I thought I’d give you a little insight into Wedding Bells for Nurse Connie by interview Sister Connie Byrne. It’s 8am in the morning and I’m going to have a few words with her as she chains her bicycle up in the backyard of Fry House.
Me: ‘Good morning, Sister Byrne, can you tell me what you’ve been up to this fine morning?
Nurse Connie. ‘What I’m usually up to when the phone goes at 3am in the morning: delivering a baby.
Me: ‘Boy or a girl?’
Nurse Connie: ‘A boy. Seven pound nine ounces and was my first.’
Me: ‘Your first?’
Nurse Connie: ‘ NHS baby.’
Me: ‘Of course, it’s the 5th July and the new health service starts today.
Nurse Connie: ‘It started at midnight last night so the Sinclairs weren’t charge 10/- for my services to see Master Sinclair safely into the world.’
Me: ‘So you’re in favour of the new health system?’
Nurse Connie. ‘I certainly am. I’m sure there isn’t a district nurse or midwife in the land who doesn’t hate charging a desperate mother with a poorly child for a visit or taking the last few coppers from an elderly person who need a bit of help to the toilet. And I for one won’t be sorry that from today I can throw my weekly collection book in the bin.
Me: ‘You mentioned a safe delivery before so as Spitalfields hasn’t got the nicest of reputations aren’t you concerned for your safely cycling alone around the streets in the wee small hours?
Nurse Connie. ‘Not at all. I’m a local girl and have known theses streets all my life and in fact, in my uniform I feel safer than at any other time. One of the nicest things about being a District Nurse is people have a great deal of affection for us. More than once I’ve come back to my bike after visiting a patient and found a bun or a couple of oranges wrapped in a paper bag have been slipped into my basket so I feel very safe riding around the patch at any time.
Me: ‘Of course but before you go can you tell me what Nurse Connie does in her spare time?’
Nurse Connie. ‘As I said I’m local so I visit my mum and family at least once or twice a week and then Malcolm and I usually go to the pictures on a Tuesday and—’
Nurse Connie: ‘Malcolm Henstock. We’ve been courting for about two years and—’
Me: ‘Two year! So there must be wedding bells on the horizon.’
Nurse Connie: ‘Yes…No.. .I mean I expect there will be at some point but as Malcolm says; marriage isn’t something we should rush into. Anyhow, we have the world and his wife descending on the clinic in a few hours for the official opening of the NHS so although it’s lovely talking to you I really have to get on.’
Me: ‘Of course and thank you for your time. And good luck with the NHS and Malcolm.’