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S10.00: Christmas Special 2020

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The annual CTM Christmas special will air on Christmas Day in the UK (on BBC One) and the USA (on PBS - check your local listings), and on 26 December in Australia (on Foxtel's BBC First). Minor spoilers about the plot and cast of the Christmas episode, and about Season 10, here.

Edited by purist
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7 hours ago, purist said:

The annual CTM Christmas special will air on Christmas Day in the UK (on BBC One) and the USA (on PBS - check your local listings), and on 26 December in Australia (on Foxtel's BBC First). Minor spoilers about the plot and cast of the Christmas episode, and about Season 10, here.

Thanks for the "heads up."  I looked at my DVR guide, and it's there!!!!  All set to record.

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On 12/18/2020 at 8:29 AM, AZChristian said:

Thanks for the "heads up."  I looked at my DVR guide, and it's there!!!!  All set to record.

i am so excited! I have already started crying! 

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I thought I had made sure to stack up on everything needed for the holidays. One thing I forgot: box of tissues for the CTM Christmas special. Though I have to say there was also a lot of humor in this one too.

That was lovely and Nurse Crane was literally swinging high and above the rest of the episode. Not sure what I liked more - the circus scene or the spinster dinner without bath cubes. I also loved her little startle when Milicent casually mentioned the spiritualist church LOL! Those two are a great pairing.

Glad to see Sister Julienne's making plans for the future, she's been unusually passive over the past season. She did not have much to do this episode but it looks as if she's been busy behind the scene.

Lucille's getting fiercer and I'm all here for it. And I'm also here for Sister Hilda playing Greek choir to Trixie making her way through a list of eligible bachelors. (Plus we finally got an answer how Trixi managed to have such a well furnished wardrobe.)

Cyril answering the phone had me laughing, so did Sister Monica Joan's reaction. I wonder how long they keep her bed-ridden. I do hope they get her a proper antenna stand, poor Sister Frances (though I had to laugh at her face in that last scene). And the fake-out with the ladder was just cruel.

Give it to Fred to torpedo Shelagh's plans - no way that turkey delivery was a mistake.

Also cruel and funny - the BBC airing a promo for Black Narcissus just after the special 🤣 I think I rather wait for the next season of CTM even if that takes longer than usual. I like my nuns wholesome and not overwrought.

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I saw the beginning and then the very end.  Does anyone know if it will be available tomorrow on any streaming service like Hulu?  I might try Spectrum as well. 

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24 minutes ago, SunnyBeBe said:

Does anyone know if it will be available tomorrow on any streaming service like Hulu?  I might try Spectrum as well. 

It's always available to stream for free on the PBS website as soon as it's done airing and for at least a week after.

18 minutes ago, TomGirl said:

Nurse Crane on the trapeze - priceless.  Beautiful moment!

I loved it! And she has a really nice body under that uniform!

Edited by dargosmydaddy
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2 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

It's always available to stream for free on the PBS website as soon as it's done airing and for at least a week after.

Yes, it is already available on the PBS video site.  It is a treat to have this airing on Christmas night in the States.  I was surprised at the number of American holiday songs—would have expected all to be British.  

3 hours ago, SunnyBeBe said:

I saw the beginning and then the very end.  Does anyone know if it will be available tomorrow on any streaming service like Hulu?  I might try Spectrum as well. 

 

Edited by freddi
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So glad I could watch it on PBS site in the states. I did start last night but by 930 I was snoozing. No disrespect to the show, I was just so tired and watching in bed was not a good idea. I got up to Sr falling and being in the hospital.  I will enjoy it much more now. ; )

Any time frame for the regular show to be back?

 

 

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What a blissful hour and a half, and a perfect way to end Christmas day. 

I noticed that the scenes called for the actors to almost always be several feet from each other, and when they did need to be closer together (as in the childbirth scenes), the nurses wore masks.  So quality TV CAN still be produced with good stories, in spite of Covid.  Thank you, CtM.

As soon as Phyllis drove up to the tent and the ringmaster came out in full regalia, I said to hubby, "He's going to get her on the trapeze."  And as soon as he told her to go to the back room to get ready, I KNEW there was going to be a costume with sequins.  And I laughed and sobbed through the entire scene.

The husband of the woman who had all the miscarriages . . . "Porchey" from "The Crown"!!!  And the scene where she told Shelagh about each one of her lost babies . . . more sobbing.

Well done, Call the Midwife!!!!  Great show.

