Posts Tagged ‘bailgate’

Lincoln A to Z Q9 maternity unit, Lincoln County Hospital

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Christmas Day 1991 was a quiet affair. The two of us had Christmas lunch on our own at the house in Greetwell Gate. Anne was heavily pregnant and now two weeks overdue.

We went out pretty much every night in the weeks running up to Christmas, determined to make the most of our last days of freedom. Six weeks earlier we had been in the Prince of Wales pub in the Bailgate. In those days it was a proper local. Small cosy rooms and good for a lock-in in the days before licensing laws became more liberal. I used to play rugby with the landlord Wayne.

At some point during the evening the conversation came round to the baby’s due date.  Officially this was the 12th December but of course these things are never certain. For a bit of fun we decided to have a sweepstake, pound in and whoever guessed the actual birthday right took all the cash. The only rule was that nobody was allowed to choose Boxing Day as this would be the day she would have to go in and have the birth induced had the baby not yet arrived.

We came out of the pub that night with the twenty quid sweepstake cash in our pockets. The whole pub had taken part. On the way home we passed the Raj Douth Indian Restaurant (now the Saffron) so we stopped off and blew the lot on a curry. I had planned to replace the cash at the appropriate moment before handing it over to the winner.

Winding the clock forward six weeks and the baby still hadn’t arrived so it looked very much as if we would be going in to the hospital on Boxing Day for the birth.  After the Christmas lunch I fell asleep on the sofa and Anne set to clearing away the table. When I woke up a few hours later the whole house was spotless. The nesting instinct had kicked in and the big moment was obviously about to arrive.

The contractions started early evening but were not close enough together for us to go in to hospital. I started recording the intervals on a bit of paper on the bedside table.  We didn’t get much sleep that night and by the morning had a complete record of the contractions which gradually got closer and closer together.

By 10am it was time to go in. The hospital was only a few hundred yards away and it took minutes to get there. For much of the time I paraded around the ward chatting to the nurses and availing myself of the huge supplies of chocolate that had been donated by grateful patients. It was a lot easier for me than for Anne who, this being her first child had a pretty hard time of it. We went through three shifts of midwives until finally, twelve hours after our initial arrival at the hospital, Anne gave birth to a fine baby boy who we named Thomas Alun Davies.

It was too late to celebrate as the pubs were by now all shut and I went home to bed a tired but ecstatic parent.

The next night I was back in the Prince of Wales with my mates to wet the baby’s head. The subject of the sweepstake was brought up and of course there was no winner. I told the boys that I had spent the cash on flowers without mentioning the fact that really we had spent it on the curry that same night.

In fact I did buy the flowers, from the Shell Garage on Burton Road. It being the day after Boxing Day the flowers were getting past their best but the woman in the shop, understanding their purpose, picked through all the bunches and gave me a huge bundle of the best she had which were fine. Back on the ward in the hospital Anne’s bed was surrounded by colour making everyone else’s look a little pathetic by comparison.

I kept both the piece of paper with the details of the contractions and the beer mat with the sweepstake guesses in my bedside table for years.  Sadly they were lost during our house move but the story remains a nice little memento of what was a big moment in our lives.

We visited the maternity unit another three times before settling on four as the ideal sized brood. None of the others took as long to come out as the first and there were no further sweepstakes involved though I’m sure I must have felt it appropriate to wet the baby’s head each time.

I have since been to the Prince of Wales on many an occasion but never again to the maternity unit.

Eastgate by night

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Eastgate was fairly empty despite the relatively early time of night. Off the main drag I suppose. My stride purposeful, the footsteps echoed off the walls of the shops and houses as I passed by. Then the cathedral loudly announced ten pm. The sound completely filled the air around me. What wondeful acoustics!

As the bells counted up I approached the Bailgate and the noise of revellers on their Friday night out began to compete with them. The party noise soon dominated and then the ringing stopped.

The Bail was very busy. Not being a night bird this took me by surprise. I made my way to the Strugglers to meet Terry and Mark and passed the windows of the Cloud Bar. The room was full of sophisticates dressed in their best and out to impress. Where did they come from? I noted @lesanto’s iQ car with personalised number plate.

At the pub a pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord was waiting for me on the bar. I took off my coat and settled into the conversation.