Scene – March 1993 – The clear spring sky grants unhindered visual access to the Piscean constellation lording it above a Bedfordshire hospital. This majestic celestial display overhead, with the new day only minutes old, witnessing a girl child’s arrival. The babe’s advent seven days previous to the anticipated birth date; an event catching her twenty-something parents on the hop.

The root cause of the babe’s early arrival will remain forever unknown. However, subsequent analysis of a possible source has discounted it being a consequence of impatience at witnessing her father’s whispy moustache….. Or, indeed, the child’s eagerness at hearing mum’s ‘fascinating’ anecdote about a flavoursome meal consumed during the third night of a 1989 holiday in Cyprus.

Footnote – The author, who portrayed the paternal role in this emotive yarn of family expansion, would like it on record that, in his defence, moustaches were en vogue (for males, anyhow) during the 1980’s……. He is, though, at a loss to explain why he still sported the same aesthetically questionable facial hair style in 1993. To be honest, though, I’d not dwell on Mr Strachan’s logic; endeavouring to unpick the workings of his erratic mind is a neurological minefield best circumvented.

Anyhow, minutes after the delivery of the girl child, a heavy handed midwife passes the new-born to GJ Strachan with the grace of a fly-half despatching a rugby ball to a fleet footed centre.

Thankfully, I suppressed the impulse to drop kick my daughter across the otherwise vacant delivery room. Instead, in an act of paternal love and protection, I held her with a vicelike hug; my eyes welling up with salted tears whilst I held my offspring for the first time…… To clarify, these tears weren’t from the emotion of the occasion, moreover from pain inflicted by the midwife treading on my foot….. Chuffing clumsy mare!

At this juncture, my wife and I exchanged smiles; in Karen’s case probably through relief her daughter didn’t appear to have inherited her dad’s colossal proboscis. My inane grin from relief at the relatively short labour, meaning I’d probably be back home in time to watch Mr Motivator’s exercise routine on breakfast TV, at 7.30 am.



Choosing not to know the sex of our child prior to the birth, if blessed with another son, my spouse and I’d prepared the name Philip – The moniker Rachel, after Monica out of Friends, our favoured moniker should god bequeath us a daughter.

With Karen enjoyed a well-earned post-delivery sleep, I ‘entertained’ my new daughter with a medley of low volumed, off-key Frank Sinatra laments. Or did so until realising my ungodly cacophony was the probable cause of the new-born’s inaugural sob.

Her apparent disenchantment through tears at my lack of melody, accompanied by early signs of remarkably strong index finger/thumb pincer movement. Something I became aware of when Rachel reached up her arm before snagged my unconvincing moustache……. My yelp at almost having facial hair pulled out at the root consequently waking Karen from her slumber.

With my wife awake, I gently handed her our tiny daughter. Cuddling her second child, who’d she’d carried meticulously for the previous nine months, resulting in the young County Durham lass crying as she looked lovingly down at offspring. These the tears of genuine emotion, not consequential of a cloddish midwife standing on her foot, as I’d earlier experienced.

During her embrace, Karen fed the new arrival. With Rachel suckling, GJ Strachan recommenced his ‘Sinatra Sings The Wheels On The Bus’ act. This time causing my missus to stretch out her arm and grab my moustache; prior to admonishing me with the words “Don’t upset her again!”

Perturbed at having my tash pulled twice in such close proximity, and with Mr Motivator only an hour or two from performing his over-excitable exercise routines on GMTV, I bode my wife and newly born daughter a temporary farewell.

My departure allowing them both a well-deserved rest and much sought freedom from my crooning. Yours truly returning home to inform my two year old son Jonny, who was being carried for by an aunt, of our family’s new addition.

After a few hours sleep, I returned to the L&D hospital with Jonny. My first-born exhibiting a high level of giddiness borne from anticipation at seeing the new addition to the family. Or he was until he discovered the new addition was a baby sister, not Captain Scarlet! … Yes I know you shouldn’t lie to your kids, but hey I had to get him to the hospital somehow!