The weather turned suddenly colder in the third week of November that year.
I went to bed really early, because I'd not been sleeping too well.
Late pregnancy is like that.
In the attic room upstairs, Longsuffering Clockmaker was busy making something the church needed in time for Advent.
I slept heavily but woke up suddenly and completely at around one a.m. and told him it was time to phone the babysitter.
Within half an hour we were on our way to the hospital.
"Well, you've quite a long way to go" the midwife said
"Your husband ought to go home and get some proper sleep. Nothing much will happen till the morning at least"
Two hours later the slow movement of the Mozart flute and harp concerto was drowned by the indignant cry of my first son...the boy that, after 3 miscarriages, I had been assured I would never carry to term.
He lay there beside me, calm and alert...seeming already to have a wisdom that I could only envy.
18 years on, he is still the wisest member of our family, and a calm presence when mother and sister boil over, as we often do.
Flute music remains his signature - his birthday present looks alot like this
(if you're a flutey person, it's a miyazawa PA102)
And I love him so very much that I'd embarass him to admit to it in public...but he's one of the best Huggers on the planet so I think I'll just go and collect one
without further ado.
Happy Birthday, Hugger Steward.