“Publishers are always a bit worried about people seeing themselves in books so I set the book in a place called Burlington,” she says. “I also changed all of the names.
“In many cases I did also have a degree of poetic licence. They say that people who are writing autobiography have to do that as how can you remember every conversation?
“I didn’t keep a diary at the time, you didn’t have any time when you were writing too many notes. But a lot of it is still very vivid to me. It is a long time ago but there are some things in life that stay with you.”
Bread, Jam and a Borrowed Pram is Dot’s second book. Her first, Twelve Babies on a Bike, recounted her time as a pupil midwife and became a best-seller. Originally from Derbyshire, Dot came to Birmingham as a raw recruit. She lived in Moseley with her boyfriend Bill Dunn, a welder for Austin Motor Company, who later became her husband and father to their child, also called Bill, who is now a 47-year-old London firefighter.
Dot worked in other parts of Birmingham including Deritend, Balsall Heath, Stirchley and Small Heath before the family moved to London. Her husband died in 1984 and Dot now shares her life with partner of 20 years Brian Turner. These days she divides her time between Leamington Spa and a family home she shares in France.
It may be more than half a lifetime ago but Dot still has a love for Birmingham and has dedicated her book to “the indomitable spirit of Birmingham people”.
They were people who she could not help but admire – because they found their own ways of surviving through hard times.
“In the book I tell various stories of how we were taken for a ride by people,” she says. “People were wheeler dealers and they knew what they wanted. But they were also prepared to respond to us.
“In those days people respected professionalism. If you met them on their ground then they would respond to you and they did generally respect what you said. It was a case of knowing how far you could go with each family. Sometimes they would just peer round the door at you and you would tell them when the next clinic was. That was as close as you could get on that occasion.
“And it was a case of understanding what people were like. Very often if you went to the back-to-backs there would be one woman who knew everyone and everything and you just had to get her on your side. She knew how the cookie crumbled.
“And our responsibility was towards the whole family. If grandma didn’t have any false teeth and needed some to eat with then you needed to sort that out. If dad wasn’t working you would do what you could to encourage him to find a job.”