It was a cold and frosty morn….

This is ‘our big girl’ – born in Norwich (Norfolk England) early February 1963
a bitter day in the middle of what has been called The Big Freeze of 1963. 

And this is ‘our little girl’ who came along later the next year whilst we were living in Singapore.  The hot humid climate suited us all much better lol 

Anyway Our Big Girl won’t be happy if she found out I told you how old she was – but what her birthdate also means is that that like most babies born at that time (and previously) in England she was born at home.

Yes, after The Golfer rang her from the phone box at the corner of the street a midwife (very precariously because of the icy roads) came round on her bicycle and delivered our big girl right there in the comfort of our bedroom..

We laugh about it now, but because the bedroom wasn’t exactly the warmest room in the house (slight understatement) she slept in a huge drawer taken from the bottom of a big wardrobe similar to this one.


It was laid on a couple of chairs beside our bed, with the high sides protecting her, she was cosy and warm and out of any draughts – and there certainly were plenty of those in that old house.

How we survived that winter is still a mystery to me. Snow on the ground…two little ones……tiny coal fires (definitely no central heating). The house In Clarence Road was up behind the station, The Golfer was stationed at Coltishall so needed the car, which meant for me it was a walk into town for groceries and back up the hill with a pram loaded with babes and food. Certainly no taxis for us in those days!

Recently I’ve been rewatching the BBC series Call the Midwife – and even though the series was set in a place very different (both in location as well as the mix of people) to where we lived, it certainly brought back some memories of the system used ….like weighing newborns this way ….in a nappy on a hanging scale


I know it was a huge hit in UK as well as here (shown on ABC) and I believe it’s shown on PBS in the USA.  Does anyone else keep watching it?









I thought I still had a copy of Jennifer Worth’s book Call the Midwife (first book in her memoir trilogy) on the shelf but it’s nowhere to be found. Shame as I was going to reread it, probably moved it on in one of my ‘clearing out frenzies’.

I’m not sure about you but I find it hard to know whether to read a book first and then see what is offered as an adaptation on the screen (tv or cinema) or do it the other way round. See the adaptation and then read to find out what the original ‘idea’ was all about.  Often description in books never seems to get onto the screen and yet sometimes the visuals can turn out much better than the written word.

There are good points whichever way – how do others feel, which way do you prefer?

30 thoughts on “It was a cold and frosty morn….

      1. Hello Charlotte. I know I watched Brideshead Revisited a long time ago – I don’t remember much about it apart from being about people with money one of whom carted a teddy bear around with him
        Might be time to find the book and see what I make of it.

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  1. I much prefer to read the book. The film version never lives up to the imagery of the written word and too often the storyline is changed when the book is adapted for filming.

    I’ve never watched Call the Midwife!

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    1. That’s it Eileen- the words paint a picture and sometimes the filmmakers don’t seem to have seen the same one I’ve seen.
      Leaving a cinema muttering- that’s not the same as the book usually wins me a little lecture on producers and directors licence. Those with the money win!

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  2. When the series started on PBS I just got all three books and solved my dilemma. I’m finally watching the series on Netflix. I’m waiting for the midwife getting on the ship.

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    1. It was the first series I watched Joanne. Think the baby being born on the ship is in the second. I was lent a boxed set so am hoping the one who lent it to me has the next one so I can watch in order.

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  3. With a book i can make my own pictures…I prefer that to a film where the images are made for me…let alone the plot changesI lived in Norfolk for a while and knew RAF Coltishall…and can picture where you lived in Norwich…what a nightmare getting uop that hill in that winter!

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    1. We think fondly of that house Helen. It was our first after being married so has lots of memories….of being cold one of them. And (If The Golfer was not there) trying to stop people parking outside on a Saturday when there was a game at the football ground just down the road…..or he had to try and find a spot miles away until the game was over.

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      1. I used to make a note never to visit Norwich on a home match Saturday…police all over the station and the opposing supportes singing ‘I can’t read and I can’t write but I can drive a tractor’…and then the carnage in the Prince of Wales Road afterwards…

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  4. I have watched most of the Call The Midwife seasons, I might have missed a couple of later ones.
    I tend to just read a book or watch a film without thinking of the other format, I often don’t even know there is another format. Despite googling for ages, I can’t remember the name of the first movie I found disappointing after the book. It put me off for ages but I have found out that there are some great adaptations around.
    By the way, babes born at home are still weighed that way!

