A Day To Remember.

It’s about 03.10 as I begin to write this and I’ve been awake for a while. Outside the wind is whistling through the fir trees on the neighbour’s property. Fir cones from the trees on that land are peppering my roof and tumbling down to the yard below, one of the reasons for me being awake. Another reason, the main one, is that it is the day of our wedding anniversary and I was thinking about Cynthia. The words of that Sinatra song, One For My Baby, kept going through my head:

It’s quarter to three
There’s no one in the place ‘cept you and me
So set ’em’ up Joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know
We’re drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road
Cynthia loved listening to Frank Sinatra sing.

Well it was quarter to three, there is no one in the place ‘cept me, I got a little story I think you might like to know, I’m drinking tea my friends, to the memory of a great episode in my life, and this is one for my baby but I don’t know if there will be any more of these epistles for the road.

Today would have been the 53rd anniversary of our marriage. Maybe you’re doing the math now to work out the wedding date.  Yes you got it right, it was Jan.03 1966. I didn’t write anything on this day in 2018 or 2017 but today for some reason it feels good to be writing.

Dear Fr. Bowden, the curate who married us.

Our wedding day was a great day. It was remarkable for us in many ways. We had decided to get married in the previous October during a half term school break back in the UK. We’d motored down to Wales from Camberley in Surrey, about thirty miles west of London. We asked for our parents’ permission to marry even though we were determined to go ahead anyway. What was remarkable was not that they agreed, for they all knew we would one day be wed, but that Cynthia’s mother told us we would have to make all the arrangements ourselves as she was too ill to help with that.

Cynthia receives a call from a college friend in Australia

Cynthia never hesitated, but gave her mum a hug and got on with things immediately. She basically dragged me around in her slipstream as we booked the church with Fr. Bowden the curate at her local church. We booked the local hotel for the reception. We organized wedding cars and drivers etc. etc. By the time our weekend at home was done and we were heading back to Camberley, most of the organizing had been completed. Just a little later Cynthia went to London and hired all her wedding apparel…gown, shoes, veil and so on. It was a remarkable feat on her part.

L_R. cuz Brian Davies, Alan Jones, Geoff Tibbs, John Rees rear, Garath Hill, Lyndon Lewis, Bruce Davies, Howard Shurn, Barrie (Sammy)Davies in front.

The wedding day itself went beautifully, at least from my perspective. However, I know there wasn’t a great start to it for Cynthia as her lovely, but ailing Mum had a fall on the morning of the wedding. Nothing was going to deter her from getting to the wedding. In the end Cynth’s mum recovered and all was well.

Cynthia chats with little cousins Kieron, Sian, Elizabeth

The wedding went beautifully, the reception was great, with family and friends in attendance. After the speeches and the luncheon we  had some singing. One of my friends named John decided to give us his version of Where Have All The Flowers Gone That would have been great except John couldn’t carry a tune even if you gave him a bucket! Nevertheless, we all had a good laugh and other friends even started tossing pennies and other coins at John.  It was a really good time.

Cynthia tosses her bouquet. Elizabeth looks quite bored.

Soon it was time for us to leave as we had to get back to our little apartment in Camberley as school was starting on the Monday. We spent our wedding night, Saturday, in a posh hotel in Bristol. There was no honeymoon because of the imminent start of school the following Monday and also because we could not afford one.

Yup, we had a cake!

Our little apartment, supported by the local school district as housing costs were beyond our means, was a simple but efficient place. It was one of six in a block of apartments, all housing teachers who worked in the Camberley School district., and all in the same financial situation as us. We had no cooker, stove, range whatever you wish to call it. That came months later in the form of a belated gift from dear friends Michael and Janet. Until then, we managed with a hot plate. We even managed to cook kippers in a plastic bag in the electric kettle! We had each other and life was good.

Best man Garath. He now lives in Powell River, B.C. Canada, a ferry ride from me.

Cousin Rosaleen far right. College friends Janet, Margaret, Babs, Judy.

Bridesmaids. My cousin Angela (right) and Cynthia’s cousin Elizabeth

Outside the church

We were so happy.

Cynthia with her dad.

I could write more but I feel this is enough to satisfy what was driving me to write in the first place. I should get back to bed and try to sleep. This has been one post for my baby!

‘Bye for now and God bless.

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Europe 2016

On May 06, Cynthia and I set off on our adventure to Europe. We had planned a river cruise in the Bordeaux region of France, exploration of N. Ireland by car and a visit to friends and relatives in England and Wales. We ended the trip with two days spent on our own on the Isle of Wight, the island at the south of England. I’ve included some links along the way if you wish to delve deeper. (By the way, once you click a link, a new window should open. Use the back button on your computer to return to this post.)