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8 hours ago, Diana Berry said:

Loved it.

had a good cry with Sheilah saying the names of the children that had passed.

Lucille’s boyfriend is a doll. Can he be cloned?

I lost it at that point. And when she said she has always been a mother. *sob*

That turkey! I needed that laugh! 

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10 hours ago, TomGirl said:

Sister Frances, the human tv antenna!  Made me laugh out loud.

That was me as a child sometimes but I grew tired quickly..."that's it, don't move!" lol

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1 hour ago, AZChristian said:

I noticed that the scenes called for the actors to almost always be several feet from each other, and when they did need to be closer together (as in the childbirth scenes), the nurses wore masks. 

I think there were scenes where the actors were in proximity without masks; I think the masks in the childbirth scenes were so they could use real babies. I noticed that most of the baby shots were very close-up (so the non-midwives holding them-- i.e. their "parents" on the show-- could be wearing masks without being seen... or maybe they even used the babies' actual parents as body doubles), and then when the parents or whoever else were in the shot, the baby couldn't be seen very well and was presumably fake.

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I was brought to tears by her naming and giving her babies the dignity they deserved. Shelagh is a friend I would love to have and a midwife. : )

So many women were treated that way. Articles like this one and many others show how hurt many felt years later. Even on shows like This is Us in the 80's, it bothers me that they made Rebecca not have a funeral for a triplet that died in birth. He was never shown, never talked about really and she never held him or was encouraged to later.

https://www.bbc.com/news/education-51271977

I felt this show had just the right balance of laughs and tears and loved the scenes also with Nurse Crane on the trapeze and her lunch with Miss Higgins. I read some stories on FB from couples or singles that just did what they wanted on Xmas, pizza, strange combos, etc. since they weren't pleasing anyone else. Loved that scene.

Edited by debraran
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Gosh, what a great episode all the way around.  Laughs and tears, darling Reggie, Nurse Crane and Miss Higgins rocking their celebration, Shelagh doing it all so beautifully for the mom.  Buckets of tears!  And smiles and laughs as well.  Poor Trixie!

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3 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

I think the masks in the childbirth scenes were so they could use real babies.

Did anyone else think they might have used the same baby in both childbirth scenes?

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WOW I think this was the best CTM episode for  a  LONG time. And definitely the best Christmas special , and no one died!! There were enough different storylines,  the usual jump-around editing was minimal and scenes were given time for the emotion to come through. Every character got a chance to shine . It was great from start to finish. Its funny, I was thinking wow why are they wearing masks, especially since Shelagh took hers off as soon as the baby was delivered. It didn't occur to me that it was because of COVID protocol so thank you CTM for letting me NOT think about the pandemic for 90 minutes!!!

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I enjoyed it but it just reminded me that I am very much over Sister Monica Joan's shenanigans. I like the actress. I used to enjoy the character. But now pretty much ALL of her plots are "oh shit is she going to get herself killed this time?" It feels so redundant.

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The normalcy of watching the CTM Christmas special left me in tears. I'm one of the few that has never cried watching this show but last night I did. You couldn't even tell they were shooting around CV19.  For one precious hour it was like the world had never changed.

Thank you so much to Heidi Thomas and the whole CTM team!

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This was such a showcase for the character of Shelagh. She got a storyline leveraged her history in such a sweet and organic way. The reference back to the conversation about them bumping into each other while pushing a pram made me feel all warm inside.

This was a nice bit of Phyllis fanservice. I even decided to ignore my questions about how the circus had a perfect fitting outfit for her complete with tights and gold lame shoes. The friendship between Phyllis and Millicent is a joy.

I'm going to miss Valarie but I like the idea of her working at the clinic in South Africa. It's the kind of ending I would've preferred for Barbara and Tom.

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14 minutes ago, marceline said:

I'm going to miss Valarie but I like the idea of her working at the clinic in South Africa. It's the kind of ending I would've preferred for Barbara and Tom.

Is she gone for good?

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8 minutes ago, Dehumidifier said:

Would it really take five, six, maybe more (didn't count) miscarriages  before they put a stitch in the cervix? That part didn't ring true for me.

I'm not a historian, but I wonder whether this procedure would have been covered by the National Health Service in the mid-60s.  It may have been seen as "elective" (not paid for), or the recommendation and performance of the procedure for this episode may have been presented more for dramatic effect than historical reality.

