Chapter 20: Penny – July 1976

Simon James Donaldson arrived in the early hours of February 12th 1976 screaming lustily. Penny had endured twenty hours in labour but with the sight of her new born son the pain was immediately forgotten.  She fell in love again completely and unequivocally; the child was the centre of her universe.  From the point of view of her friends she was lost to them in a world of feeds and nappies, naps and feeds, soft toys and baby grows, many of which were dispatched by them as presents for the baby.

The Christening was to be on Saturday 17th July.  Penny and Charles had a long discussion about godparents for their first-born.  Penny wanted all her old friends as she didn’t want to offend anyone and couldn’t choose between them, and she also wanted Jo.  Charles thought that Jo should be godmother as she lived with them and was actively involved with the baby, although he could see Penny’s point that Jo was already an Aunt.  He thought he would ask Martin, his best man to be one godfather but wasn’t sure about the other.

‘Wouldn’t you want Dylan to be the other?’ asked Penny, surprised that his choice hadn’t been instant.

‘I’m not sure that Dylan would be that suitable for the role’ responded Charles.  He was very fond of his oldest friend but he had concerns about Dylan’s lifestyle that he kept to himself.  Penny digested this information before declaring diplomatically,

‘I think that you will provide the spiritual guidance for our son darling, and Martin would be a good back up.  Dylan could play the role of the hedonistic godfather.’

‘That was rather the point I was trying to make about his non-suitability’ remarked Charles, with a wry smile, ‘Anyway I’m not sure that he would accept.  He doesn’t like responsibilities.’

The decision was made eventually to have a big family party with a marquee out on the lawn so that they could mark their second wedding anniversary at the same time.  All friends would be invited and told to form an orderly queue for god parenting of the tribe they hoped to produce.  Simon’s chosen ones would be Martin and Daniel, Jo and Suzanne, two family members and two friends.  They were all delighted to accept and contrary to Penny’s worries no one left out was even slightly offended.

1976 was one of the hottest summers since records began and the day of the Christening was no exception.  Simon behaved impeccably sleeping through the whole service until Charles baptised his son whence he opened his eyes and smiled beatifically and toothlessly at his father.

Local friends and parishioners had erected the marquee, which proved to be useful as a sunshade in the scorching heat.   Many of them had also rallied around to produce bowls of salads, cakes and puddings to supplement the almost constant few days of food preparation that Penny had done.  Jane had prepared a whole poached salmon that provided a striking centrepiece to the impressive array.  Penny’s parents had arrived bearing gifts in the form of cases of champagne, which had totally taken over space in the fridge.

The women were almost all attired in maxi dresses and sandals, the fashion of the day coinciding exactly with the requirements of the weather for once.  The fine cotton and silk fabrics being wonderfully cool to wear.  After the formality of the church service was over the men had removed jackets and ties with a sigh of relief.  Most were now in suit trousers and open neck shirts with the sleeves rolled up.

Everyone cooed over the baby admiring his soft downy head and big blue eyes, attributing his various features to one parent or the other, or Auntie Jo or Uncle Daniel or Auntie Agnes or one or other of the grandparents.  The three friends gathered around Penny and took turns holding Simon as they chatted with her.  They reminisced about her wedding two years earlier, complimented her on the garden, the food, her dress, the house and most of all her pride and joy, her son.

In her turn Penny admired her friend’s outfits and wanted to know all their news.   Rebecca was pleased with the way that Palmerstone was doing and made it known that she was planning to open another shop, but probably not until next spring she qualified.  There followed much excited speculation about where the shop would be and what would she stock, would it be the same or dramatically different.  Rebecca, laughing would not be drawn on either, as she had not yet finalised her plans.

She was certainly an excellent advertisement for her business dressed in a fine cotton lawn maxi in pale pinks and mauves in a paisley pattern.  The bib style bodice and hem slightly quilted to give weight.  Here the pattern and colour intensified to deep pinks and purples, echoed in the ribbon ties from the bodice, wrapped and tied loosely at the back emphasising her slim figure.  She had not been unaware when she selected the dress that her body was visible through the fabric in certain light.  In fact she had thought that if Dylan was at the Christening he could take a look at what he was missing because he was not going to get anywhere near her this time.

Suzanne reported progress on her father’s recovery and on their plans to purchase in London.  She had found a house in Pimlico which could easily suit their purposes as it would divide quite easily into self contained parts for privacy but could also provide them with a large, light living space to share.  It looked like the Oxford house had been sold so they were planning to make an offer.

Caitlin was full of parties, theatres, opening nights and weekends in the country.  She was never short of invitations and was still finding her London lifestyle amusing.  Her big news was that she was expecting to have a half brother or sister any day soon.  Her father had married Ariel in the September of 1974, not long after she and Caitlin had first met.  They were now expecting their first child.

‘That’s really strange’ remarked Penny, ‘that I have a child older than your brother or sister.’

‘I know.  If I have children they’ll have an aunt or uncle of about the same age’ said Caitlin, ‘not that I have any imminent plans.’ She hastened to add, as she observed a quizzical look from Rebecca.  ‘Actually I’m really happy for them they are besotted with each other and desperate for the baby’ she said generously, ‘a bit like you two love birds’ she added to Penny.

It was at this point that Dylan arrived very late in the day.  It was impossible for Rebecca to avoid him as she was standing chatting with the hostess for whom he immediately headed expressing profuse apologies and producing an extravagant present for the baby.  He looked suave in a linen suit of a cafe au lait hue, the jacket slung over his shoulder. His face and arms deeply tanned by the sun shown off by a white silk shirt hinting at the well-muscled body beneath.  He greeted each of the girls with a kiss on the cheek, Rebecca steeling herself to be indifferent to him.  As her turn came she lifted her chin and said in her best artificial party tone,

‘Dylan, how nice.’ She presented her cheek for the briefest brush of his lips, and turned away from him engaging a surprised Suzanne in conversation about the Pimlico house, ‘How many storeys are there?  How are you thinking of dividing it?’ she asked, commencing a detailed exchange about floors, kitchen and bathrooms, necessary plumbing, refurbishment and decor.

Dylan moved to greet Charles and having apologised for his lateness and congratulated him apologised again that he had to leave.  No sooner said he was gone, a scrunch of tyres on the gravel and a roar of exhaust announcing his departure.

The rest of the day was uneventful and enjoyable.  Locals disappeared towards the end of the afternoon leaving family and overnight guests to clear up the debris and repair to the kitchen for cheese and wine or cups of tea for the fainthearted.

Later, lying propped up in bed having fed the baby and put him down to sleep, Penny chatted happily to Charles about the events of the day.  She loved nothing better than a house full of people, especially all of her favourite ones.  Charles finished his ablutions and approached the bed attired only in his socks and dog collar.  He waved his semi erect penis with his hand as he approached the bed with a certain look in his eye.  She shook with half suppressed giggles as he mounted the bed announcing his intention to claim his conjugal rights.

‘Time we made another baby Mrs Donaldson’ he fell on Penny and they lay together giggling happily.  Then with a well practiced manoevour he entered her and their bodies moved rhythmically together in the intense bliss of sexual compatibility, slowly and gently Charles rode Penny until she came in gasps of pleasure, only then did he allow himself to ejaculate with a groan of relief.  They would like another baby soon but neither minded practising!

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