Our Kid

Christian June 1989On a morning in late September 1973, my blue-eyed boy was born… Chris didn’t have an easy entry to the world. He had been ‘turned’ several times during my pregnancy and was born with the umbilical cord around his neck.  The sweet midwife worked hard to get him to breathe and I watched through a haze as his little face started to change colour.

“What’s his name?” she asked, “I have to christen him!”

The student midwife, who was helping, ran out of the room and never came back.  It was all I could muster in response to the word ‘christen’ to say quietly, ‘Christian’. And so it was that Our Kid got his name, although his family name is Prune, following from his wrinkled little face after the ordeal of taking a breath. It was the doctor who confirmed he was breathing after mouth-to-mouth and early exercises for the wee man.  How and I  breathed a sigh of relief too.

Dom came home from school to find his brother had moved in. Their life together had started.Dom holding ChristianChristian at one day old with Leigh Sept 27th 1973 Ellesmere Port

I think. on the whole, it has been a happy life they shared.

Here’s your big sister Ria holding you on one of our visits to your Nana and Grandi Claydon in Great Barford.Ria with Christi

And here you are, forty-two years ago, rehearsing the nautical theme for Chow and Julie’s wedding…Christian Claydon 1974 Ellesmere Port

And here’s your big brother Dom holding on to you, with your elephant matching his socks. He still holds on. Domi with Christi

I wonder if you remember when we moved from Ellesmere Port to Middleton, with Duch, the black Labrador? Mischa the cat wasn’t too happy and decided to run away as soon as I opened the boot.

It was a new place and a time to explore the lovely places around Manchester – like Malham Cove.


My beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture

I was terrified on the top with my two fearless boys!

My beautiful picture

You were only eight but you settled  and seemed to like your new school. You were never one who needed to be told twice – and if I told you off for something, tears would well up in your blue eyes so I could never be cross for long.

Christian Claydon 8 yrs 1981 Middleton

Your favourite position on the football field was goalkeeper and the more mud the better! Sometimes we’d have a visit from Cookie down the hill from Oldham – always a happy time!Christian Claydon Whinfell Drive Manchester 1981

You spent hours with John and Dom preparing the flowers for Ria’s marriage to Keith. A happy time with music and your big brother home. On the day you were the official distributor…Christian and Leigh 1986 Oldham

When Hinnie was born, you came into our bedroom with Amy – your sister, eight months old, steadying her as she tried her early steps. Sisters around you can only be a good thing…

The guitar became your great comforter – and later you were to learn how to make one for yourself – and a mandolin.

Chris Wellington Rd 1995Chris and Dom, 1988

We all piled off down to London to march against the invasion of Iraq – and then we did it again in Manchester, meeting Dom on the way in Piccadilly. Hin and Chris waiting for Dom Piccadilly March 2003

Or we’d all pile off to London to see Dom in an opera in Covent Garden – with careful preparations all round and Susan walking back barefoot.Christi doing Hin's hair Ria Susan London 2006 Leigh Ria Susan Chris Marcus John London 2006

And so to your own marriage to Susan in August 2010. Dom was dead chuffed when you asked him to read a passage for you both. Susan, your bride, was  beautiful and we’d all had a hand in the flowers again! You were both so happy and we share in the glow of your love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARia, Dom, Chris, Choe, Nell, Hinnie 2010

You built your happy home for your three children and your beautiful grandson.

Then you lost Dom to cancer the following year, having helped care for him all through 2011. Grief challenged you with new adjustments and you rose to it.

“D’you think Our Kid will call in this evening?” Dom would ask me… always looking forward to seeing you in your work clothes after a heavy day on the construction of Manchester’s Metro! (They should put your name on all the trams!) Your shared language was  beautiful and mysterious: a language full of secrets and playfulness and always intent on laughter. It was a language which had grown from birth, filling a gaping hole in Dom’s life and one which sustained him in his last days. Now I know that he lives on in you.



As Oscar Wilde’s Selfish Giant would say, ‘There are many beautiful flowers in my garden, but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all’.

Our children are our blessings.

Thank you for reminding me to place my bet last Saturday for the Grand National Chris. My horse, Rogue Angel, tried so hard up to the last fence. ‘Bloody hell”, I thought, “I’m in for a £160 win here – and £80 for Our Kid.”

Here’s your song, my beautiful boy …

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My dear readers, I live in Manchester, England and would like to share my thoughts of significant people, places and events in my life through this blog. I'm growing old disgracefully in my 74th year, living in a bubble of love blown by my precious friends and family and floating about like Johnnie McGory.

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