24 September 2010
My Lovely Girl
It's late on a dull and windy Friday afternoon.
Looking through the television listings for tonight I spotted something that took my mind racing back to another Friday afternoon.
One exactly 45 years ago today - almost to the minute.
Back then, on that long-ago Friday, you and I were busy with final preparations for our wedding the following day.
Everything was pretty well under control - for the wedding and our honeymoon abroad.
Wedding dress and outfits ready, car and flowers ordered, suitcases packed, travellers cheques and foreign currency bought, and your 'new' passport with the registrar, ready for handing over after the ceremony.
All the last minute things were nicely in place.
Or so it seemed.
W and P were bringing my mother over with them. They had said they would be with us in Muswell Hill around three to three-thirty.
All I had to do then was follow W and P up to town, get them checked into their hotel, and then run W round to Moss Bros to pick up his suit.
After that, it was back to your place to pick up my mother and take her down to Chislehurst, where she was staying with B and T.
Then it was back to Barnet where I was to spend the night.
No chance of seeing my lovely bride-to-be until we met at the alter.
Neither of us would ever forgot that afternoon.
Three o'clock came and went. As did three-thirty. Then four o'clock.. and four thirty. It was fast approaching five when they eventually turned up.
Knowing that Moss Bros closed at six, I raced W and P up to town and got there just as they were shutting the doors.
On the way driving down to Chislehurst, I quietly queried my mother on why they were so late arriving.
Was it traffic or a breakdown? Or did they get lost somewhere?
It turned out to be none of these things.
On the way down they had seen signs for the then, newly-opened Coventry Cathedral and just thought it would be nice to go and see it as they were passing.
By then it was dark. She never got to see the reaction on my face.
Well, as you know, I got her to Chislehurst and made my way back to Barnet, much later than expected.
Still, everything turned out fine the next day.
And the programme tonight?
It's called 'Climbing Great Buildings'.
It involves someone climbing the outside of well-known buildings and talking about their architecture.
Tonight it features - you've guessed it - Coventry Cathedral.
I doubt it's something we would have watched together.
And I won't either.
Too many memories to think about tonight, from the last wonderful forty-five years.
Miss you so, my love.
Yours, for ever.