Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Column, July 18, 2006

I’M not sure at what point the panic set in. Perhaps it was when Mrs Banks told me that our best-laid plans of going into hospital to have our second baby had gone awry and that, on reflection, our dining room floor was as good as a delivery room.
Or maybe it was when, while on the phone to the ambulance controller, telling her that half an hour was really and awfully, awfully long time to wait for an ambulance, that I had to inform her that the head was crowning and that after a long and varied career in journalism I was about to embark on an adventure in midwifery.
It’s then that you find out why, on the old movies, they always shout for hot water and towels when a woman is about to give birth.
Towels to try to save the carpets, and hot water to start scrubbing them presumably. Perhaps, as he made his way into the world, William Kit Banks had an inkling that having daddy as a catcher was not a good idea, after all his nickname as a rugby player was Teflon, due to the non-stick nature of his hands when catching the ball.
So he held on until the ambulance crew arrived. But you form your opinions of these crews from Casualty and you expect them to have delivered dozens of babies, usually in the midst of some other disaster that has grim-reaped the citizenry of Holby yet again.
It was a good job than that Daniel the ambulanceman, sorry, don’t know his surname – hey, give me a break, it wasn’t a moment to be taking shorthand notes – informed us after William’s arrival that this had only been his second delivery and that he had only had a day’s training in just what was expected of him.
So given the fact that William is our second child I was about as experienced as the man who turned out to be our midwife.
Son Number 1, at three years of age, showed admirable grace under pressure, running in and out with grandma to check if the ambulance had arrived, ie, something useful, unlike dad who confined himself to reminding the mum-to-be to breath, something which given the noise levels in the room at the time, she was perfectly capable of doing unprompted.
Once the ambulance crew arrived Son Number 1 sat across the room with a grandstand view and proceeded to click away with his camera. Fortunately for Mrs B’s dignity he did this without the benefit of film, but a promising career as a photojournalist beckons methinks.
Quite what he made of it all I’m not sure, but he didn’t seem quite as traumatised about it as dad who was a blubbing fool when presented with his new son. Safe to say junior’s theory that the baby would emerge ‘through mummy’s tummy button’ was well and truly shattered that day.
I’m informed that he looks like me, but what people are basically saying when they tell you that, is that you’re a bit chubby, your hair is thinning and your toilet habits leave a lot to be desired.
William is, of course, a bundle of unadulterated joy, which is a good job given his ability at not one week old to deprive both parents of a wink of sleep.
And it’s only in the aftermath that you get an inkling of the mysterious ways in which women’s minds move. Bear in mind that Son Number 1 was born after an ambulance trip between hospitals with mum and unborn son hooked up to monitors. Son Number 2 lays waste to the dining room lovingly renovated over a year by his mum and dad.
Not 24 hours later, having cleared what Grandad told us ‘looked like a field hospital’, Mrs Banks in all seriousness turned to me and said: “You can see why people have three.”
Anyway, despite the drama, both mum and son, 8lbs 13½ozs for those of you who keep score, are doing fine. Dad’s still a wreck.

A MONTH or so ago I wrote about an event in memory of one of my former teachers, Valmai Antrobus, who died of cancer. Delia Bettaney, another of the teachers from my old school, Hawarden High, opened her gardens to the public to raise money for Nightingale House, the hospice that cared for Mrs Antrobus.
I’m very pleased to tell you that Mrs Bettaney’s event raised £1,100. A great contribution to a worthy cause and a fitting tribute to a much-loved teacher.

I CAN’T say the bosses at Burger king will weep to read this. After all, I’m hardly a fan of their products and none of their franchises are going to go bust through my continuing failure to ever darken their doors.
But the way they treated a little Welsh firm that makes flapjacks makes the idea of tasting their flame-grilled monstrosities every more unlikely.
You see the Corwen-based firm, Wholebake, decided to call one of its products a ‘Whopper’. Because that’s what it was, a big flapjack. No, no wrote Burger King, you’ll find that the only Whopper being eaten legally here is the big meaty one in a bun. Cease and desist.
Wholebake, not having the funds to do battle with Burger King has withdrawn from the fray and renamed their product. But you have to wonder at the mentality of whichever of His Highness’s flunkies took this action.
Are they seriously saying that one of their loyal customers, walking down the high street, intent on treating himself to a whopper, with fries, and Coke, hey, make that large fries, large Coke and one of those apple pies as hot as the centre of the Sun, is going to be misled into buying a flapjack instead of a burger?
It might actually do them some good if they were, but despite the damage to your health overindulgence in burgers will inflict, I’ve yet to hear that it renders consumers incapable of distinguishing beef from oats.
But hey, maybe they’re telling us something about the taste of their product, or lack of it. Anyway, my advice next time you want a Whopper, buy the one that’s better for you, buy the one that’s made by Wholebake


Matt Withers said...

Congratulations Banksy...although I'm surprised you didn't rush Mrs B down the A1 in a panicky, Clockwise-style bid to have him born this side of the border.

Ifan M Jones said...

Congrats! I'm sure he'll be PM one day.

William Kit, the Younger.

Banksy said...

Many thanks Matt.

But it would have been the M62, M6, M56, A55 actually.

Ifan M Jones said...

If the baby's having trouble falling asleep just crack open a copy of McNae. Always works on me.

"Once upon a time a baby was given an ASBO for keeping his parents up all night..."

Just don't read him the bit about the age of criminal responsibility.