Fifty years is, by anybody’s reckoning, a hell of a long time.
Today marked exactly fifty years since Mr B and I met
each other in the less-than-romantic surroundings of Sittingbourne High Street, outside Woolworths. We have, indeed, outlived that world-famous store, which is something to be celebrated. For us, if not for Woollies.
So celebrate we did. Mr B and I don’t go in for Grand Gestures – but we booked a table at Food which is one of our favourite local restaurants. I do like establishments that do what they say on the tin. It has
always been one of my issues with Boots, don’t you know – you can buy virtually everything you want at Boots except footwear. Food, however, serves food. Fabulous food, at that, with charming and attentive staff and a pianist stroking
the keys of a grand piano in the background for added atmosphere.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters who had driven me back home from hers this morning, said
she would drop us off at the restaurant on her way home so we could just get a taxi at the end of the evening. Such a good idea, we agreed, already thinking about the liqueur coffees with which we could round off our meals if neither of us had to drive home.
I dressed up in all my finery. Mr B said he would go as he was. This is one of the marks of a fifty year relationship that you can accept – nay, celebrate - your differences
with a grateful heart. It is just possible that my hair – cut and styled by the Lovely Sue this very afternoon – may have smelt a bit of Chicken and Sweetcorn Dinner because half an hour before we left Young Faris had taken hold of my curly locks
in his sticky fingers when I ventured just a bit too close to him while he was eating his tea. Fortunately Mr B has no sense of smell. So long as he didn’t start running his fingers through my hair in a passionate moment (which wasn't likely in a crowded
restaurant, Mr B being the restrained sort), I reckoned I would get away with it.
Over dinner we talked about the day we met and what would have happened to us
if we hadn’t been where we were, when we were. We agreed that our recipe for fifty years of togetherness was Family, Fidelity and Fun. We were in an alliterative mood, you can tell. Food was full with several cheerily raucous Christmas parties under
way. At other tables there were couples like us though possibly none of the women had chicken and sweetcorn dinner in their hair. I played my favourite game in restaurants which is guessing the story behind my fellow diners’ presence. What was
the relationship between the four somewhat mismatched people on the next table to us? Was anyone else celebrating a special anniversary? And, if so, had they clocked up fifty years like us? Mr B thinks this is a silly game – in fact the only other person
who plays this game properly is my Little Sister. I think I probably taught it to her when we were both knee high to a grasshopper (which is a very descriptive expression but totally ridiculous when you come to think of it.)
We take photographs of each other and ask our waiter to take one of us together, toasting each other with Pinot Grigio. Mr B asks if I can remember what drink I ordered that first evening, fifty years
ago. I think it might have been a Babycham, as that’s what all the girls drank in 1963. Or, maybe, a Cherry B. Which was a cherry-flavoured drink masquerading as cherry brandy but not quite making the grade (not that I would have known the difference
in those days.)
As regular readers may know, one of my favourite songs that we sing with our Singing For Pleasure choir on Friday mornings is “Spread a Little
Happiness.” My favourite lines in this particular song are as follows:
“Surely you’ll be wise to make the best of every “blues”
Don’t you realise you’ll find next Monday or next Tuesday
Your golden shoes day?”
December 21st 1963 was, for certain, my “Golden Shoes Day.”