No April Fool!

(another) Fifty years on.

April 1st 1972 – no April Fools! In the spirit of honesty and confession, I write. Not with a sense of disappointment or disgrace but with acceptance that all things pass; a George Harrison reference! It was a good day!

It was fifty years ago that Jane and I celebrated our marriage. For various reasons it wasn’t in the easiest circumstances: I don’t need to share all those. But I was happy. Happy, excited, scared, detached from the realities of setting up a life together – but we were embarking on this voyage across the years hand in hand.

April 1972

No flash cars – I didn’t drive; although I had a licence. No smart, new marital home; although we had secured the rent on a little two up two down in the back streets of Kenilworth. No big salaries; I was a an Assistant Head Waiter in a commercial hotel in the same historic town. 

However friends and family came together to celebrate – the ceremony at Warwick Registry Office, of which I have no recollection and then a hotel in Leamington Spa, of which I do have memories. We left the reception drinking Champagne from the bottle as we were taken to the Train Station for a short honeymoon in Oxford. By this stage I was cushioned by the prospects of this voyage by the drink and my ability to compartmentalise (push down) my true feelings. It was a very happy, although nerve-tingling day.

The Guest House that I’d booked – by a letter in the post actually turned out to be some sort of Hostel with swarms of international students in every room! But all was well. We enjoyed a few days in the Cotswolds – there is photographic evidence although my memory is rather hazy of the various locations. What I do remember is getting across the countryside by bus and hitch-hiking: complete with a big red suitcase! All good fun when your just turned Twenty One – or not! We returned home with one penny (still “New Penny” in those days)

A mooooo-dy fellah

There were many ups and downs in the next few months. Disappointments and anxieties and some fine achievements. I’ll possibly write more about these in the coming months.

Would you buy a used car from this fellow?

In a nutshell, I changed my job the work at the Kenilworth Golf Club – that almost deserves a chapter on it’s own merits! I bought a car – that was fun! He was Stanley – a custard and white sauce 1959 Ford Consul Classic. By September we had relocated to Bexleyheath. I had a job, my first, in the NHS – the Woolwich Group Hospital Management Committee. It was run by ex-RAF-types and Spinsters. I was Assistant Catering Officer at St Nicholas and Goldie Leigh Hospitals. I worked under a great boss: John Sheehan.

1972 really was a seminal year. It was probably the beginning of adulthood for me. A process that took another thirty years or so to complete. I was still a bit of an Underground music or Prog-Rock sort of fellow.

More of this year, and beyond, to be shared in the coming months.

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