Mr B’s carer, the Truly Delightful Donna, has brought us anniversary gifts - a packet of fruit pastilles (for Mr B), some Roses chocolates (for me) and a lemon sponge cake for both of us. So very, very sweet of her
(if you’ll excuse the pun...)
Her most welcome gifts are accompanied by a greetings card which informs us that we go together like salt and pepper; fish
and chips; hugs and kisses; lemon and lime; milk and cookies; love and laughter. Which only goes to prove that it isn’t necessarily the case that Companions for Life have to be exactly alike - opposites can attract. Mr B cites the magnet as proof of
this - I am not sure but I think he may be referring to his magnetic personality.
Certainly I was inexplicably drawn to him when we met outside Woolworths in Sittingbourne
High Street nearly 57 years ago. Fifty four years ago today, we were married in St Michael’s Church, in the same Sittingbourne High Street. You could say we hadn’t travelled far from the day we met.
Mr B had not been the least bit nervous on the morning of our wedding. Or, at least, the only thing he was nervous about was the likely prospect of the England cricket team losing grip on the test match against the West Indies
at Old Trafford. He was fine, he still maintains, until the exact moment the organist in church struck up “Here comes the Bride” at which his knees buckled beneath him.
I wasn’t nervous, either, standing beside him at the altar. Not until I started repeating after the Vicar: “I, Jacqueline....” - at which my soon-to-be mother in law, in the loudest of stage whispers, commented: “Ah,
she’s nervous....” It was what you call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Later on, after we were declared man and wife (newly weds weren’t encouraged
to “kiss the bride” in those days); after we had run the gauntlet of confetti and posed for photographs with our Merry Band of Guests, we made it to the reception at Milton Old People’s Hall, where the kind women who had been preparing the
Wedding Feast, gathered outside to watch our arrival. As we disembarked from the bridal car, Mr B trod heavily on the train of my wedding dress, drawing a rather less than wifely reprimand from my lips. You could almost read the minds of our little welcome
party - “we’ll give it six months.....”
Well, we have proved everybody wrong. Fifty-four years, four children and ten grandchildren later, we
are still together. Like fish and chips. Or salt and pepper. Like Punch and Judy or Morecambe and Wise. Like Rod Hull and Emu. Or Keith Harris and Orville. I am thinking I’d better stop right there...
Once the children were all grown-up, we used to book our summer holidays to coincide with our wedding anniversary and my birthday two days later. Mr B found this useful because it was never too difficult to dream up a special
outing to mark our anniversary. We have celebrated the day we tied the knot in so many different places - from France to Florida, from Sorrento to Slovenia. Without fail we always managed to meet up, on our wedding anniversary, with a couple celebrating their
own wedding day. I can’t help but giggle when I think of those happy newly-weds and how they must have wondered about the touristy couple, in their holiday shorts and tee-shirts, grinning hugely at them as they stood outside their wedding venue. Little
did they know how much love, what a multitude of best wishes, how many hopes for their happy future were being beamed at them from our place in the crowd. We hope that all the couples are still celebrating their own wedding anniversaries today along with us.
That was then, and this is 2020 - our Lockdown Anniversary. I’m cooking Mr B’s favourite Madras Beef Curry for dinner and we are having a deconstructed Eton Mess
(strawberries, meringues and cream - what’s not to like?) for pudding. Apart from that, we are in complete agreement about the way we will celebrate our 54 years of wedded bliss.
We’re planning A Quiet Night In...