I watched "The Ripper" over the weekend (set in the late 1970s and 1980s), which reflects how a lot of lower- to middle-class people were treated by authorities (like the police) in Great Britain.  Women were second-class citizens.  We saw in this CtM episode how the one doctor (and his students) treated the circus woman as a case study or a teaching tool rather than as a woman who had had a heart attack immediately following childbirth.  As someone who gave birth in that era, I recall similar treatment from doctors.

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2 minutes ago, AZChristian said:

I'm not a historian, but I wonder whether this procedure would have been covered by the National Health Service in the mid-60s.  It may have been seen as "elective" (not paid for), or the recommendation and performance of the procedure for this episode may have been presented more for dramatic effect than historical reality.

I watched "The Ripper" over the weekend (set in the late 1970s and 1980s), which reflects how a lot of lower- to middle-class people were treated by authorities (like the police) in Great Britain.  Women were second-class citizens.  We saw in this CtM episode how the one doctor (and his students) treated the circus woman as a case study or a teaching tool rather than as a woman who had had a heart attack immediately following childbirth.  As someone who gave birth in that era, I recall similar treatment from doctors.

We need poster Doodlebug's input on this topic.

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Oh look, it's the return of Dr. Kenley - the doctor colder than a speculum. I know he's probably tops in his field and he works at a teaching hospital, but every time he makes an appearance I cringe in anticipation of how awful he'll treat the patient of the week. While he wasn't as awful this time as he was with the young woman who was a hermaphrodite (?), he was his usual dismissive jerk to Gloria and Jacquetta. Though, revealing first to his med students that Jacquetta has a failing heart while dismissing her shock and concern at hearing the diagnosis was up there with his usual callous behavior.  

I liked Percival so much - as a father, as a ringmaster, and as a possible love interest for Phyllis. Too bad he's dying of lung cancer. ☹️ I thought he & Phyllis had nice chemistry, and he is certainly far more handsome and has a better attitude than that grumpy old Officer whats-his-name they tried to pair with Phyllis a few seasons ago. The entire circus family was just lovely, but I guess we won't be seeing them again. 

I find it hard to believe Trixie can't find a man on her own and that she needs help from a "marriage bureau". She's always had boyfriends, I don't quite understand why the show is making it seem like suddenly its hard for her to find a one. I guess it's because she's in her 30's now? 

I read all the posts above mine before watching the episode (sue me, I love spoilers) and thought you guys were being over-the-top with the crying...BUT I admit that Gloria & Shelagh made me genuinely tear up. Shelagh can be too prim & proper sometimes (and the way she talks grates) but she was the perfect nurse that Gloria needed to get through her labor; but more importantly the perfect friend to help work through her long-held grief and fear. Man, when Gloria just kept naming her dead babies - 7 total - my heart broke for her. My tears finally fell when Shelagh removed her mask and, through her tears, told Gloria she has been a mother for a long time. 

Valerie was my favorite nurse and I'm gonna miss her. I don't like the way they wrote her out of the show; leaving without saying goodbye to any of her friends is just not like Val, but I guess the show's hands were tied because of certain decisions. But Valerie is not dead, so I guess she could return down the road. 

Sigh. It is just one crisis after another with Sister Monica Joan and it is not entertaining watching her cry and throw tantrums. I wish they would just ship her to the Mother House;  they can check in on her every once in a while without having everyone at Nonnatus House cater to her every need.

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Percival was Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor.  It took me awhile to recognize him. Like him with Stephen McCann who's brother is the 8th. I got a bit fan girl.

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20 hours ago, freddi said:

Yes, it is already available on the PBS video site.  It is a treat to have this airing on Christmas night in the States.  I was surprised at the number of American holiday songs—would have expected all to be British. 

Do you mean the pop songs on the soundtrack like "Santa Baby?" They have had American pop songs on the show before, I remember a girl group song in an earlier season.

2 hours ago, bunnyblue said:

Oh look, it's the return of Dr. Kenley - the doctor colder than a speculum. I know he's probably tops in his field and he works at a teaching hospital, but every time he makes an appearance I cringe in anticipation of how awful he'll treat the patient of the week. While he wasn't as awful this time as he was with the young woman who was a hermaphrodite (?), he was his usual dismissive jerk to Gloria and Jacquetta.

This should answer the question you asked (unless I misunderstood your use of a question mark). Hermaphrodite would have been the word used during the era the show was set. Intersex would be the more appropriate modern term for the same thing.

2 hours ago, bunnyblue said:

I find it hard to believe Trixie can't find a man on her own and that she needs help from a "marriage bureau". She's always had boyfriends, I don't quite understand why the show is making it seem like suddenly its hard for her to find a one. I guess it's because she's in her 30's now?

