Wednesday, 19 August 2009


My parents were married on Monday 19 August 1946, my mother's thirty-eighth birthday.

And here they are stepping out into the sunshine from the Church of the Most Precious Blood, Sidmouth, Devon.

The bride looks smart in her suit (she would have said 'costume', with the stress on the second syllable) and rather daring hat.

Rationing, my mother's status as a widow and her no-nonsense views on unnecessary expense provide clues, if any are needed, to the absence of a conventional wedding dress.

(The photographer subsequently adapted the print, thoughtfully blanking out the smiling lady who unintentionally causes my mother to look as if she has two heads.)

Marrying at an age when many couples are moving towards grandparenthood, the newlyweds are smilingly unaware of the speed with which they are about to be engulfed by family life.

By the time their fourth wedding anniversary arrived, they were parents to three boys.

My father (born 1900) lived another thirteen years. This November brings the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

Today brings the sixty-third anniversary of their marriage - and my late mother's 101st birthday.

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