Thursday, 9th September, 2021

[Day 542]

So the day has finally dawned to which I had been looking forward for some time now. It is the day of our 54th wedding anniversary and the day seemed very similar in temperament to the way it was in 1967. One thing I particularly remember about that particular day is the fact that one of Meg’s cousins and the parents of Meg’s bridesmaid were both coming from afar to Manchester – one from South Wales and the other from Solihull. These two sets of guests both had particular and distinctive sports cars. From my memory (which may well be faulty) one of these was a Daimler Dart and the other may well have been one of the more distinctive Triumphs. Anyway, the owners of these cars had each taken note of the other whilst they were proceeding along the motorway (the M6) into Manchester and were regularly overtaking each other turn and turn about (as sometimes cars do, travelling at about the same speed). Imagine the astonishment when one followed the other through the suburbs of Manchester and they eventually landed up outside the same church (i.e. Church of the Holy Name, opposite the main entrance to the University of Manchester) when they discovered that they were each coming to the same event i.e. our wedding, Naturally, there was mutual amazement when they finally met having chased each other for miles. We have a series of the original wedding photos on my iPhone, scanned from the original photos at the time of our 50th 4 years ago and the photos, with the passage of time, are quite revealing (black and white, of course) In one photo, six male friends of Mike’s are shown all in the prime of their lives. Who would have thought that over 50 years later, three of these would be dead (one of them my own best man), a fourth suffering from prostate cancer and a fifth with dementia. There appears to be one member of the six apparently unscathed but it does tend to show dramatically the frailty of the male members of the species. Another fact revealed in the photos is Meg’s wedding dress, which is actually a Mary Quant copy. (Mary Quant was said by some to be the inventor of the miniskirt and was was certainly an icon of women’s fashions in the 1960’s) If Meg’s wedding dress had been a Mary Quant original it would have cost £1,000’s but what happened is that Meg sketched out some of the designs she liked which epitomised the Mary Quant ‘look’ and Meg’s mother, whom was an excellent couturier, bought the materials and made the dress, When, in occasions like this, we show the wedding photographs to people that we meet, practically ever female of the older generation will have heard of Mary Quant and can therefore relate to the design. As well as being above the knee (just), the outfit also sported a wonderful lace bonnet which was very much ‘a la mode‘ in 1967. We have one more fairly remarkable fact about our wedding photos. When I was getting them out of their retaining album for our 50th, a piece of lined paper fell out which was actually the organist’s original notes of everything that we had played at out wedding. From this list, I have managed to scour the internet and get practically identical facsimiles so we now have the facility to run a slide show and play the wedding tracts which is almost as good as a video might have been (or a cine film, I suppose, in 1967). This all comes to mind because Meg and I went went to Waitrose by car, discovering some champagne and cards left by a friend when we were on our way out. Once we go into Waitrose, we showed the photos on my phone to a few of the regular staff who know us very well and were rewarded by a bunch of flowers as well.

Knowing that we were going out in the evening, we had a light lunch and I spent one time getting my building society accounts all made accessible through an app I have installed on my phone. Then we got our ‘glad rags’ on and went out for a meal to our favourite hotel/restaurant, starting at 6.30 and carrying on until 10.00pm. We had a really marvellous dinner with lots of good food and scintillating conversation with laughter and merriment very much in evidence. Our friends had also bought us some birthday wine and cards to help us make our day really memorable. As another sort of coincidence, my local friendly newsagent is going to celebrate 45 years of marriage in two days time – his wedding anniversary can never be forgotten as it is the by now ‘infamous’ 9/11 (i.e. 11th September) in which the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York were attacked and destroyed some 20 years ago now.