Forty-seven years ago today, the sky was every bit as blue as the one you saw this morning when you pulled your curtains and looked out at all you could survey. We have all been basking in the long-awaited sunshine, haven’t
we, but forty-seven years ago today it was even warmer. It was hot, hot, hot.
Forty-seven years ago, England was playing the West Indies in the First Test Match
at Old Trafford and was losing badly.
And Mr B and I – we tied the knot.
I was too timid to tell the hairdresser that I was getting married that day. It never occurred to me to take my veil and head-dress along to the salon, as brides would do today, to make sure I would look OK in all my finery. When I arrived home, I had
to tease my new hair-do into a more acceptable shape in order to accommodate my rather over-the-top tiara. A tiara-boom-de-ay, Mr B called it later...
was worrying about my wayward hair-do, Mr B tells me he was calmness itself. He spent the whole morning listening to the Test Match. If he was biting his finger nails then that was down to the cricket score and the fact that England was heading to an innings
defeat, not to any misgivings about the life-changing event ahead of him.
It was not until he was standing before the altar and heard the unforgettable opening
chords of the Wedding March that, in his own words, he suddenly felt “cut off at the knees.” Forty-seven years later, I like to think I still occasionally have the same effect on him. Though I may be kidding myself..
I only remember one thing about the wedding ceremony. I was absolutely determined that I would make my vows in a loud, clear voice, not an incoherent mumble. I began well: “I, Jaqui...”
I started – at which my mother-in-law’s voice bellowed out, loud and clear: “Ah, she’s nervous!” she exclaimed in the kind of whisper that carries the length and breadth of the church. I wanted to say “I’m not! I’m
not!” but all of a sudden I was. I think it is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
After the ceremony and the photographs, we headed off for the Wedding Breakfast
in a local hall. Why on earth is it called the Wedding Breakfast, I wonder, when in this case it was not being served until five in the afternoon? I can’t remember what we ate but it certainly wasn’t eggs and bacon. As we arrived, all the helpers
crowded outside to greet us – such a lovely welcome it was. Mr B, trying to steer me into the hall, managed to tread, heavily, on my small train. “Oh, for goodness’ sake!” I said, or words to that effect. You could see all the
helpers exchanging looks which said, clearer than any words: “Give it six months...”
Well, we managed to prove them wrong by forty six years and six
months – and we are still going strong though it has to be said that today wasn’t one of our more exciting anniversaries.
“I feel rubbish!”
I said, as I handed him his card with a chaste kiss on the top of his head. Well, I didn’t want any nasty germs creeping from me to him. He would not have been a Happy Man. I continued to feel rubbish for the rest of the day, taking
myself off to my bed with a couple of Anadin for an hour in the afternoon. This is So Not Like Me. I rallied a little when the Youngest of the Darling Daughters rang. She is great at cheering me up. I think she should be made available, forthwith, on
the National Health Service.
We were going to have a posh meal out to celebrate – but it would have been wasted on me. We dallied with the idea of buying
fish and chips and taking them down to our favourite seat overlooking the sea – which would have been a very appropriate way to celebrate – but by the time we got round to it, the wind was getting up and it didn’t seem such a good idea after
So we looked through the photo album together. Black and white photos – all that was available then, though they are decidedly trendy nowadays. There’s
a swatch of fabric from the bridesmaids’ dresses and a silver horseshoe decorated with a large black cat. Tucked in a corner of the box is a tiny silver high-heeled slipper which must have somehow escaped from the wedding cake. Not much to show for forty-seven
Except that then we played the DVDs which The Family compiled for us on our Ruby Wedding, including “When Brian met Jaqui”. You have to see
it to believe it. Was that amazing Ruby Wedding Party really seven whole years ago? The Usher gene kicks in and I am weeping at the photos of Long, Long Ago when we were young and the kids were knee-high to a grass-hopper.
I still feel rubbish – but it’s a kind of contented rubbish, if you know what I mean. Mr B pours me a glass of wine which will either kill me or cure me. We will sit, companionably, in
the gloaming, and watch district nurse Frankie get her knickers in a twist on the TV.
Happy Anniversary, Mr B. My one and only.