Sunday 5 May 2024

Where DID the time go?


      Helen - Summer 1982

42 years ago, I gave birth to my daughter. It was the warmest spring and I’d spent about three weeks prior to the birth, sitting outside in the garden, loving the new, lazy life! 

For 8 years, I’d been teaching. Seven of those were spent in the most delightful school in Surrey. I’d been in charge of Literacy and was loving the responsibility,

And then, one day, my then husband came home and said that he’d been given a transfer to Devon. I’d always wanted to return to my home county. I was sad to leave my lovely school in Surrey but I managed to find a teaching job in Exeter; it was like going from one extreme to the other but I enjoyed that too. After three terms, the headteacher wanted me to apply for a similar role in her school..the responsibility for Literacy. I could’ve done the job easily but at the same time, I knew that the time had come to start a family. Very aware that my body clock was ticking, I turned it down. I found that I was expecting fairly soon afterwards.

As I said, April 1982 was like summer; the warm weather just kept coming and when I finally went into hospital, I was as brown as a berry! I’d been sitting in the garden with my mum when I knew that things had started to happen. She left to go home to my dad and my then husband arrived home from work, to take me to hospital.

At the same time, the ‘Task Force’ had set off for the Falkland Islands. It was a scary time for everyone. Communication was nowhere as good as nowadays. We watched the news every night via the reporters’ video link; the footage was always unclear. My journey to the local hospital was somewhat shorter than the journey of the task force and I arrived after lunch, nervous, apprehensive and wondering what would happen! I had no idea whether I’d have a boy or a girl; I’d had no scans!

Newton Abbot hospital was an old, Victorian building, oozing with character! The ward was full…upstairs and down! Must’ve been something in the water, 9 months earlier! It was like being on holiday! I had my daughter that evening and then stayed there for 5 nights! There was no rush to get you out! I made a number of friends whilst there and it really was a lovely holiday! 😂

However, expecting a visit from my mum, asap, when we rang to tell her the good news of Helen’s arrival, she informed us that no sooner had she arrived home, than my dad fell off a ladder…and broke his hip! What a fine time to do that! My poor mum didn’t know if she was coming or going as he was taken to Torbay hospital so it’s wasn’t as if she could easily visit us both.

One of my first visitors was my ex headmistress from Exeter. She drove down after school and she  was astounded at the sight of me, being so suntanned, and asked, ‘Where on earth have you been for your holidays? Have you been abroad?’  

‘No, it was a back garden in Newton Abbot!!’

When I finally arrived home, believe it or not, the Task Force had still not arrived at The Falkland Islands! 

     This photo has always made me laugh!

     A very young mum and Helen

Two years and seven months later, I returned to the same hospital to have my son, only to find that it was shortly to close. I was in the same ward as previously and there was only one other mum and her baby in with me! And I only stayed in for one night! 

         Introducing Nich to Helen

And here we are, 42 years later.
Helen and Nich have their own families now!

Nich and Lizzie have William

And below, Helen and Ben have Meg and Toby.

And it’s lovely when the children all get together.

And this little boy is 3 years old, on Monday!


  1. Time flies and we cannot do anything about it. Photographs help us to relive those moments.
    Very often nowadays newly-delivered mothers are discharged the day they give birth.
    It's lovely when the grandchildren can spend time together.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. I can’t seem to access your blog.

  3. Where does the time go, I found some photos of daughter when having a clear out (we're moving and downsizing) when she was small, she will be 44 in September. Fortunately I was already in the hospital when I started as she was born 2 hours later. That hospital is now a housing estate.

  4. How time flies. You have a lovely family. X


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