Another day, another lovely new nephew…
Ah, but I’m starting at the end when there was plenty more of a prelude. Yesterday the London wing of our family not currently nursing new-born babies or on anxious alert for another’s imminent arrival were in the West Midland’s for my Great-Uncle Reg’s funeral.
Funeral? Well, nothing quite so mournful – more of an emotional but ultimately rousing (modern-cliché warning) celebration of his life, with his old Para buddies paying their banner-banging, bugle-wheezing respects; my youngest brother Christy following behind the Union Flag-draped coffin wearing Reg’s original Army uniform (thus silently reprising his role as Reg in (shameless-plug warning) Silvery Moon Productions’ nation-touring, all-the-emotions-indulging song’n’storytelling tribute Somewhere In France With You); my Uncle Dave producing his own birth certificate revealing Reg had ignored instructions and had him registered as “Reginand David” instead of “David Lloyd”; and the elegiac melodies of Reg’s romantic favourites, “We’ll Meet Again” and “You Are My Heart’s Delight”.
Inspiring stuff. Even despite a brief detour when the car I was driving, as the cortege made its stately way from Walsall through Dudley to Gornal Wood, lost sight of the crucial group leaders thanks to a hulking great German lorry - the driver apparently unmoved by the three black carriages and the (I would have thought) obvious connection to all of us following behind in black mourning gear… Still, despite Herr Unhelpful’s best efforts, we ultimately managed to overtake and overcome.
Perhaps Reg might have thought that somehow appropriate, actually.
Ah, but, but, but… Someone else was struggling to steal a little of the old showman’s limelight: not long before entering the crem, a call came through from my brother Lyndon that his wife Jessie had gone into labour a week early – thus happily vindicating the decision to stay home in London, just in case. Phew. An M1 layby or a Trusthouse Forte somewhere near Northamptonshire would be no place for a newly-emerging baby to first clap his or her stickily blinking eyes upon, after all…
And so it was Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital – birthplace of myself and all three brothers – that hosted the latest addition to the family tree, and yes, yet another boy: clearly, the Y chromosome is strong in this gene pool. Kim – meaning “little friend to all the world” (no pressure, then, fella), and apparently partly inspired not by the North Korean dictactor but bv Lyndon recently reading the Rudyard Kipling adventures. Good job he steered away from The Jungle Book and Mowgli, though it may be some time yet before Kim can be safely entrusted with the secret of man’s red fire.
For now, and our briefly-allowed visit on return to London last night, he looks happy where he is for the time being – namely, swaddled deeply inside a blanket and hoodie, though those cheeks look a little chubbier than his (three-weeks-older) cousin Harry. Oh, what parallel adventures that pair should share… As long as they come to like each other, of course. Tough if they don’t...
At least Kim can perhaps claim some credit for pulling his weight a little more (7lb 6oz, to be precise) – Jessie’s ten-hour labour was a mere one-quarter of the time it took for lazy Harry to emerge.
The “It’s a boy!” banners are back up (alongside a poster saying, ahem, "Wel-Kim Home"). There’s a new gurgler in town.
And his arrival on August 14, making it a day for hellos and well as goodbyes, shows Kim has one classy attribute already timing.