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    1. Kylie, two not quite right ones for me come to mind easily. The Book Thief wasn’t quite as I imagined it and there were some things in The Guernsey Literary etc etc society that just seemed different.
      Funny but I’ve loved every adaptation of Pride and Prejudice I’ve seen 😊

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  5. I’m always disappointed if I’ve read the book first because so much gets cut and often endings are modified to appeal more to movie goers.
    I haven’t watched “Call the Midwife” – maybe I don’t want to be reminded of my birthing experiences. 🙂

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    1. I’m with you on the leaving bits out and endings that weren’t the same. The ending of The Book Thief seemed different and it annoyed me for ages. I was peeved with myself for taking the book back to library so couldn’t double check 😊

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  6. Hard to not think of Call the Midwife as you described the born of your first daughter. We still watch the series.
    While I’ve not been in a cold climate in winter with snow and ice and days of rain, I really don’t like heat and humidity. I remember reading about the big freeze of 1963.
    Your house looks nice. How about a photo from Street View or similar of it now?
    A couple of times I’ve enjoyed a movie more than the book.

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    1. I know I’m strange Andrew….preferring anything to being cold.
      The house photo was taken when we visited local friends in 1985, I was disappointed when I looked at street view before posting. It’s become very run down and sad looking so thought better of putting a comparison on the blog. Some memories need to be retained the way they were.

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  7. I love this post, Cathy. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.

    I’m both a watcher and a reader. Sometimes the film versions have disappointed; and, sometimes not. Sometimes the filmed version gives a different insight…one that is not disappointing.

    I guess, in the most instances, I will have read the book first…and then, there are the few times, I’ve read the book after seeing the movie or series.

    I love reading..and I love films/series….as long as either versions are good. I love the art of acting…and I greatly admire the talent of those who are able to carry out their craft so brilliantly.

    Likewise…a good writer I also admire.

    Your babies were lovely babies, Cathy. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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    1. Hello Lee
      You certainly are a glass half full person able to see the good in everything!
      Do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired to obtain a book after seeing the story in film or on tv.

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  8. Glad your midwife arrived in time for the birth. Two friends of mine were not that lucky. The midwife arrived after the birth. One baby was born with cerebral palsy because her father did not know how to help with the birthing process and it was a difficult labor.

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  9. Lovely memories of your babes and of TV . I loved the early series of Call the Midwife, but since the book version has finished I have lost interest in the ones written for just TV. I prefer the written version of stories as so much gets left out, still not got over Tom Bombadill not being in Lord of the Rings, and they tend to make characters much better looking in film and there usually has to be an American actor to get something shown in the USA- think Mary Poppins. TV detectives based on books are usually much nicer on the box- Morse was real womaniser and as for Frost he was really seedy in the books. Books over TV and film every time.

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    1. I have to admit to feeling the same way as you over the later episodes. They became almost like a soap opera….the writers looking for weird and wonderful.or unusual events to fill the episodes.
      Books reign forever yeah!

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  10. Loved Call the Midwife. I find that it varies as to whether I enjoy the book or TV/film adaption best, though more often I prefer the book. In the case of Midwife, definitely the TV series. However with Memoirs of a Geisha and The Help, I thought the films a very poor second to the books.

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      1. I read JK Rowling’s (written under name of Robert Galbraith) ‘The Casual Vacancy’ and thought it excellent – such well drawn characters. Then it came on TV and it was awful.

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  11. I’ve heard of the Call The Midwife series, but didn’t realize that it was based on a book.
    Loved reading about your elder daughter’s birth. My paternal grandmother had 15 children all born at home (I did mention we are Catholic!!). I remember my cousin who had the story of the bed her Dad and his siblings were born in wanting to come view the ‘born bed’ as she called it!

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    1. Yes Corinne The author wrote about her experiences as a young midwife in the 1950s East End of London. A eye opener for some younger modern readers who weren’t aware of how life was in the slums. It was written back in 2002, you might be able to find a 2nd hand copy online somewhere.
      Delving into my family’s history has turned up the number of children my gt grandmothers gave birth to – 12 was the norm it seems…..and they weren’t even RC. No birth control or randy husbands ???

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  12. We loved Call the Midwife – always on a Sunday night in UK. That sort of wholesome entertainment that doesn’t challenge you too much as you come to a restful end of the week. It is the one British TV show that we pull out all the stops (even the unlicenced ones) to see here in Greece. It is a bit like the comforting ‘bedtime story’ you don’t want to miss out on.
    On the question book or film? Depends which I encountered first. Having tried and failed to read a Margaret Atwood book, I would never have tried the Handmaids Tale without having seen the TV series – I might give it a go now

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