The "marriage bureau" wasn't Trixie's idea. It was an unwanted gift from a relative. Trixie was only going through it so she could get her clothing allowance.

Overall, I liked the episode. I kept telling my mother, "It's the Christmas episode, and no one dies in the Christmas episode." I enjoyed Reggie's storyline. I'm glad that Phyllis and Millicent are friends now. It was great to see Tim again, because it means he hasn't been permanently written off the show and they can bring him back for an episode or two if they want to.

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13 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

Was the marriage bureau a real thing in England in the 60's?  Like internet match sites now?

I can’t speak for England specifically, as an American, but matchmaking services are nothing new outside traditional social practices, first facilitated by agencies coordinating the matches in person (as in the episode), then pre-online dating in the ‘80s and ‘90s with agencies using videotaped profiles (my former father-in-law met his second wife through such an arrangement). 

Edited by caitmcg · Reason: Forgot to close parentheses.
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4 hours ago, libgirl2 said:

Percival was Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor.  It took me awhile to recognize him. Like him with Stephen McCann who's brother is the 8th. I got a bit fan girl.

What does this mean?

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49 minutes ago, TomGirl said:

What does this mean?

I think the original poster meant Stephen McGann (the Dr. Turner actor), whose brother Paul played the 8th Doctor Who. And the guy playing Percival, Peter Davison, was the Fifth Doctor Who, so kind of an interesting connection.

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5 hours ago, libgirl2 said:

Percival was Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor.  It took me awhile to recognize him. Like him with Stephen McCann who's brother is the 8th. I got a bit fan girl.

For me, he will always be Tristan from the original “All Creatures Great and Small.”

That dating service was pitiful. Somebody remind me why Trixie broke up with the hot divorced guy with the daughter. 
Why on earth would anyone gift wrap bicycles?

Beans on toast? 🤢 Some of those English specialities baffle me. 🤔 

Edited by LittleIggy
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On 12/26/2020 at 2:23 PM, marceline said:

I'm going to miss Valarie but I like the idea of her working at the clinic in South Africa. It's the kind of ending I would've preferred for Barbara and Tom.

It still pisses me off what they did to Barbara, there was no reason to kill her off.

On 12/26/2020 at 2:46 PM, Dehumidifier said:

Would it really take five, six, maybe more (didn't count) miscarriages  before they put a stitch in the cervix? That part didn't ring true for me.

I think she said it was seven. The part that didn't ring true to me was someone having six miscarriages & getting pregnant again, that's insanity. 

On 12/26/2020 at 4:09 PM, bunnyblue said:

I liked Percival so much - as a father, as a ringmaster, and as a possible love interest for Phyllis. Too bad he's dying of lung cancer. ☹️ I thought he & Phyllis had nice chemistry, and he is certainly far more handsome and has a better attitude than that grumpy old Officer whats-his-name they tried to pair with Phyllis a few seasons ago.

I know, why can't they find a nice man for her to date?

On 12/26/2020 at 9:55 PM, LittleIggy said:

Beans on toast? 🤢 Some of those English specialities baffle me. 🤔 

I have never understood this dish. I used to think the beans must be some kind of special beans, but it turns out they're Heinz canned baked beans. Yuck.

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4 hours ago, GaT said:

It still pisses me off what they did to Barbara, there was no reason to kill her off.

I think she said it was seven.The part that didn't ring true to me was someone having six miscarriages & getting pregnant again, that's insanity. 

I know, why can't they find a nice man for her to date?

I have never understood this dish. I used to think the beans must be some kind of special beans, but it turns out they're Heinz canned baked beans. Yuck.

My daughter's boyfriend is from England (we are in the states) and when I go to Stop and Shop he loves if I pick him up some Heinz beans and Hobnob cookies. A little more pricey of course but I'll do it once a month a so. I know when my daughter was in UK for school, she loved finding "real" cherrios at an American store. ; )

I haven't tried them myself yet, maybe I will on toast. lol

Re miscarriages, some women do have a lot and when they didn't use birth control, you'd hear, I had 6 live births, 4 lost as an example . It seems that procedure started a long time ago but used by medical groups around 1957.

No well described technique for the management of this problem was documented until 1955, when V.N. Shi- rodkar, from Bombay, India, introduced the Shirodkar cerclage, in which the bladder was mobilised and a transvaginal purse-string suture was placed in women with recurrent second-trimester loss (Shirodkar VN.