We boarded the vessel Viking Forseti in Bordeaux and spent the next week or so sailing the rivers Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne, mostly in the red circle on the map.bordeaux-tours2

Welcomed Aboard

Welcomed Aboard

We tasted wines from all the regions. We were given hints on how to taste wines. However, the piece of information I liked best came from one of the guides at a chateau…”in the end, it really comes down to what you like and enjoy”. We saw many lovely towns and villages in the region and loved them all. Bordeaux is a beautiful city and well worth visiting. If you’d like to take a peek at some info on a wine tour click here. This is not what we did by the way, but similar. Viking Cruises did a wonderful job of  the tour. As always, the ship and staff were great.

With good friends

With good friends

Next we boarded a flight from Bordeaux to Dublin for stage two, the drive around Northern Island. We picked up a car at Dublin airport and headed north-west. We stayed mostly at small bed and breakfast homes and they were all excellent. We visited many tourist sites including the cliffs at Slieve League, a reconstructed folk village at Glencolmcillie, the Giant’s Causeway and of course the city of Belfast. As always the scenery was spectacular and the people so kind and helpful.

Cliffs at Slieve League

Cliffs at Slieve League

At Glencolmcillie Village

At Glencolmcillie Village

From Dublin we flew to Gatwick airport and picked up a car again. We visited friends in the village of Cuddesdon, Oxford. This tiny village is the home of Ripon College of Oxford University and produces the Archbishops of Canterbury. We saw family in Kingham in the Cotswolds of England, a very beautiful area of England should you be visiting.

With family, Kingham, the Cotswolds.

With family, Kingham, the Cotswolds.

Then it was on to see friends in the village of Gilwern near Abergavenny in Wales, where we visited and toured a primary school.

With Dil and Sandra in Wales

With Dil and Sandra in Wales

Cousins came next, in Abertillery (our home town) and Risca in Wales, and then on to cousins in Portsmouth on the south coast of England. If you are interested in anything naval, Portsmouth should be a must see for you.

More family, Porthcawl, Wales

More family, Porthcawl, Wales

Pub night with family in Portsmouth

Pub night with family in Portsmouth

We ended the trip with a two day visit to the Isle of Wight. We went for two reasons: 1. we hadn’t been there before 2. a friend who was born and lived there ’til teens recommended we go. We toured around the island seeing sights. It’s very easy to do this quickly in a car for the  island is diamond shaped, being 13 miles north to south and about 27 miles east to west. we had a good time in spite of the weather turning sour on us.

Glassblower, Isle of Wight

Glassblower, Isle of Wight

The connections home on June 03 were great. We were very tired and so glad to see Ben who met us at the airport. It had been a good trip. Thanks for tagging along.

If you wish to see more pics of our trip click here.

If you’d like to see a short video of our trip click below

‘Bye for now and God bless.

 

 

Viking River Cruise-Apr./May 2013 (8)

Outside The Opera House, Budapest

Outside The Opera House, Budapest

Sunday, April 28-Day 9

Today, we knew, would be our musical interlude day. We, Don and Lynore, breakfasted with some good folks from Summerland B.C. who arrived on the ship yesterday. After breakfast we took a stroll around the deck or got ready to leave and at 10.30 our taxi driver was waiting for us at the reception desk. After a quick , 10 euro rip-off ride, we were at the front of the Opera House. Lynore had booked seats for us to see the Puccini Opera, Tosca. (If you’d care to watch the movie, and have the time, click here.)

Within minutes we were inside and impressed already. The lobby was gorgeous and we paused to take it all in as attendees streamed past us up to the balconies. Lynore had good seats as we were six rows from the front in, more or less,  the middle. We, like many others, took pics of the house and oohed and aahed in all the right places.

Waiting For The Start

Waiting For The Start

The opera began, and the 60+ piece orchestra pounded out the overture. There was no doubt we’d be able to hear well! The opera set was magnificent as were the voices and within minutes we were spellbound. Cynthia assured me we had seen La Boheme in Cardiff while in school in Wales, but I had no recollection of that…this was my first opera, and I was loving it.

Three hours later, apart from two 15 minute breaks for set changes, we exited the Opera house. Rather, three of us exited while Lynore floated down the staircases, still swept up in the performance. It was magnificent.

We crossed Andrassy Ut and strolled down to Franz Liszt square, named in honour of the great composer. On the way, Lynore told me that Liszt caused a stir among performers as he was the first to play recitals WITHOUT music. The square was lovely in itself, and full of energy as people buzzed through it. There were many sidewalk cafés so we piled into one and ordered goulash soup for lunch. It was full of meat, veggies and potatoes, a meal in itself. After a brief stroll three of us took a cab back to the ship while Don went walkabout again.

Vendor Selling Pastries, Strudels On the Riverbank

Vendor Selling Pastries, Strudels On the Riverbank

As the weather is so beautiful and the temp about 25 degrees. Cynthia took her book on deck to read as did Lynore.

The ship left Budapest around 9.30 pm. We went on deck to watch the departure but also to see the city lit at night. It was spectacular.

The Chain Bridge From The Sundeck Of Our Ship

The Chain Bridge From The Sundeck Of Our Ship

Goodbye for now and God bless, but before you go, if you’d like to hear some music from the great man himself, Franz Liszt, click here

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