When it comes to important events, a Golden Wedding Anniversary has to be up there, right at the top of the Red Letter Day List. When it's the anniversary of two very special people who have been close friends for over
forty years, then the importance is multiplied many times over.
So Mr B and I set off on the two hour journey to the Horseshoes Public House in East Farleigh,
Kent, in a merry mood, looking forward to a delicious lunch, good company and non-stop chat, spiced (knowing our hosts as we do) with plenty of saucy reminiscences. We were not to be disappointed.
Our Hostess With The Mostest is a born worrier whose main concern is always to ensure that her guests' every requirement is being met, that everyone's glass is full and that, not to put too fine a point on it, Everyone Is
a Happy Bunny. On this, her Golden Wedding Anniversary, the other eleven of us at the table (including her Other Half) were determined that she shouldn't worry about anything, that, if any worrying were to be done, we would do it on her behalf. As we took
our places, I chuckled to see that she had one of those Reporter's Notebooks beside her plate. Was she, by any chance, going to be taking Minutes? I asked. She laughed at the thought and tucked it away somewhere almost out of sight. Not completely, you notice
- I am pretty sure she had a whole list of reminders written therein, just in case...
I told you last week, didn't I, about our invitation which arrived by Special
Delivery. I also told you how Mr M had surpassed himself by pretending to be taking his darling wife on a cheapie holiday (yes, those were indeed his exact words) only to transport her to a beautiful holiday home where her children, their spouses and her four
grandchildren were all waiting for her. That's the way to do it, Mr B, are you making a note of this? I am sure I too have a notebook somewhere, if you want to jot down an aide-memoire.
I had wondered why the pub where we were assembling was called The Horseshoes but it turned out to be self-explanatory. It was right next door to a riding stable. While Mr B was taking the air (aka enjoying a crafty cigarette) I watched
all the youngsters parading off on their ride and remembered how much the Middle of the Darling Daughters had loved horse riding - so much so that she would willingly spend a day mucking out stables in return for a free riding lesson. I wonder if any of the
little darlings heading out of the stables this morning have been doing the same. I rather think not.
At lunch the Man of the Moment relates a tenderly amusing
story about his wedding morning and how his friend and neighbour (who is sitting round the table with us today) tried to get him to the church on time. It seems when this neighbour arrived to collect him, the groom hadn't even ironed his shirt. There followed
a mad dash to the wedding venue during the course of which the groom flagged down the wedding car and (having checked if was bound for the right bride) addressed the driver thus: "I say, Squire ( he still addresses all male acquaintances thus) "Could you just
drive round the block a couple of extra times?" The driver obliged, Barrie was there at the church in time, while his Lorna arrived in all her bridal loveliness minutes later, completely unaware of how her husband-to-be had worked it all out.
The two fellas involved in this salutary tale are seated together, engaged in some male bonding involving glasses of red wine. Judging on today's performance I am wondering how they ever found their way to the church, fifty
years ago. How differently everything might have turned out.
Except that it didn't. My lovely friends met up at the altar and plighted their troth, as they say
in the Marriage Service. Two children and four grandchildren later and they are still the same as always. Some things - and some people - never change.
eaten plenty. Celia and Monika enjoy a "sharing platter" of mini desserts and I notice that Mr B is helping them out. He assures me later that they did invite him to partake, really they did.
Champagne is poured and the cake - cooked and decorated by my talented friend - is cut. I am pleased to see that her notebook is nowhere to be seen and that her lovely face is wreathed in smiles. The camera on my mobile phone doesn't
really do justice to her shining face. So much happiness, such a special moment.