Edited by debraran
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9 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

I think the original poster meant Stephen McGann (the Dr. Turner actor), whose brother Paul played the 8th Doctor Who. And the guy playing Percival, Peter Davison, was the Fifth Doctor Who, so kind of an interesting connection.

You got it! 

14 hours ago, bunnyblue said:

 

Valerie was my favorite nurse and I'm gonna miss her. I don't like the way they wrote her out of the show; leaving without saying goodbye to any of her friends is just not like Val, but I guess the show's hands were tied because of certain decisions. But Valerie is not dead, so I guess she could return down the road. 

I was thinking we probably will see a new nurse in the upcoming season. 

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This was a really good episode all around. My only complaint is what they did with Valery. I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but if the actress wanted to leave I wish she had at least stayed around for an episode or two to give her closure, like they did with the nun that decided to stay with the children at the Mother House (I forget her name). The whole thing was just odd and strange, and I hate when things are left hanging. I'm still waiting around to find out what happened with that really sweet nun who was attacked and had some breakdown, for example.

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19 minutes ago, natyxg said:

This was a really good episode all around. My only complaint is what they did with Valery. I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but if the actress wanted to leave I wish she had at least stayed around for an episode or two to give her closure, like they did with the nun that decided to stay with the children at the Mother House (I forget her name). The whole thing was just odd and strange, and I hate when things are left hanging. I'm still waiting around to find out what happened with that really sweet nun who was attacked and had some breakdown, for example.

Jennifer Kirby ("Valerie") did choose to leave, but apparently hasn't given a reason why.  

"Sister Mary Cynthia" did come back for a couple of episodes after she left the show, but Bryony Hannah has been keeping busy with other projects.  Either of them were written out in such a way that they could return if they find the grass isn't any greener elsewhere.

Sometimes these shows are like life . . . people come into and out of workplaces, etc.  

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18 hours ago, bunnyblue said:

Sigh. It is just one crisis after another with Sister Monica Joan and it is not entertaining watching her cry and throw tantrums. I wish they would just ship her to the Mother House;  they can check in on her every once in a while without having everyone at Nonnatus House cater to her every need.

Times 1,000!  I'm sorry, but I've been tired of her for some time and it is past time to send her to the Mother House.  It appeared that Sister Julienne was feeling the same.

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I think the decision to introduce Sister Monica as old and frail in the first season is now becoming a problem but one they could not have foreseen. We've never seen her in her prime so her slow (and erratic it must be said) descent into dementia is grinding but nowhere as painful as it would be to see someone like Sister Evangeline going down that path. Nevertheless that is what happens when people get old. They have good days and bad days. Days when it's possible to reason with them and days when you feel like you have a toddler in front of you. While I roll my eyes at some of her plots I'm glad the show is not seeking the easy way out by sending her to the Mother House. 

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11 hours ago, GaT said:

I think she said it was seven.The part that didn't ring true to me was someone having six miscarriages & getting pregnant again, that's insanity. 

I had a friend growing up whose mom had two miscarriages, then her, four miscarriages and then her sister. So it didn't really strike me as odd (although saying this now I don't know why I knew this as a ten year old). I realize that's only one example, but since I knew of it personally it didn't strike me as especially weird on the show. Plus I've been reading a lot about this recently and early miscarriages are extremely common. I think the character was talking about mostly later miscarriages since they mentioned her incompetent cervix, but a lot of women may not even realize they had miscarriages if they had it before realizing they were pregnant. It's so so so common for women to have multiple miscarriages even if they're not all as late as the character's. It's people who are trying and tracking and testing who'd be aware of every one.

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Sorry, but I truly am sick of the Sister Monica Joan character. Somewhat humorous in the earlier seasons, she's now become a parody of herself. Or, as she might put it:

Verily, one becomes besotted with the approbation ascribed to one's clever witticisms and pithy rejoinders which now simply seem to alienate oneself from colleagues of lesser verbosity.

Or, as Nurse Crane might say:
"Bollocks! What's the old crone nattering about now?"

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22 hours ago, Dehumidifier said:

Would it really take five, six, maybe more (didn't count) miscarriages  before they put a stitch in the cervix? That part didn't ring true for me.

IIRC, when she appeared before, she was on her 3rd pregnancy and that's when they decided that she'd need a stitch put in.

Presumably with the next 3 miscarriages she either didn't get the stitch put in in time, or it was in and didn't work.

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