The strangely translated things my youngest grandson  comes out with sometimes reminded me of the message I took when I was a pupil midwife in the 60s. I was doing the district part of my training in North London and was based in a Midwives hostel where there were four midwives and four pupils. The pupils took it in turn to man the telephone and we also covered for each other if the booked midwife was out on an emergency call.

One afternoon I answered the telephone and received  the message, “Tell Sister K that Minnie is ready for delivery” and then he rang off, no surname or address, and in those days there was no ring back facility!

I rushed down to the office and rustled my way through Sister K’s patients files. No Minnies, no Wilhelmina’s or any other related names.

I called in the help of the other pupils and we went through every file, even those with due dates several months ahead, but drew a blank. There were no mobile phones of course and few of the patients had phones at home, so there was no way of contacting SisterK other than jumping on my bicycle and going to the patient she was attending.

They had just finished the delivery when I arrived hot and sweaty and feeling very agitated as I imagined poor Minnie all alone for her delivery. When I gasped out my message, Sister K first looked puzzled and then burst out laughing, as she explained that it was not Minnie but Mini….her new car which the garage wanted to deliver to her!

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