Saturday, 6 August 2016

The big day

At seven this morning Rhiannon and Jasmine emerged from their tent bedroom and invaded our bed for a cuddle, as their mothers did thirty five years ago. What a lovely way to begin our Golden Wedding anniversary day.

After breakfast, with a car full of party stuff, Clare and I drove to the Old Church Rooms community hall in Radyr, which we'd hired for our celebration. The key code we'd been given for the main door didn't work, so we had to call the caretaker to let us in. We arrived in time to welcome and brief the reputed Elgano caterering team, looking after us, and once this was done, we returned home to don our party clothes, just as the others were leaving with all the materials to decorate the hall festively.

Owain went directly to Radyr by train and joined the others there at the hall. Ann and Anneke came all the way by train from Felixstowe, also our university friend Nan arrived by train from Swindon, having been given a lift there by car from Devon. Nephew Nick came down from Edinburgh, via Exeter, where he went to see his mother Daphne, now in a care home nearby. The longest and most complex journey was nephew Julian, from Dubai to Cork to Bristol by various aircraft, then to Weston super Mare by car to pick up his mother, Pauline, my elder sister, who came with my niece Nicky. Sister June sadly felt unable to travel from London, given her limited mobility these days. None my father's siblings survive, just Mary the wife of the youngest, who also cannot travel distances these days. We are now the older generation, even if we don't feel it!

Friends came that we'd made over the years, my Best Man Mike and his wife Gail from university days sat at the top table with us. Graham, who was at St Mike's the same time as me and his wife Eleri whom I knew from SCM in those days. Martin, whom I prepared for baptism in my first curacy at St Andrew's Caerphilly and later became a priest, with his spouse Chris. 

From Birmingham student chaplaincy days, Angela with daughter Lydia and grand daughter Becky, a near neighour in Bournbrook Road. Her youngest two children grew up with ours. 

Richard, Curate in St Pauls when I arrived and his wife Jo. Jane, who lived in St Agnes Vicarage attic in our time, along with three dance colleagues making performances with her friend Charlie. Clare's friend Marion came, with her daughter Emily plus two of her eight grandchildren, Em was Kath's best friend in primary school. 

From Halesowen days, came former churchwarden Ken and his wife Joan now living in Devon where Ken is once more a churchwarden, plus retired local GP Richard and his wife Sue, whose daughter Pru made our marvellous golden anniversary cake.

There was nobody there from our Geneva days, nor from our time at St John's, although some sent cards. Our newest friend present was Diana from the Ignatian prayer group and her husband Peter.  All in all, with immediate family there were forty four of us. And
 the hall was alive with conversations, as a special playlist representing the sound track of our lives together played in the background.

Mike made a speech, and played us a piece of Bach he'd learned for the occasion on the hall's electric piano. As he said, Bach can sound good on any instrument. Kath presented us with a custom made photo album containing photos she'd acquired from family archives and other sources, covering every aspect of the fifty three years since we met. An amazing and delightful feat of editing. Then she with Rachel on guitar sang a song they'd jointly written celebrating the story of our life together, called 'Children of the Sixties'. They'd managed to write this and rehearse it in the few days they were together, and sing it so beautifully together. It was so touching.

By half past four, all our guests were leaving, and after tidying up, the family went home and continued to talk, eat and drink well until dusk, and the girls' bed-time. What a lovely happy big day.

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