I spent much of my time in the next few weeks in preparation for our wedding party – sending invitations, booking this and that, choosing stuff – but the pressure was off, as far as I was concerned. Funnily enough, I didn’t mind the thought of being the centre of attention at the party, it was the actual wedding ceremony that had seemed so off-putting.
I can’t remember many specifics about the next three months – I know we had a trip up to Derbyshire to the Sage’s school Gaudy, where former classmates were surprised to find this fairly confirmed bachelor with a very young wife in tow. He was quite roundly teased and I fielded that for him – for someone as shy as I was, I had pretty good social skills, I suppose because in a fairly impersonal social setting one can put on a façade and not have to reveal much of oneself. We stayed, on the way home, in a converted watermill. The next morning at breakfast, I heard an American woman say to her husband, “this is the best cup of coffee since we arrived in England.” Since the coffee was of indifferent quality – as was most coffee in this country at that time – I felt for her, and also warmed to her good nature in putting the best spin on things.
We didn’t have a wedding present list, something that was just becoming popular then. Sensible though they are, I don’t really care for them. Pa and Ma bought us a china dinner service – after many years’ use as ‘best’, it’s now used all the time. My mother bought us Victorian silver flatware (cutlery, darlings), at an auction that the Sage was conducting. He became quite squeaky as the price rose. Again, that service used to be hauled out for best, but we now use it every day.
We never bothered to put the photos from the party in an album, though our parents did, so they’re around somewhere. They were taken by a friend from childhood of my father’s, who was a professional photographer. My father had been best man at his wedding. I have got one photo to show you, however, which my sister-in-law gave us on our 25th anniversary, in a silver frame. It’s come out a bit fuzzy, but then so am I after all these years.
In order, Pa, Ma, the Sage, Z, Mummy, Wink. Only the other day, someone saw the picture and said “is that your two sisters with you?” She’d have been pleased to hear that! She was, in fact, 49 at the time. And the hair colour is natural.
As for pyjamas, which was asked about a few days ago – on discovering that everyone was going to be in DJs or long dresses, my sister-in-law, who didn’t have a long dress, went shopping. She is a frugal shopper and was reluctant to spend much on a frock she didn’t think she was likely to wear again. So she bought a pretty nightdress with long sleeves and a high neck and came to the party in that.