I remember sitting on the mat in front of the living room fire while I put my shoes on, just before the car arrived to take us to church, and what mum said to me. I remember arriving in church and at a minute past noon Big David turning to me and saying "she's not coming, you know", just like I had told him to do. But Viv did turn up, with a great many guests watching us, and a celebration took place. I've said many times that a wedding is important, bu that it is not an end in itself: it is the start of a marriage.
Our marriage started with a wedding reception, followed by a rail journey to London. We travelled first class and spent the first two nights in the Bloomsbury Crest Hotel. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I still hadn't found anywhere fo us to stay for the first nights, but I found a brochure in a hotel on a business trip promoting short honeymoon stays. Double room, breakfast, London tube pass and first class rail. What could be better?
A lot has changed in eighteen years. On Monday, we flew to Lusaka and on to Harare for our honeymoon. Zimbabwe was a magnificent place for us to go. Now, we can't imagine going there again, but I hope it will be possible and sensible one day.
A lot has changed. We went to our home in Birmingham, where David was born before we went to spend three years in Vanuatu. Matthew was born there; Christopher was born shortly after we arrived in New Zealand, where we stayed for twelve years.
Now, we are in England, where it all started. Our sea freight has arrived from New Zealand and we are trying to find places for it all. We have almost finished wiping the brown tobacco stains off the living room ceilings, we have only about half a dozen tea chests unopened in the garage but that will change. A skip is in the drive again, filling up with cardboard boxes, duplicate books, broken furniture and anything else that needs to go: mattresses, a barbecue, lampshades, you name it...
Tonight, dinner at The Dibby for both of us, our two sons here and Viv's mum.