• Judith Barrow Author

Want to get Married?

He leans out of the window of his old Comma Cob van and shouts this at me as I walk down the road to work. It's eight o'clock on a Monday morning and there are at least a dozen people in front of me who turn around and smile at this romantic gesture.

I flap my left hand, 'I thought that was already decided?'

'Now, I mean,' he shouts. 'Get married now?'

A small crowd has stopped to watch us, someone even claps. I cross to stand by the Comma Cob (a vehicle whose engine has been lovingly worked on and is David's pride and joy and which,recently, has been painted in his beloved Manchester City football colours. (I just wish the seats and interior where just a lovingly looked after - but, again,that's another story!).

'What are you talking about? We haven't saved enough yet.' Besides, when we got engaged, both sets of parents only agreed to it on the understanding we would wait until we were older.

We've been offered a house to rent. It's one of our neighbours. Mr Bailey. He's been given promotion abroad but they have to go now. They're going for a couple of years. But they don't want to leave the house empty. I saw him just now; he says it's ours if we want it. They won't charge much rent.'

'Not until I've made the cake.'David's mother.

'Are you pregnant?' My mother.

'We just want to get married,' we chorus.

'You're too young. And I won't have time to get a new suit.' David's father.

My father says nothing, he just glowers. As usual he isn't speaking to me. This time it's lasted for three months. I can't even remember why. He's a funny/odd man to say the least. (maybe another story here. But then, he has featured in one or two of my books in one guise or another, so perhaps I'll leave it there)

'We just want to get married,' we chorus.

'It's too near Christmas.' Both mothers.

The discussion ended the following day when I was struck down with a vicious dose of flu.

The weather has been true to form for a Northern England winter. Snow drifts six foot high, roads impassible. As I lie in bed, sniffling and gazing miserably out of the window at the steady thick white flakes building up against the glass, I wonder if the wedding will even take place.

It did!

If David looks slightly stunned in this photo, it's not because he can't believe what he's just done, it's because he was up until two o'o clock the night before we were married - polishing his beloved Comma Cob for us to go on honeymoon. (and that's another story as well). He's holding the bible we were given by one of his uncles, a Methodist minister. David's family had somehow arranged for the uncle to accompany the resident minister for part of the service. We still have the bible with a pressed, very pressed, white carnation from my bouquet and the receipt from the hotel we stayed at for two night before we ran out of money.

Hmm... not sure why so small - but still proves all signed and sealed,.

Not being well and because it's been so cold, the bridesmaids and I wear vests under all the glamour. ( Well I thought it glamorous!). The day is glorious, bright sunshine. We swelter in the chapel in our vests. Still I'm thankful to Damart when we shiver outside for ages while the photographer insists on a thousand and one poses. The minister got fed up of waiting and has gone inside and closed the doors after much polite coughing turned into harrumphing. I get a fit of the giggles. We were married at eleven o'clock. Now, he's obviously hungry and has gone home for something to eat. Well, his stomach had rumbled all the way through the service.

Sheer relief; it's all nearly over. And look at that cake! David's mother was a genius at icing (they owned a bakery); every one of those nets had been laboriously made on various small metal shapes and left until dry. She would then ease them off to make more. The cake had been a nightmare to carry in three parts to the place we had the reception. Note the vase on top? Should have a spray of freesias in it - lost somewhere in transit!

David's family were strict Methodists. Non drinkers. The least I can say about mine is ... they weren't.

My Uncle Frank ( four foot ten tall if a day) swore David's Auntie Jane patted him on the head when he crawled under the table to tickle her knees. From the look she gave him after the meal I would have said it was slightly more than a pat.

By three o'clock we leave the families to it and drive off in the Comma Cob to London of all places. David's Aunt Mary had recommended a hotel. You can tell how clued up we were; we didn't realise how far it was! We were accompanied by cheers, the rattle of tin cans, a trail of confetti and the usual notices emblazoned across the van. "Just Married". We were. And totally unaware of what the years ahead would bring...

This weekend we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

On the day we walked around Bosherston Lily Ponds - a local beauty spot and had a meal out. On Saturday, we had a wonderful get together with friends and family - an open house - (well, with the door slightly ajar anyway!) - with people arriving from afternoon into the evening. The last ones staggered away along the drive at around two on Sunday morning. Instead of presents we'd asked for small donations for the Wales Air Ambulance and we were lucky; we raised a good amount of money. But, of course, our friends still brought wonderful presents. It was one of the best days we'd had in a long time. We .



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