Tag Archives: babies

1864. An unsolved murder

The murder of Octavius Snickenbough was in all the papers. It was in all the papers not because it was a murder (goodness knows, murders are so common these days they could hardly be considered newsworthy) but because of who Octavius Snickenbough was.

Octavius Snickenbough was the local vicar who, despite having being married to a lovely wife for many a year, had singlehandedly fathered three children on the one night, all born in the same local maternity hospital on the same day, and all registered by different mothers with the information on the father recorded as “Octavius Snickenbough, Vicar”.

It had turned Octavius overnight, on the one hand, into a folk hero, and on the other hand, into a fiend. And now, several weeks after the births his body was discovered lying murdered in the sands of the local beach. The beach was in a sheltered bay and most popular over the summer months. The sand was a mass of hundreds of footprints going in all directions, so the murderer’s footprints going to and from the body were indecipherable.

Clearly, Octavius Snickenbough had been chopped to death by a tomahawk. In fact, it was patently obvious because a tomahawk, the kind used to split firewood kindling, was still protruding from the crown of his head.

Naturally, the three mothers of the three new-borns were questioned by the police, as indeed was Octavius’s wife. None could offer any information that caste the slightest light on the situation.

This all happened several months ago, and the police are no closer to solving the mystery and making an arrest. The closed beach has subsequently reopened, and parishioners seem to rejoice in the appointment of the new vicar whose homilies are considerably shorter than those once offered by the late Reverend Octavius Snickenbough. Rather fortuitously, the new vicar has his own house, so Mrs. Snickenbough is more than welcome to continue to live in the old vicarage. After all, why should it remain empty when it is warm and welcoming, and suitable enough for a lone widow to live comfortably? The potbellied stove in the kitchen is a little old-fashioned but Mrs. Snickenbough doesn’t mind that – once she gets a new tomahawk to split the kindling.

1812. It’s so rewarding

Gabrielle was forever having babies. She would disappear for a time and return with a baby; perhaps three or four times a year. She would then, with a great deal of pain and for quite a sturdy envelope of bank notes, hand the baby over to the adopting couple.

She had managed twenty to thirty babies over the five years since she started having them. Those adopting thought she was the real mother. Officially she worked for the Central American Children’s Foundation. This charitable body was responsible for getting babies with a “condition” – usually a heart condition – and taking the baby for a time to have heart treatment in a more sophisticated country.

“Of course,” said Gabrielle to the personable person next to her in the plane, “we don’t let the parents come. They don’t understand. The first thing they would do if they were in the hospital would be to pull the tubes out of their poor baby. That’s why I’m travelling alone on this plane with the baby but without the parents. When the baby is well we return it to its parents.”

Upon arrival in the more sophisticated country the baby would miraculously get better, and the adopting parents would gratefully hand Gabrielle a tidy sum. Thus far, Gabrielle had helped babies “get a better life” from seven different countries.

“It’s so rewarding being able to help people in this way,” said Gabrielle.

1807. A long tall yarn

George and Christopher were best friends. They both had unusual pets. The exciting news was that both pets were about to have babies!

The two had a bet as to which would give birth first. For a while they were neck and neck, but in the end George’s anteater beat Christopher’s giraffe by a nose.

957. An unsolved mystery

957chickens

Irwin was all of four and lived on a farm. He knew that a baby lamb came out of its mother’s bottom. He’d seen it. And baby calves. So when his mother said that the hen sitting on eggs was going to hatch out babies today or tomorrow, Irwin was excited. He knew that baby chickens hatched out of eggs.

He went to the chick coop and peered at the hen sitting on eight eggs. He knew the chickens would come out of her bottom, but how did she put her babies into the eggs for them to hatch?

Irwin waited all day, and nothing happened. He didn’t see a single chicken come out of the hen’s bottom, let alone see her hide it in an egg.

The next morning the hen had eight baby chickens. He’d missed it. How the hen did it was anyone’s guess. The mystery was unsolved.

831. A lot of people…

831cambodia

Of course a lot of people don’t know how to part their hair in the right place. There are a lot of people who simply part their hair where they feel like it, but the head has a natural part. If you part your hair in the natural place, you look a lot younger.

My husband is bald, so he wouldn’t know where to part his hair. We came out from Cambodia over thirty years ago. I said to my husband then, that we have absolutely no relatives here, not even a solitary old auntie, so we’d better start making babies so that we have some relatives. So that’s what we did. We made three babies, and then I got a job in Johnsonville while the smallest was still small.

I’m not a grandmother yet, but the oldest boy is twenty-eight now. He had a girlfriend but when he broke up with her it broke his heart and now he’ll have nothing to do with girls. My husband and I, ours was an arranged marriage. I said to my son, there’s lots of relatives overseas who will find a pretty Cambodian girl for you to marry. Then you can start making babies. But he’s more into not doing that. He says he’ll find someone when he’s ready. But he’s not going to get back his girlfriend because she already married somebody else. I said you go online and find a girl on Twitter or something, but he won’t do that.

After Johnsonville I got another job in Wellington, but it didn’t pay as well, and I had to travel there and back. There was no time for the garden. I like my garden very much. So I said to the boss that I would work only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that’s what I do.

Anyway, that’s your haircut finished. Just pay as you leave.

715. Not much of a cook

715betty

Betty and Morris were a little old-fashioned when it came to marriage. They hadn’t lived together before the wedding, and they’d tried “to wait” with moderate success.

Betty knew she wasn’t much of a cook. Morris said he didn’t mind. It didn’t matter. Betty’s mother was a fabulous cook. She tried to teach Betty, but Betty wasn’t a natural.

For their first meal home together after the honeymoon, Betty cooked a simple cauliflower soup. She knew it was too salty, but Morris said it was “lovely, Honey” and gave her a kiss.

The next evening Betty made a shepherd’s pie. It was sort of average; a little bland really. It was about the level that Betty could safely manage. She did the cooking because she didn’t have a job, and Morris worked long hours and brought home the money. Besides, Betty was now expecting their first baby.

Then one day Betty was cleaning out the car and found a couple of old takeaway cartons stuffed under the front seat. He’d been getting takeaways. She thought she’d been doing okay, and now he was getting takeaways.

Betty didn’t say anything, of course, but she was worried sick. I mean, she just had to learn to cook better. She just did. Even when she made a salad it was pretty ho-hum. Betty was getting stressed about it. Quite stressed, and then she had the baby and Morris was absolutely over the moon and things were fine for a while.

Then Betty found a job. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to keep the wolf from the door. Morris at last could cut back on the hours he worked.

Betty thought it was out of this world. From then on Morris did the cooking. He was a fantastic cook.

“You did well, Honey, really well,” he said. “So now you can stop stressing out about it.”

To celebrate, Morris cooked roasted turkey with black-truffle butter and cognac gravy, accompanied by mushroom, leek, and brioche stuffing with green beans, shallots, hazelnuts, and tarragon. For dessert they had a simple chocolate caramel tart, all washed down with a Rosemount Diamond Label Sauvignon Blanc 2014. And after that…

Betty is expecting her second.

512. All babies are adorable

512baby

All babies are adorable, but Dion absolutely adored this one. He fed and played with it meticulously. A bit like a solo dad; a surrogate dad anyway. All responsibility for care somehow seemed to have gone to him.

The mother had been killed by a car soon after giving birth. It was a poignant reminder to Dion of the fragility of life. The life of the mother continued in some way in the life of her baby.

Besides, Dion had always wanted a pet cat.