Forty years ago tomorrow Shirley and I were married at St Martin's Church in the north Lincolnshire village of Owston Ferry. She was twenty two and I had just turned twenty eight.
As I recall, it was a very happy day when that virtual champagne bottle was smashed across the bow of our marriage. "God bless her and all who sail in her". It was witnessed by friends and family. A good number of the attendees are not here any more - my mum Doreen and my older brother Paul, Shirley's parents Charlie and Winnie, my grandmother Phyllis and Shirley's grandmother Minnie, my friend Ron Budd who died of alcoholism and several of Shirley's aunts and uncles. They exist only in our memories. I can hear them in the next room.
It was an inexpensive wedding. For example, the wedding breakfast was a simple buffet meal in a nearby pub and our wedding car was in fact Charlie's VW Passat driven by one of her many cousins. The weather was typical of late October - blustery but thankfully dry. Prince Charles had married Diana Spencer just four months before in St Paul's Cathedral, London. There was far, far less pomp and circumstance at our wedding. In fact there wasn't any.
We had just bought our first house in the Crookesmoor area of Sheffield. It cost us £15,250 and we picked up the keys for it on the Thursday before the wedding. There was a lot of work to do on that house before we could move in and that's the reason we didn't have a proper honeymoon.
Instead, after the wedding breakfast, we jumped in Shirley's little cream-coloured Mini and headed south to the city of Lincoln for one night. We had booked a room in the very modest St Catherine's Hotel. In the morning, after a full English breakfast, we wandered up Steep Hill to Lincoln's magnificent cathedral. Did you know that it was the tallest building in the entire world from 1311 to 1548? Furthermore, if the central spire had not been blown down in a storm, it would have remained the tallest building till 1889 when The Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris.. I find this information pretty awesome.
Anyway, me and my lovely bride are heading back to Lincoln tomorrow - this time for a two night stay in the Holiday Inn Express near Brayford Pool. We shall climb back up Steep Hill to the cathedral and if we spot a special something she wants, I will buy Shirley a gift to mark our ruby wedding anniversary. Forty years is quite an achievement - I am sure you will agree - though that blustery day in Owston Ferry, by The River Trent still seems like yesterday.
Happy Almost Anniversary! 40 years is quite an accomplishment. We made it nearly 28 years(33 years together) before my husband died of cancer. We also had a very special but not flashy or expensive wedding. It's all about the marriage, not the wedding anyway.ReplyDelete
In those days you cut your cloth according to your means. Nowadays it seems that many young couples want the dream TV wedding.Delete
Congratulations on your anniversary. Yes time does go fast and it's very interesting to look back. It's interesting to look back at the photos and all they tell us.ReplyDelete
We are well behind you and your darling Jean.Delete
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Pudding! Well done indeed. I hope you two have a lovely couple of days in Lincoln. I love the photos. You two look like such a sweet couple.ReplyDelete
Yes. We are very sweet Nurse Lily.Delete
Congratulations on your Ruby Anniversary! Those are great photos you shared. Enjoy your trip!ReplyDelete
Thank you dear Jennifer. You and Gregg are a little way behind us.Delete
Happy Anniversary !ReplyDelete
Congratulations Neil and Shirley on choosing your partner well and making your marriage work so well. We've been living together 40 years too but only 38 years wed as of earlier this month. There have been good and bad times but it has been worth it all to enter this new phase of life as grandparents together.ReplyDelete
Enjoy your 2 days of luxury this time. I hope you have many, many more happy years together.
PS Princess Charlotte is now 6 months and being introduced to solid food. Honeydew melon was a big hit yesterday. She's hoping to finally meet her UK grandparents next year. Covid willing
You mean you lived in sin for two years before tying the knot? Honestly, I am shocked. Thanks for such a warm and friendly comment Adele.ReplyDelete
P.S. Princess Phoebe (now 9 months) will return to England today following her state visit to Canada. We won't see her till Tuesday afternoon. We have missed her so much.
Haha, I went mixed flatting as an 18 yr old which caused no end of shame and scandal in my Catholic world at the time even though I had no interest in those uncouth males who never cleaned the bathroom or kitchen. 4 years later and my Mother was actively encouraging my sister to mixed flat for safety reasons although she was much more likely to be cohabiting. The older children always have to break the barriers.Delete
Enjoy catching up on all those missed cuddles with Princess Phoebe, now an experienced traveller. It must be in the genes.
So is "mixed flatting" a euphemism for shacking up with a hot guy? (i.e. your husband) Can you give your own little princess a message from me? It's "Gaa-gaa-gaa. Bubbabubbabubba. Eeek! Goo-goo-goo"....I won't tell you what it means.Delete
Congratulations on your Ruby Anniversary!ReplyDelete
I do think it's quite surprising and wonderful that Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in Europe for so long and I don't think I've even heard of it before.
Though I'm separated, it would have been my 30th anniversary this year. The time just goes, doesn't it?
Not Europe Kylie! It was the tallest building in the entire world. 30 years would have been pearl.Delete
Oops! I thought I checked that!Delete
Congratulations on your wedding anniversary and may you both have many more happy years together watching grandchildren grow up.ReplyDelete
Thanks Thelma. I am not sure that grandchildren will be plural.Delete
Happy ruby anniversary, you two! Lovely pictures, and rather daring of the bridesmaid to wear short sleeves at the end of October.ReplyDelete
I was also 22 at my first wedding, with my husband only a month older. At my 2nd wedding, I was 37 and Steve was 36, catching up with me 7 months later.
