In my little corner of England, summer has swept in and is dazzling us with plenty of sunshine. Monday was hot and still, one of the hottest days that I can remember. I was working from home during the day, and sat with my feet in a bucket of cold water, just to keep cool enough to concentrate on my work.
In heat like this, it is hard even to sleep. The nights seem slightly restless, and even when you do finally doze off, there is a part of you that seems to stay awake, murmuring gently and slightly plaintively that it is so, so hot. When it is time to get up, our radio switches on to the Today programme on Radio 4, and it seems that rather than wake up straight away, I slowly become conscious of listening to the news, and then realising I must be awake.
So it was Monday morning. And one of the first things I heard, was the news that there had been so much speculation about – that the Duchess of Cambridge had gone to hospital to have her baby. During the day, from time to time, I checked the news, but nothing. And then, in the early evening, we left to visit a friend, where we had the most magical evening, and delicious dinner imaginable.
We sat in her courtyard garden at the back of her lovely little cottage, surrounded by sweet peas and blooming plants. Her husband-to-be lit tiny tealights which glimmered away as the gloaming slipped quietly into the twilight, and then they cooked us dinner. They made paella, in a paella pan, on a little camp stove, right in the middle of the table. It was such a relaxed and delightful way to have dinner cooked – we all took it in turns to stir from time to time, and it was just heavenly and relaxing.
We normally see each other quite often, but as we get nearer and nearer to their wedding, understandably they have more demands on their time – and so we chatted and chatted and chatted, until a fat drop of rain splashed down, and heralded more to come. So we hurried and scurried and swept everything inside, and then sat down with a cup of tea. All of a sudden, we remembered that we hadn’t checked the news for ages – and so Carl did – and we heard that Prince George Alexander Louis had been born late in the afternoon.
I remember being at secondary school, when apartheid ended with the election of Nelson Mandela as president – and one of my teachers saying ‘you will always remember where you were when you heard this news’. This is the first time an heir to the throne has been born while I have been old enough to be aware of it (there are a few months difference in age between me and Prince William) which feels quite momentous – and as if that perfect, magical evening spent with friends wasn’t enough, I will always remember it for the extra reason, that it is where I was when I heard that the new baby Prince had been born.