My brother Daniel David, known as Danny, was born on 20th March 1951 at our home, 6A The Schools, Ashton Road, Shrewsbury. Dr Ryle, our doctor, turned up in place of the midwife, who’d for some reason failed to arrive. He ordered saucepans of water to be boiled on the gas stove, and donned an oilskin cape ready for the delivery. The cape managed to come in contact with an one-bar electric fire in our kitchen, and Dr Ryle suddenly disappeared in flames! Fortunately he was able to beat them out, but forever after I’ve associated birth with flames. At that point our servant (I’m not sure who it was) took Jeremy and me out for a walk, and told us that Danny had been born. I remember seeing him when we got home, and being rather shocked to see how blue he looked, and also far too small to play with! Nevertheless, I spent hours singing him to sleep over the next year or two.

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