Both times, there was no pomp and circumstances for us, either, but we had family and friends with us and I remember both days as happy times.
Even if I married tomorrow, it is unlikely I would achieve ruby.
By the way, when is OK going to pop the question? Has he been married before?Delete
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs.Pud . I hope that you will be buying her a ruby? I have a Wedgewood Ruby glass bird and elephant that my parents were given for their ruby anniversary many years ago.( they had a rare party!) Dad bought Mum a beautiful ruby ring that I also have. Can't remember what I was given for ours. Might have been more ruby glass as I now have quite a collection. Enjoy Lincoln, hope the weather cheers up for you.ReplyDelete
She insisted she did not want a present and I could not find a ruby item that seemed right. How lovely that you have kept your parents' ruby-coloured items.Delete
Happy Anniversary. Shirley was a lovely bride. You looked quite smart too.ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy your trip and the weather gods are kind to you.
They were kind JayCee. Monday was beautiful.Delete
Many congratulations. It's so true how recent 40 years ago can seem, and how you can still hear the long gone voices of many of those in group photographs. Our experience was and is so similar.ReplyDelete
Nice comment Tasker. Thank you. Again we went over Dunham Toll Bridge. What do you do with all the money?Delete
Happy Anniversary Mr and Mrs Pudding. I hope you both still have the stamina to climb up Steep Hill!ReplyDelete
I had to give her a piggy back.Delete
Congratulations. 40 years IS an achievement to be proud of. By the time that we get to our 40th, we'll both be 81. Happy anniversary, you two kids~ReplyDelete
Married at 41? I guess you were nervous.Delete
Happy anniversary! There used to be a saying that life begins at 40, and think it also applies to years of marriage You two are just now getting to really know one another. I am sorry for splitting an infinitive on such a momentous occasion.ReplyDelete
Thanks Bob... Shouldn't it read "and I think"? Tut tut sir! Standards!Delete
Lovely post. We don't know the date but perhaps a month or so ago we first got together 42 years ago. I expect the Steep Hill will seem much steeper than forty years ago. While the unbridled and urgent passion may not be there that was forty years ago, I am sure you will have a grand time. Will it be too cold to sit out and have an icecream together?ReplyDelete
Back from Lincoln now... The full day we had there was lovely. Sunny with just an autumnal chill in the air. People were sitting out.Delete
Happy Anniversary YP. I remember the Royal wedding and I saw Thin Lizzy that year when I was just seventeen.ReplyDelete
Well he was just seventeen, you know what I meanDelete
And the way Dave looked was way beyond compare...
Congratulations! You two were a lovely young couple and obviously well-suited. Mr. Moon and I will have been married 37 years tomorrow. We are going to spend a few nights on St. George Island.ReplyDelete
I would like to say that our wedding was even less of a production than yours. Quite spur of the moment. But I still look back on it with a smile. It's not the wedding that makes the marriage, is it?
You are right there Mary.Delete
Happy anniversary, YP and Shirley! It's great that you're going back to where it all began. I look forward to seeing some pictures. (And I didn't know that about Lincoln cathedral -- makes me want to visit myself sometime!) How amazing that you could buy a house for £15,000. That blows my mind.ReplyDelete
I think that you and Dave...and maybe Olga too would love Lincoln but I don't suppose that you will get to go now that your mind has been blown. Who's cleaning it up?Delete
Congratulations to you and Shirley. I got married in 1976 so my ruby was in 2016 which I sadly celebrated on my own. Weddings were much simpler affairs in those days. I absolutely blanche at how complicated and expensive they are now -even hiring wedding planners to do it for you. Anyway congratulations and I hope you're having a lovely dayReplyDelete
These days many couples have weddings that are way beyond their means. I think we were more realistic back then and we didn't have all those glittery weddings on TV to compete with. Shame that Greg never got to celebrate your ruby wedding with you.Delete
A very happy anniversary to you and your lovely wife! I agree that 40 years is quite an achievement. We marked 36 years this summer. Enjoy your trip.ReplyDelete
Very kind. Thank you Kelly.Delete
Congratulations and Happy Anniversary. Have a lovely time, though I'm sure, with all the walking you do, and how fit Shirley looks, you won't find Steep Hill too taxing.ReplyDelete
We took our time climbing up Steep Hill but it is not too bad really.Delete
Congratulations to you both - have a lovely time!ReplyDelete
Thank you Margie. Our daughter is back from Toronto now.Delete
Congratulations to you both and wishing you many more to come! We are slightly ahead of you having been married 47 years in September. There's no-one I would swap him for even now! We honeymooned in Jersey but have never been back there since.ReplyDelete
What happened in Jersey stays in Jersey. Thanks Jo.Delete
Happy Anniversary and a good tribute of your wedding. I have never met anyone who regretted having a simple wedding. I have met more than a handful who wished they hadn't spent all that money just for a wedding.ReplyDelete
It's good to live within one's means - even when it comes to weddings.Delete
What a wonderful love-filled post Neil. Many congratulations to you and Shirley, and the very best of wishes for all that is ahead for you both. xReplyDelete
So kind Elizabeth. Thank you.Delete
The last time we visited Lincoln was for our eldest son Peter's passing out parade in the Air force. I still have a tiny little imp somewhere that I bought at the time.ReplyDelete
Happy Anniversary to you both.
I hope you gave Peter some smelling salts when he passed out. Only kidding - it must have been a very proud day for you all.Delete
Happy 40th to you and Shirley. Wishing you many more happy years together. Looks like you had a great trip. Lovely pictures and big adventure on the roof of the cathedral. x0x0 N2ReplyDelete