I met Tony when I was an art student and was supplementing my income by waitressing in a soccer club. He was an apprentice trying to support himself on lowly wages and had taken a waiters job in the evening to make ends meet. On my first evening at work - this strage guy kept whizzing past me with his drinks tray saying Beep!Beep! like Roadrunner. I was easily impressed in those days! My parents did not approve of the relationship and despite, or perhaps, because of this we were determined to get married. With no parental support it was a shoe string budget for our wedding – a very short shoe string!My designer gown was designed and made by me and I must have been going through a pastoral period as I resembled a milkmaid. I still have it and plan to go shopping in it at least once before I die! My straw boater hat was hand decorated with pale blue ribbon and carnations in the colours of our local rugby team – red and white! My bouquet was also home made in the same colours! The bridesmaids wore floppy hats; similar lilac cotton sprigged milking outfits and platform shoes. The groom was equally colourful in his burgundy suit, mauve shirt and maroon tie and wore Saville Row boots that had been left in the dressing room of the soccer club and fitted perfectly but creaked when he walked – perhaps that’s why they had been abandoned. As my parents refused to give their consent or approval I was ferried to the registry office by the bridesmaid’s father and left after the service in my new husbands’ pale blue Ford Anglia which he had parked on the municipality car park –He creaked down the embankement in his stolen shoes and I slid down it my blue satin wedding slippers but the car park attendant let us off the parking fee - I think we must have made a touching site!
The reception was at our modest flat – a home-made buffet, trifle, a tiny wedding cake and a lot of alcohol. The best man and the chief bridesmaid developed a fatal attraction for one another and spent the whole time snogging. We were on the verge of getting the hose pipe out to cool their ardour when they passed out! We later met up with a few friends at a local pub and I was abandoned there as my ever romantic groom went off to play snooker with his buddies. An hour later when I went into the bar in my wedding dress to retrieve him, the barmaid asked me whatever had I seen in my now very worse for wear groom and he promptly replied that I had married him because a part of his anatomy was spectacular!The day ended with the bride locked in the ladies loo while the groom – suddenly sober – tried to coax me out. We weren’t speaking on the way home or the next day and we are still to be seen arguing in public places!!
As for the family – it didn’t take them long to realise that we were meant for each other and my father and Tony soon became the very best of friends and we had our wedding vows blessed in church for our silver anniversary. Sadly by then our parents had passed away.
Forty years later, a new country, several moves, many arguments, four sons, much laughter, the sadness losing our eldest son Craig, the family extending to include three lovely daughters in law and two grandchildren - our marriage has survived all that life has thrown at us. Forty years ago when we promised to “have and to hold from this day forth, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish: from this day forward until death do us part...” I realise how easy it was for us to make that promise and how hard it has been for us to keep it all these years....but miraculously we have made it! Yes on Sunday - there will be champagne - lots of it!