The Mustress Delivers a Baby and receives a VERY WELCOME PRESENT

Many years ago I was wandering round the Labour Ward, at rather a loose end, if the truth be told. It was a Sunday and we had no patients.

We had restocked every cupboard to within an inch of its life and had had several cups of tea. Midwives survive almost entirely on tea, and cakes and biscuits are generally available.

On this memorable day there wasn’t so much as a packet of Rich Tea (generally looked upon with disfavour by midwives, but supplied reluctantly by the hospital’s catering department.)

Very possibly the Rich Tea are for the patients, not the midwives.


I spotted a pregnant woman and her (I assumed) husband, and approached them to offer my assistance. She told me that she was in labour – with her eleventh child.

Despite midwifery textbooks always advising that midwives should be diagnosing labour, not mere patients, I assumed that as she had had ten babies previously she was going to be correct with regard to knowing if the eleventh baby was starting to make its appearance.

Reader, that woman was right and that baby was nearly there. Despite the fact that she did not appear to be having contractions and was not in any distress, her cervix was 9 cm. dilated.

About three minutes after I had established that fact, she gave birth to a son.

It was a very easy gig for me, I have to say. I daresay the woman herself regarded it as such.

Anyway – after giving the baby a quick suck on the breast, she asked me to hand her her holdall – then she extracted a massive box of very expensive chocolates.

“For you,” she said. “I always like to thank my midwives when I have a baby. You work so hard.”

It brightened up my Sunday, I can tell you. And the collective Sundays of the rest of the staff. We always share booty like this.

Someone made another pot of tea and the Labour Ward returned to its previous state of Nothing Going On.

Mr. Mhor Drags The Mustress to a Garden Centre

Before I start, I have to point out that there is a particularly good coffee shop at this garden centre, so it wasn’t all bad.

It’s just that I don’t really like trundling round, looking at plants and wondering why some of them are so fussy. Mr. Mhor frequently adjures me to tell him which plants I like, but when I do he invariably has some kind of excuse as to why they are not suitable for the garden at Mhor Cottage. I might as well save my breath (and energy) and just go straight to the coffee shop.

Mr. Mhor has been told many times that his esteemed wife does not like purple or pink- coloured plants. He has also been advised that messy-looking plants are not welcome at Mhor Cottage. This does not seem to stop him from buying them, though; and he then gets upset when he asks if they are admired and is told unequivocally that they are not.

In any case, I am always anxious to find out if there is any pear frangipani available in the coffee shop. Priorities, priorities.

The cake situation is what interests me at garden centres. Plants are the same wherever you go but the standard of cakes is very variable in the accompanying cafes.

(I am sure that someone will now email me to say that plants are NOT the same in all garden centres.)

Anyway. We drove forty six miles to get to this garden centre and it was the same scenario as it always is when we visit garden centres. After Mr. Mhor asked me which plants I liked and then vetoed them (on very specious grounds, in my opinion) I wandered off thankfully to the coffee shop.

There WAS pear frangipani.

After what seemed like five weeks (but was in actuality fifteen minutes) Mr. Mhor joined me and started to tell me about how he had been accidentally overcharged for some terracotta pots. It was a long, tedious story involving discounted prices and (inevitably) misunderstandings over the dimensions of the pots, which were absolutely hideous.

I waved this aside. If he was trying to conflate the Robbing Garden Centre and the Robbing Butcher, I told him he should start his own blog.

That would teach him a lesson.

The Robbing Butcher Disappoints Mr. Mhor

It is Friday, so I was determined to catch the Robbing Butcher out for once.

I particularly wanted him to be open, so that the weekend breakfast needs of the Mhors could be fulfilled. I therefore said, many times, to Mr. Mhor “I am quite sure that the RB will be closed today.”

(I said this in case the RB had installed a listening device in Mhor Cottage. Nothing would surprise me less.)

Off I went and to my surprise, the RB was open.

I asked for bacon, haggis, Stornoway black pudding, circular square sausage, fruit pudding and eggs “from the new hens.”

The RB glared at me. I have a feeling that he thought I was being impertinent with regard to the eggs.

I glared back at him.

Then he played a low blow. He announced that he had no fruit pudding in stock. I pulled myself together and paid for the rest of my order, then exited the shop, wondering how I was going to break the news to Mr. Mhor.

Mr. Mhor is very fond of fruit pudding with his breakfast. Personally, I can take it or leave it (with “leave it” as my preferred option) but one of the guilty pleasures in Mr. Mhor’s life is eating fruit pudding with his breakfast.

I arrived at Mhor Cottage and gave Mr. Mhor the bad news. He was engaged in cooking some Stornoway black pudding (and readers of this blog may believe, with some justification, that the Mhors subsist almost entirely on Stornoway black pudding.)

“No fruit pudding,” I said, tentatively. “But I got some circular square sausage,” (I was hoping to soften the blow, of course) “and eggs from the new hens.”

Mr. Mhor took it quite well, all things considered, but he went through ten minutes of agitation, and my egg was definitely NOT dippy when it was finally served.

The Robbing Butcher has much to answer for.

The Robbing Butcher gets his own back

I have long wondered if the RB reads blogs, or if he is aware that he has been immortalised on Mumsnet.

However, today I was expecting him to be shut.

Imagine my surprise and discomfiture to discover that he was, in fact, shut. I spend my life second-guessing the Robbing Butcher’s activities and I feel that he has tricked me on more than one occasion, so it followed that he had tricked me today.

Generally, he is open on Thursdays so I assumed he would be shut.

And he was. Shut, I mean.

Honestly. You can’t trust anyone these days. I had to go to the Co – Op for bacon and black pudding, not to mention haggis and sub-standard eggs. Sub-standard in the sense that they are small, I mean.

It quite put me out. Mr. Mhor would happily eat the Co – Op’s bacon, etc, but then Mr. Mhor has no class. (Except in his choice of bride, obviously).

I regret to confess that I have visions of the Robbing Butcher watching and waiting for me to approach his shop, and altering the OPEN and CLOSED sign accordingly.

This may be slightly paranoid, I admit. It has been suggested to me that the reason the RB’s opening hours are so haphazard is because he has to go to Smithfield Market for his produce. SM is nine hours away from here and anyway, I am sure you can’t buy Stornoway black pudding there.

Well, you probably can’t.

It looks like I shall have to start yet another thread about this on Mumsnet. I generally get good advice there, although you have to sort the wheat from the chaff and correct people’s SPaG.


Mr. Mhor Encounters a Very Large Snake

Some years ago, Mr. Mhor fell off a wall and broke his leg in three places.

(This occurrence really deserves a post to itself. Nobody was there to contradict him but he SAYS he wasn’t drunk when it happened.)

Mr. Mhor had left his phone at home, too. Of course, he could not remember my phone number off the top of his head so I did not know where he was for three days.

He had been taken to hospital and had undergone several operations by the time I managed to hunt him down. Eventually he came home with his leg in plaster and decided that a spot of intensive gardening would undoubtedly cause rapid healing to take place. I thought it would be better to elevate and rest it but what do I know? I’m only a nurse, after all.

So anyway. Sunday came round (as usual) and I sallied forth to church to play the organ (also as usual) and take choir practice (again, as usual………..)

Upon my return, Mr. Mhor was sitting in the garden looking rather anxious. He revealed that a “very large snake” had accosted him whilst he was weeding. Exactly how this snake had “accosted” him was not clear.

I had a ready answer, needless to say.

That, I said, will teach you not to spend all your time gardening when you could have been doing the ironing.

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.

%d bloggers like this: