Tuesday, February 27, 2018

When giving birth was a bride's wartime duty

On a belated birthday pilgrimage to the historic city of Salisbury, I set off to look at places I would have seen as a war-time baby in mother's arms.
That poor lady brought me into the world at a very grim early stage of WW2. Women were
encouraged to give birth at that worrying time, history books tell us, as part of the gender's 'wartime effort'.
She and my father and an older brother were lodged with a lady who was also well pregnant.
My family had lost their house in a bombing raid, and this dispersing of pregnant women to the homes of other expecting mothers seemed to be the practice back then.
Both were told to act as midwife to the other. Hopefully, some training was offered. The house where I happened stands in a very modest part of the city, yet offers a fabulous view right across the Avon valley.

Swapping war images

On pilgrimages, I walk where I imagine my mother took me in a pram as she swapped war images for wonderful views of the gorgeous countryside, only a few hundred metres away.
A footpath leads down to a bridge over the beautiful Avon, with extraordinary pastoral views that seem to belong more to yesteryear.
There are beautiful oaks, a wonderful and large assortment of birds in the hedgerows, a mesmerising view across fields to distant Salisbury Cathedral, fields all around, and plenty of fish in the Avon.
On my mother's walks, it must have seemed a million miles from the war.
People settled in Avon Valley since about 3,000 BC. My baby view would have been across to historic Old Sarum. I climbed up the valley sides a day or two ago and trod where other Moonrakers have stood since ancient times. It left me with a very good feeling.      
Continues on the blogs for my sailing adventure story, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com


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