I deliver a baby hurriedly

One day, I was wandering aimlessly round the Labour Ward, wondering if anyone was going to take the trouble to give birth. As a midwife of many years’ experience I am always alert to this possibility.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when Mrs. X. appeared, in the throes of a contraction. She had been my patient in the community so she approached me with confidence. (This may have been misplaced but hey-ho.)

Mr. X was trailing behind her.

We assembled in the Admission Room so that I could assess how far on Mrs. X was.

Quite far, as things turned out. 5 cm. dilated with a thin cervix, baby’s head low and this was Mrs. X’s fourth pregnancy.

Peeling off my gloves, I told Mrs. X my findings and started to walk to the Labour Ward proper.

Not so Mrs. X. Apparently, she had to get the weekly shopping in, and the small matter of her being in labour was not going to stop her. I suggested that Mr. X should be sent to Tesco’s with a list, but Mrs. X. strongly vetoed this advice. Her view was that husbands are all very well, but they cannot be relied upon to get Everything On The List when asked to apply their superior male intelligence to this task.

I was forced to agree with her. Mr. Mhor has form for disregarding The List, too.

Mrs. X shuffled off to Tesco’s and I shuffled off to the Midwives’ Office, where tea is always available, and cakes too, sometimes. It is always worth checking, just in case. Forty minutes later, the door porter escorted Mr. and Mrs. X back to the Admission Room, where I joined them. Mrs. X was screaming that she was pushing and Mr. X was spark out on the floor


My professional training told me that removing Mrs. X’s underwear would be a matter of some urgency, so I performed this task immediately and delivered a baby girl before I had had a chance to put on gloves or shut the window.

I told Mrs. X that she had a daughter and her response was:

“Don’t wake xxxxxxx up, Mustress. We’ve got four girls already.”

Fair enough, I suppose. I pressed the emergency bell with my elbow and picked my way over the inert form of Mr. X.

Mrs. X was very pleased indeed.

“At least I know we’ve got the toilet rolls and the right biscuits”, she said. “THEY” (indicating her unconscious spouse) “always forget.”

It was difficult not to agree with her.


Sometimes I used to wonder why there was a cat flap in our back door. We did not possess any cats, after all. Mr. Mhor and I lived a quiet life, undisturbed by felines.

Imagine our surprise, therefore, when a large ginger tom started to wait outside in the alleyway.

I daresay he thought we had unlimited supplies of cat treats and only needed an actual cat to appear so that we could use them up.

This was not true, of course. However, Tam (as we christened him) still came to sit outside our back door on a daily basis.

Shortly afterwards Tam’s wife appeared. Or maybe she was his sister. I do not know. Whatever, she strolled past Tam and sat down in our kitchen. Every day. Possibly she was checking up on him in case he was being unfaithful to her.

I bought some cat milk and Tam’s wife/sister/mother-in-law realised immediately that she had a sucker on her hands.

She came every day and we named her Cheilidh. After a fortnight or so I made the fatal tactical error of buying some pouches of cat food.

Word spread among the local cat population.

In ten days we accumulated a further two cats, who could not be persuaded to leave. By then I had bowed to the inevitable and bought more cat food and some bowls for them.

They were strays. I advertised locally and nobody wanted them. They were not microchipped, either, and all were unloved and uncared for.

Enter Buster and McVicar. (Cheilidh was the ginger and white cat, Buster is the tabby and McVicar the tortoiseshell with the permanent look of surprise on her face.)

Mr. Mhor’s contribution to the proceedings was to whack open the cat flap with a large hammer.

Tam (who still used to stick to his post at the back door faithfully until we moved to Scotland) was a sleek, good-natured and well-fed ginger cat. I blame him for turning the first Mhor Cottage into an unofficial cats’ home. Mr. Mhor (needless to say) blames me.

The Robbing Butcher has not expressed a view.


The Robbing Butcher


Whilst at the pharmacy this morning I happened to notice that the Robbing Butcher’s shop was shut, despite the sign on his door saying “OPEN”.

The RB does this all the time, to keep me on the back foot, so to speak. I have a theory that he reads this blog and plans his day accordingly. Possibly he has a periscope secreted in the pavement outside his shop.

I returned to Mhor Cottage to inform Mr. Mhor of the latest developments in the never-ending saga. He was busy cooking breakfast and it was made clear to me that he was not interested  in the vexed subject of whether the RB was open or not.

Unimpressed, I requested two dippy eggs.

Mr. Mhor glared at me. I may recently have pointed out to him that I do not like hard fried eggs. A marriage which has survived the travails ours has done,  ought surely to be able to withstand a reasonable request with regard to  fried eggs?

Well, you would think so, wouldn’t you? Pah. I am too busy to be bothered by these trivialities. I have been banned from Mumsnet and am sending hourly lamentations and petitions to get my account reinstated.

They have hearts of stone (as does the Robbing Butcher, as I frequently tell anyone willing to listen).  

Will the Mustress Mhor get her heart’s desire? Will the Robbing Butcher be open tomorrow? Will Mr. Mhor’s new patio win a Design Award? (This last is highly unlikely).


Despite several emails, in which The Mustress laid bare her heart, MNHQ have abandoned her.

They have also been instrumental in the creation of this blog.

The Robbing Butcher, of course, just swaggers about the village, aware that his Stornoway black pudding and circular square sausage is unrivalled  among connoisseurs of high-quality breakfast produce.

The haggis is also splendid. And the eggs.

In fact, the RB pulled out an egg from what he called his “new” hens the other day. He claimed it was much larger than the eggs from the previous hens. He showed me two eggs, side by side for comparison.

I did grudgingly concede that the new eggs were considerably bigger. Anyway, I imagine that this is why the Mhors are having slight pecuniary difficulties at the moment.

We spend so fucking much in the Robbing Butcher’s shop, that’s why.

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