33 Years Ago Yesterday…

Without knowing it I became a father aged 25 while living in London, now I hasten to add this wasn’t a result of me blindly “sowing my seed” so to speak…  In fact on the 27th February 1984 at 10.50am Debbie gave birth to David Alexander, known to everyone as Alex, in Merthyr Tydfil General hospital in Wales from her first marriage.

At the time I was blissfully unaware of this momentous occurrence in my life and as yet unmarried even for the first time!  Debbie usually describes giving birth “like passing a football”, but on this occasion it must have been super sized as Alex had to be delivered using forceps which resulted in various indescribable stitches and her sitting on a rubber ring in hospital.  Ouch!

Proud (if sore) mam!

I first met Alex on Saturday the 16th December 1989 as I walked through the door of Debbie’s house in Mount Pleasant, accompanied by Nana & Popsy who were on baby sitting duties that night, while Debbie and I went out for our blind date in Llanfrynach.

My first impressions of Alex centred largely on a quiff he had in his hair at the front that appeared to be gelled back.  The other things I noticed were a mischievous grin coupled with a very strong & high pitched Welsh accent.  He was also bouncing around the sofa in between Nana & Pops laughing at his mother struggling to get ready.

Now at the time although I’d seen Debbie on a video of a children’s party with his younger brother  James Francis (D.O.B. 20th November 1987 of whom I shall write about later this year!) I’d thought it was Alex so it came as quite a shock to see two little ones running around the living room together.

For now though, let me return to the story and after a very successful evening in Llanfrynach, Debbie’s parents were taken back home in my Sierra by the friends that introduced us & chaperoned us during the meal, namely Rose & Paul.

On their return to collect me, Debbie mutually decided I should not go back with them, but that I should stay the night!  I pleased to report to those with a moral conscience that after a long talk together I stayed tucked up in a makeshift bed downstairs in the living room while she remained upstairs with the children…

I woke up alone & confused at around 6am the following morning to the worrying loud sounds of hammers on metal and flashing lights and immediately thought I was a dead man.  Fortunately it transpired that it was a group of workman working on the single track railway before the first train early on Sunday morning and so after a bit my heart rate returned to near normal.

After dozing a little more in rather troubled sleep I awoke to Debbie making me breakfast and a five year old Alex wanting to watch a film sitting next to me, with a 2 year old James fast asleep upstairs in his cot.  Given Alex’s age I grimaced at the prospect of watching Huxley Pig perhaps, but warming to the little chap’s excitement I nodded acceptance.

With a wide smile Alex then recovered a VHS tape recording, borrowed from the local mobile library, not of some children’s cartoon but of an 18 certificate copy of Arnold Schwartzenegger‘s 1985 Terminator film!  Now being of rather faint heart I’d not seen the film before, but it transpired that Alex new it by heart, scene by scene.

He proceeded to tell me in gory detail with his strong Welsh accent things like “watch this bit, he’s going to cut open his eye with a scalpel and remove it” which heightened the horrific anticipation greatly for me and made me question somewhat Debbie’s parenting skills.

Feeling rather traumatised after the early morning railway maintenance works followed by a cyborg assassin some may have thought that this would have spelled the end of any romance but as you all know dear readers this author is made of stronger stuff!

Well, of course they say a photo tells a thousand words, so please find a selection of Alex’s photos ranging from his Christening, to riding his first bike, meeting Richard Branson, going on his first school trip to France, celebrating his eighteenth birthday in Charlie’s Steak house in Florida and finally graduating from Royal Holloway!

Nana & Popsy at the Christening in Merthyr Vale July 1985
Nana & Popsy’s garden 44 Brynteg Terrace in July 1988
En route to Le Touquet Year 7 School trip with Emma & James looking jealous
July 1997 at the Virgin Group party 
27th February 2002 Alex’s 18th 
Alex graduating in 2005, yes I know, that’s me taking the photo! 🙂

All these years later I can honestly say it’s been an absolute pleasure watching Alex growing up from that little boy with a quiff, to the very grown up 33 year old that marries Emily later next month and both Debbie & I are very proud of him!

Oh and by the way, Debbie’s choice of DVDs nowadays is very different, “Houseboat” anyone? 🙂

33 Years Ago Yesterday…

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