Once my children reached their late teens, I wondered what I’d have thought if one of them announced an engagement to someone in their thirties. My mother didn’t turn a hair, and if she had misgivings she kept them to herself. I certainly didn’t; I remember reading that it was quite usual to have doubts and nerves before the wedding day and wondering if that meant I was unwisely complacent.
I went shopping for a wedding dress. I chose a yellow and white mini with a large white collar, large white splashy flowers on a yellow background. It cost £5, which was pretty cheap even for 1973 and I continued to wear it for years. I also wore a light oatmeal-coloured summer coat and a gold brooch in the shape of a dragonfly, which my mother-in-law gave me.
We got married on a Thursday and my new in-laws took us and my mum out to lunch before they left on their holiday. Sage and I drove to Yorkshire for a brief honeymoon.
The next morning we went out to explore the town, which was probably Settle. He dived into an antique shop and was pleased to find two Victorian vesta cases (little match boxes, often made of silver, sometimes other materials in ‘novelty’ shapes). In another shop he found a third and was delighted. He said I brought him luck.
The next day he said, would I mind going home (to Lowestoft, the most easterly town in Britain) by way of Bristol (in the south-west). There was a picture he wanted to look at……
So on Saturday afternoon we drove towards Bristol and as evening fell, started to look for a hotel. We were surprised to find no vacancies anywhere, until we were told there was a cider festival that weekend; everywhere had been booked up for weeks. Finally, we stopped at a charming little hotel and, almost without hope, walked in. The proprietor was dialling the telephone and politely replaced the receiver. We asked for a room. He had had a single and a double room booked by a family who hadn’t turned up; he was just ringing the local Tourist Board to let them know he had vacancies.
The Sage is quite astonishingly lucky. He always has been. I used to find it infuriating sometimes, when he left something until the last moment and then a completely unexpected happy chance meant that there was no need to panic after all, but nowadays I rely on it too.
He bought the picture the next day, a Tom Smythe (a Victorian landscape painter who lived in Ipswich), and we travelled home. And told friends and workmates that we were married.
I’ve added several pictures today that I’ve taken within the last month. Not the ones of Squiffany as I haven’t asked her parents. Of the garden mostly, and one of Tilly looking a bit shifty. But merely following a bantam and not at all chasing it.