On the 18th August Mark and I will have been married for 25 Years.
We decided earlier in the year that we didn't want a big party... this is an celebration that we would prefer to spend with our closest family. So next weekend my parents; my sister, brother-in-law and their girls; Mark's Dad, brother and his partner are going to join us for 'a trip down memory lane'..
When Mark and I met, my family lived on the edge of Oxford and his family lived about 14 miles to the north in a small village. Our first date was at 'The Trout' - a beautiful pub by the river Thames. We are going to start the day with coffee at the pub. To prompt more memories I'm going to create some 'Souvenir Programmes' for everyone the day.... including photos of the early days, our engagement party, the wedding, these up-to-date images that I took when I went to collect Gordon last week, and the menu for our celebration lunch.
This river-side terrace has featured on lots of TV programmes over the years.. especially Inspector Morse. In 1985 this was the main route into the pub (and it was a cold, dark January night!)
In the mid-eighties this was the bar area. We sat by an enormous open fire and Mark talked about Banger Car Racing. (I drank Pernod and lemonade, and tried to nod intelligently at the right moments!)
This is the tiny Medieval church where we were married at 12.00 on 18th August 1990.
(I went to the little village school and had really special memories of services here, so we chose this church rather than the larger 1950s one at the other end of the parish when it came to our special day)
The footpath between the school and the church is still there...just as I remember it!
These buildings were the old Victorian school and school-masters cottage. The year that I started Infants the school finally moved into the 'new build' a little further along the lane. The cottage was let to the family of one of my friends so I have strong memories of playing in the tiny rooms. The school was converted into a larger house.
..And here's the pub where my sister and I did most of our socialising through Sixth Form and University. It's just round the corner from the church (we even went for a drink there after the wedding rehearsal). It also has a huge, shady river-side garden and a good reputation for food - so it's going to be the venue for our family meal next week.
I couldn't resist a wander through the village to see what's changed... or not!
(North Hinksey is actually right next to Oxford's Southern Bypass - but these photos make it look as if it's in the middle of nowhere...)
This was the entrance to the home of my best friend from Secondary School.
(Her family were much 'posher' than the rest of us but they thought that the daughters should have a comprehensive education and 'mix with the world'. Of-course our paths never crossed once she left the local comp. for a private Sixth Form education. Nevertheless, I have great memories of meals with her family and exploring this enormous and quirky old house..)
And finally I couldn't resist a trip back to the 'Rec' near our old house in Botley.
There's an immense view to the North and 'the swings of dreams' (where I spent most of my free time from 14 - 20, rocking back and forth with my friends and plotting our futures...)
It's a strange feeling to go back after so many years...
- 48 years old and just 'retired'
- planning a silver wedding celebration
Kind of 'grown up but not'....!