anything, but being overdue they kept me in, in a side ward, and my husband returned to the Vicarage to take over care for 2 year old Huw. During the visiting time, I actually had a couple of visitors from the parish, there seeing members of their families. As they were leaving, all of a sudden, I was hit my a contraction. I called the Nurse. "Walk up to the Labour ward, dear", she said, " and Matron will come and have a look". Passing the entrance to the main Women's Ward, I heard the opening strains of the Coronation Street theme unravelling its familiar shape, and minutes later, Matron was at my side, exclaiming with incredulity that my baby was ready and waiting to join the world. There was no time for gas and air or anything else, and before I had time to register either pain of alarm, my lovely daughter, Sian, was in my arms.
Unbelievably, having been duly tidied up, we were together wheeled back down to the side ward past the Women's Ward, just as the closing bars of the Coronation Street episode for that evening were being played. This year, Sian's 45th birthday is again on a Monday, and there are absolutely no prizes for guessing the context and timing of our celebration!