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Me and My 'Cardiff High School for Boys' site
" Swinging! "
My Life in Pictures: The first 30 years
My Cardiff High School Reports
My Postcards Page
" I've been everywhere, man! "
Me and my Music page
My 'Pearls of Wisdom'
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As you can see, I had not yet acquired my passion for nude sunbathing, although I seem to be half-way there at this stage!
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New arrivals.
There is something very precious in this photo. Can you guess what? Well, see that pram at the extreme right? Guess what's in there. One, or both, of my recently newly born twin sisters! And what a shock their arrival was for the rest of us!
I was about thirteen-and-a-half when my dad took me to one side one day and told me my mum was "expecting".
" Expecting what? " I asked him, completely puzzled.
I knew my mum did a 'club' where she ordered presents for Christmas from a mail order company on the 'never-never'. Perhaps what she was "expecting" was a brand-new, shiny-red bicycle for me! But apparently not. My dad told me that what my mum was "expecting" was - a baby!
" A what?! " I exclaimed.
A baby?...
Oh er...
It was only a few weeks earlier that the mysteries of human sexual reproduction had at last been explained to me by another boy at Cardiff High School (thanks, Roger!) and I must confess at the time I was a bit sceptical about the mechanics of it, and was even more so now!  What did my mum and dad have to go and do a thing like that for? We were happy enough with just the four of us - me, my brother and my two sisters, and my mum at this stage was getting on a bit.
Well anyway, there was no use crying over spilt milk (I can't believe I just wrote that!) and as my then youngest sibling was only a couple of years younger than me, for the first time in my life this was a pregnancy I was going to remember and I was going to have a ringside seat to observe it!
One of the first things I found out first hand was that babies did indeed grow in the mother's tummy, as I watched my mum balloon over the next few months. In fact, we soon found out why she became so big - she was expecting twins!
My mum devised a sort of 'party' trick at this time, when, collapsing into an armchair by the fire to eat her tea off a tray, she would rest it on her 'paunch' when she had finished and say to me, "Let's see if we can see them moving about, Raymond" and before long, one end of this now empty tray would start to bounce up and down on her belly, quite high and violently too, seemingly under its own power! Fascinating.
As to how the babies were going to 'come out', well, I already knew that, didn't I? They wheeled the lady into the operating theatre on a trolley, then a nice doctor put the mask over her face, put her to sleep, cut the tummy open and lifted the baby out. Of course they did. I'd seen it on the telly a couple of years earlier hadn't I?  'Your Life in Their Hands.' Remember?
Oh dear - the only occasion when my parents dared attempt to give me some formal sex education, albeit through an inanimate third party, had completely misfired, and it was up to my long-suffering elder sister to put me right on that score subsequently!
Came the day, well, early morning actually, as I heard a lot of unexpected activity in the house about 2 am, with the front door shutting and a car moving off not long afterwards. Two healthy little girls, just over 4 lbs each, were subsequently duly delivered without much delay in St David's hospital.
Mindblowing squared!
"Do you want to hold one of them, Raymond?" asked my mum. Schoolboy protocol demanded I protest and express reluctance, but my mum knew it was all a pretence, and I was secretly thrilled to bits at the prospect. 
My mum edged towards me, passing one of my new sisters in my direction. I opened my arms as she placed her gently in my lap, carefully demonstrating how I needed to cradle the back of her head properly. As I did so, with one final check that everything was OK, my mum pulled away her arms. This new little sister was all mine now!
Bloody hell!...
I gazed down at this small soft warm bundle, now moving about a bit as I held her in my arms - so fragile, so vulnerable, so precious, with a screwed up face and tiny purple feet. I'd never held a new-born baby before, or kissed one either. Mind-blowing! Better than riding a shiny-new red bicycle any day of the week!
Pity nobody photographed us at the time.
Since then, I've heard that many of my former schoolmates have had kids of their own, so no doubt they have been able to have similar experiences, only this time with their own kids. Well, I've never had that experience myself, but I bet holding your own newly born son or daughter in your arms for the first time must be mindblowing squared, eh lads?!!
That night I did something in bed I hadn't done for ages, and if truth be told, was never to do again. I said my prayers. I thanked God for looking after my mum, and asked Him to watch over my two new little sisters and protect them from harm and... No, please. Don't laugh! It was a simpler, more na´ve age then, and I was only just fourteen, which in those more innocent days was quite young. Well anyway, I don't care what you think. I loved them to bits (still do!) and the way I was feeling I'd have talked to the 'Man in the Moon'!
I have to admit I was a bit disappointed I wouldn't be having a new baby brother to play with, but that didn't last long. Mind you, I was glad I was spared the aftercare arrangements - with two other sisters both able and very willing to 'muck in', there was no need to get me involved, and the new arrivals were girls after all. (Fifty years old and never changed a nappy. Is that something to boast about, or to be ashamed of?). I also remember a tin bucket being almost permanently on the boil on the kitchen stove over the next year or so, as these were the days before disposable nappies. You modern women don't know how lucky you are!
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