Honeymooners - Twin Beds?
The porter flings open the door and ushers us in. Then he turns around to survey the room. Walking to the interconnecting phone he picks the receiver up and barks, 'Honeymooners - Twin Beds?' We stand, crimson-faced, not looking at one another. Then he ushers us back out of the room and along the corridor where another porter is standing outside a door alongside two elderly ladies.
We swap rooms.
We'd arrived at the hotel after a five hour drive through thick fog. I looked at the large building. Very posh, I thought. I should have known; David's aunt, who recommended this hotel to us , never went for second best. David parked our little blue Comma Cob van tidily between a Bentley and a Jaguar with a sigh of relief.
I'm shattered,' he said ( or words to that effect). Not a goods start to a honeymoon, I thought.
The porter, in red uniform and top hat, leapt from the steps and ran across to us.
'He's going to tell us to go round to the staff entrance,' I muttered. But no, with a flourish of his arm he opened my door with a smile and a, 'welcome,' and, after handing me out of the Comma, 'I'll get your cases.' Opening the back doors he was showered with a ton of confetti and rice that then swirled around the car park in the cold wind. His smile grew wider. 'Congratulations,' he said to me - I was sure he leered. I do know he winked at David.
The room we've been re-allocated is plush with king-size bed, en-suite and living area.
'Don't ask if we need to pay extra,' David whispers, true to his Northern roots.
'I won't,' I say, thinking of the shopping I can do in London, despite the fact that we now haven't got two 'a'pennies to rub together; having mostly paid for the wedding ourselves from our savings.
We unpack our cases, survey the contents of the fridge and the prices and decide to go down to the hotel bar. We sit watching all the "posh" people swanning about in evening wear. Me with a bitter lemon, David with half a pint of mild.
At nine - thirty he checks his watch and turns towards me. 'Let's go to our room.'
He leaves me to use the bathroom. I look at the night clothes I've brought: daring turquoise and black Baby-Doll pyjamas - or, more demure, pale pink shortie nightie and negligee - in nylon! Risque or demure? I was very innocent about these things. ( you can laugh but just remember this is 1970 and, quite frankly the "free love" we read of in the newspapers about London had yet to reach our village - the fear of pregnancy and disapproval of the families was the only contraception we'd needed when courting.)
It takes me ten minutes to decide and change - five times. At last I open the door in my nightie and negligee. I stand, arm above my head, hand resting on door frame. Posing.
The television is on. David glances at me, I see the gleam in his eye. Do I sashay towards him?
He pats the bed at the side of him. 'Come on,' he says, 'Sit here. Match of the Day is coming on and City are playing.'
We didn't go out of the room on the Sunday... ( I'll say no more about that). On the Monday we wake at eight. 'See what time breakfast is served,' I say. The phone is on the wall by the bed. David takes off the receiver and asks. When the conversation is over he lies back in bed. 'We've got another hour yet before they stop serving.'
A while later we hear a strange strangled noise coming from the wall. "Hello? Hello? Please replace the handset correctly." The Receptionist!
We have to go past Reception to get to breakfast. We crawl on hands and knees under the window and shuffle around the corner to the restaurant.
Back in our room. ''Fancy a spot of sight-seeing?'
Of course I do, I've never been to London before.
'I know just the place to go,' he declares.
An hour later we are standing outside Wembley Stadium...
David had been with a friend to watch City play in the F.A. cup the previous May. They'd won. I'd heard the tale a few ( thousand) times.
He takes a photo of me in front of the Twin Towers. I'm wearing my "going away" outfit; mini dress and coat. It's very cold. I can feel my legs going blue (still they fit in with City colours, I suppose).
'There's a door open, over there,' David whispers. 'Let's have a shufty inside. I can show you where I sat, last year.' Yes, honestly, he did say that! All those rows of seats and he was going to point out the exact one.
'Oi!' The shout comes from a chap carrying a mop and bucket. 'What are you doing?' Place is closed.'
David explains. The man's face lights up at the mention of "honeymoon" and "City fan". ( Please note the singular form of the word here. I am now shivering - violently)
"Nice man"invites us into his office for a cup of tea and offers to show us around the whole place. David is in his element. It actually is quite interesting seeing all the photos of the players, the cups in the glass cases, the changing rooms, the VIP lounge. Definitely illegal to be here, I'm sure. But still...
We have a day sightseeing. We forgot to take our camera so, courtesy of https://pixabay.com/ - here are one or two of the sights we squashed in, despite getting lost on the Underground numerous times:
We run out of money by Wednesday and make our way home. By the time we arrive, David tells me there's only a spoonful of petrol in the tank of the Comma Cob.
We freewheel down the alleyway at the back of the terrace of the large houses and sneak into ours without turning on any of the lights. We don't want anyone to know we're back yet - hoping to carry on our honeymoon in the comfort (and warmth) of our new home.
The following morning the front door bell rings
It's David's mother. 'Hello, welcome back. Did you have a nice time? Just thought you might want this for your teas.' And she hands me a large meat and potato pie.
She continues to bring us meals for the next twelve months in the belief that I can't cook.
Fifty years later we laugh about our disastrous idea of a honeymoon. The Match of the Day story has entered the annals of family folklore - one that David has had to live down over the decades.
Manchester City has learned to take a back seat in our marriage.
I should add here that I have full permission from my husband to relate this sad tale. Like I've often said David has a brilliant sense of fun and the ridiculous!
And the beloved Comma Cob?
Well that's another story...