Over the weekend, I was looking for some old photos to use as part of the Diary Project I wrote about last week.
Now, there are few things I like better than flicking through old photo albums (Both my own and other people’s: I’m nosey like that), and as I went through these ones, it occurred to me that if I REALLY want this blog to document my life, I should really start at the beginning, shouldn’t I? So, with that in mind, here’s one of the very first photos of me ever taken…
I say “one of” the very first: we know I’m only a few days old in this photo, but there are a few from around this time, and we don’t know which was the VERY first, because it seems my parents were uncharacteristically chilled about the whole “bringing a brand new life into the world” thing, and it didn’t really occur to them to think, ‘Hey, maybe we should take a few photos of this kid: ya think?”
To be fair, this was long before the age of Facebook and Instagram, and it was even before the age of iPhones and digital cameras, and fire, and the wheel, and all that stuff we take for granted today. “Taking photos wasn’t as much of a thing then,” my mum said, a few weeks ago, when I asked her where all the photos of the two of them gazing lovingly at me in the hospital were, before going on to explain that they’d have had to take the film to Boots to get it developed, and you only got, like, 36 photos per reel, so you had to pick your subject carefully, you know?
I’m joking, of course: as much as I’d LOVE to have every second documented, right from my very first breath, the way today’s newborns do (Although just think how long it would take me to transfer all of THAT onto the blog?!), it was, as my mum says, a different time, and not only were cameras not allowed in the delivery room when I was born, my DAD wasn’t even allowed in: or even into the HOSPITAL, for that matter. I, you see, was eight days late, and breech: despite the best efforts of the doctors, I had made it pretty clear that I wasn’t for moving, so if they wanted me, they’d have to come and get me (this was useful preparation for my parents, who never could get me out of bed in the morning…), so I was born by caesarean section, eight days after my due date.
In those days, they did caesareans under general anaesthetic, so basically NEITHER of my parents was present at the birth: my dad was sent home to wait by the phone (He says that when he finally got The Call, he lay down on the hall floor and cried…), and my mum was so out of it that when she came round after the anaesthetic, she politely informed the nurse that there was a horse dancing on her stomach, and she’d very much like it to stop please. Oh, and she also briefly thought there was two of me: THANK GOD that didn’t turn out to be true, huh?
Because of that, I have no idea who the first person was to hold me when I came into the world, but that’s my gran (my mum’s mum) doing the honours in this photo. My gran is the person I inherited my red hair from (hers is dyed in this photo, but was the same colour as mine when she was younger), and one of the first things my mum said to my dad when he was finally allowed to see me was that he must phone my gran and tell her I had red hair. My gran was thrilled to have another redhead in the family, but confided years later that she’d been worried that my parents would be disappointed – such is the strength of anti-“ginger” feeling here in the UK!
Luckily for me, however, my parents were also thrilled with both me and my hair, which was good, because that could’ve been awkward otherwise, no? I mean, it’s not like they could’ve sent me back, is it? This photo, as I said, was taken a few days after I got out hospital, and I basically look like a burrito in it, but hey – at least it exists, and I thought I’d share it with you today, as the start of a ‘throwback’ series where I’ll go through all of those photo albums, and tell you some of the stories that they contain. Also, I GUESS you could say this is my very first outfit photo: well, I couldn’t not show you THAT, could I?!
P.S. On the subject of nostalgia, the first extract from my childhood diaries is now up, and you can find it here: remember, these posts don’t go onto the home page, or appear in the RSS feed for the site, so if you want to be notified when each extract is published (and get a bunch of bonus, not-on-the-blog extras, besides), you can sign up for my Secret Diary mailing list, below: