When Ian flew to Ghana on 28th September, I stayed in High Wycombe, in order to help Claire when her second baby (due October 13th) was born. I moved into Claire’s house and shared a room with Charlie (aged 2½) which luckily worked quite well.
The first week was enjoyable, partly due to the unseasonably hot and sunny weather. Claire was feeling uncomfortable but otherwise fine, so one day the three of us went on the bus to Henley, where we had a picnic, fed the ducks, got ice creams and went on a boat trip – Charlie’s idea of a perfect day! Other days I just took him to the local park, where there are two excellent playgrounds and I was quite happy just to sit in the sun.
About a week after Ian left, the weather changed dramatically from summer to winter. Claire started suffering more – feeling really sick or having violent pains, which led to us spending one afternoon in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The waiting for baby’s arrival seemed endless, and the bad weather restricted the possibilities for outings with Charlie. We were glad to have a visit from Paul and Rosie (who were attending a wedding in Marlow) and also Ian’s sister Maggi, back from Spain for a few days.
On Sunday October 23rd, Claire was admitted to hospital for an induction, as Oscar was by then ten days overdue. She was warned that the procedure could take some time, so I planned to take Charlie to visit her on the maternity ward that afternoon. Then things happened very quickly, and Oscar was born at 2.51pm! I was able to take Charlie to visit his mother and new baby brother, both of whom were doing well. Oscar weighed 8lb 5oz at birth, and is a beautiful little boy. He and Claire were back home at 10 pm that evening.
The following Friday, Andrew and his family came over to meet the new arrival. We had a pub lunch together, and it was great to see all four of our grandchildren.
While staying with Claire, I went with her to Polish classes on Monday evenings. These begin with a five-week taster course, before progressing to Level 1. Claire was keen to learn some Polish in order to communicate with Raf’s family. I decided that I would like to know at least a few words of the language, although for obvious reasons I shall not be able to continue after the five taster sessions.
We really enjoyed the small-group classes, with an excellent teacher, although Polish is certainly a difficult language, and I find the pronunciation impossible. Claire realised when she enrolled that she might have to miss a lesson (or two) when Oscar arrived. But we managed four while she was pregnant, and there was no class (due to half-term) the day after Oscar was born. So we were both able to attend the final class, on October 31st, before I flew off to Ghana on November 1st.