|Frances and Ian - London - Oct 7th 2018|
Shirley and I were blessed to have two normal, healthy babies. They enjoyed happy childhoods and have grown up to become thoughtful adult human beings who relish the gift of life.
But of course it isn't like that for everyone. Here are some close-to-home references that confirm that reality. Our son, Ian has many good friends - guys he has known for years. Though Ian remains a carefree bachelor, several of his mates are settling down and becoming fathers.
How quickly the joyful anticipation of pregnancy can be replaced with a massive weight of anxiety. One of his old school friends became the father of a very premature baby that struggled to survive through his early weeks of life and is now permanently impaired both physically and mentally. Another friend's new baby has been in and out of hospital since birth. She has had two corrective operations because her organs were somehow arranged incorrectly within her chest cavity. She is bound to have breathing and digestion problems throughout her life.
A friend of mine's ex girlfriend has a four year old child who cannot walk, has a floppy head and drools when he eats or drinks. It is unlikely that there will ever be much improvement
Though we did not know him personally, a local young man well-known to friends, recently leapt to his death from a multi-storey car park in Manchester. He was a university student - just twenty one years old. Imagine how his parents must be feeling now.
Yes, we were blessed even though Shirley suffered not just one but two ectopic pregnancies in the eighties. One before Frances came along and one after. Sometimes I think about those little flames of life that burned so briefly and then went out but it is as nothing compared with the stories I have alluded to above.
I have just finished "Time and Time Again" by Ben Elton. It was well-written fiction that poses the question - if there was a moment in history you could change what would it be? Hugh Stanton has the opportunity to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914. He hopes to stop The First World War and for good measure carries on to Berlin to kill Kaiser Wihelm II, the German Emperor. But does his mission work and what kind of path will history take if he is successful?
It is I suppose a kind of fantasy novel - not normally my cup of tea but this was a stonking good read. Very well-considered by an intelligent author whose roots were in comedy script-writing for the BBC - including "The Young Ones" and "The Thin Blue Line". Let's leave it at that.