Thursday, February 23, 2006


Story contd.

Matron had given me permission, before she left, to take my holiday to coincide with the wedding. It wasn’t possible for Annie to get the same time off and most of my old school friends were working, but Sarah – an old family friend whose mother was at Grammar school with mine – was free and keen to join me for a walking holiday after the wedding.

You had to get used to change at the Convalescent Home; the children came for three weeks and then were replaced by another batch, this would be our second Matron, we were on our third Staff Nurse and our fourth Assistant Nurse. The new Matron was Scottish and would say ‘Nairse’ for ‘Nurse’

‘Nairse Green get the children in the play-room just now.’
Nurse Green would rise and make for the door…
‘No Nairse not now – just now.’
Weird! But I suppose we’d get used to it.

I said goodbye to everyone and told Annie that once we had started at the Hospital we would be able to have time off together. All was hectic at home – a melange of dresses, flowers, cakes, taxis and sleeping arrangements. And everybody was nervous about the Visitors.

There was a great North /South Divide and Paul, his family, best man and two of Maddie’s fellow art students were all B….y Southerners. I suspect we all had a slight chip on our shoulders – it’s not as if we were very ‘broad’.

‘Eeeh lass sit thissen down – tha looks clemmed and thy’rt wichart. Utch up to’t fire and I’ll get thee a brew.’
We would only say that amongst ourselves. The Visitors would be treated to,
‘Do sit down. You look cold and your feet are wet. Come close to the fire and I will make you a cup of tea.’

But there wasn’t much we could do about the accent. A’s were flat and that was that! But as Mum said ’if we all just be ourselves and make them welcome it’ll be alright.’

The aunts had retired and sold the shoe shop. They now lived in a pleasant house up on the hill so there was room for some of the guests and the rest would stay at the hotel in the town where the reception was to be held. As usual our house was bulging and Dad had now got an incubator in Evan’s bedroom so we had the excitement every morning of shining a torch to see if there were any fluffy yellow chickens.

The Aunts gave a party the night before and we all met up and mingled. Sean was very handsome and very aware of it. In fact both he and Paul gave the impression that women had been swooning over them for the last two years, and they probably had. Paul’s father, who I already knew, was as usual a fund of interesting stories and he seemed to enjoy having an appreciative audience. His family, who had heard them all before, were less attentive.

Margaret’s girl friends were, to me, the height of sophistication. One of them grabbed a tray of goodies, leant over Sean, flashing her embonpoint, and intoned in a sexy voice,
‘Sean. Can I tempt you?’
Bloody ‘ell!

All the Southerners spoke beautifully and would have beat Wilfred Pickles for a job on the wireless any day of the week. ( Wilfred Pickles was a famous Yorkshire man and for those of you who are not familiar with Lancashire and Yorkshire History I would point out that it isn’t wise to confuse the two and, of course, we won ‘The War of the Roses’ )

On the day the sun shone and it was warm – a rarity in the valley. Maddie looked lovely and Dad was very smart in black jacket and striped trousers – his ’boiled ham suit’ he called it – only used for weddings and funerals. Evan looked very grown up in long trousers and was a brilliant usher. We all trooped up the left aisle, past our pew under the stained glass window of the Good Samaritan and the congregation peeked round to look at us. Paul and Sean looked stunning in their uniforms – thank goodness it wasn’t that scratchy khaki that our uncles and cousins had worn.

It was funny to hear Maddie repeating her vows in a shy, hesitant way whilst her left hand was nervously plucking at her dress. The organist behaved himself. He was old, very deaf and eccentric and liable to let forth a mighty chord if he felt it had all gone on too long. Back we all trooped down the other aisle past the Aunt’s pew and it was all over bar the bells and confetti.

The reception was jolly and Maddie had ‘the distinction of cutting the wedding cake with the sword of her officer bridegroom’ according to the local rag. I thought the Aunts should have been more to the fore but they were content to stay in the background and see the girl they had reared married.

Before the happy couple left for Scotland, Maddie told me they were going to Oxbridge after the honey moon where Paul would take a special degree for ex-service men and she would get a teaching job. She said I must go down for my next holiday and we could meet up again with Liam and MTL.

That night Sean said he wanted to write a play about me but someone ha already done it. ‘The Constant Nymph’. I remember seeing the film with Joan Fontaine. As Shirley Valentine said ‘Aren’t men a load of s..t?’


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Well, only some men, luckily for us!

AndrewM said...

Boiled ham suit - splendid!

PI said...

Zinnia: True.

andrewm: Every man should have one.

fjl said...

Nice one. Bloody 'ell..what you lot didn't get up to eh? xx
Nicely reported.

kenju said...

I'm sure glad you translated what you were saying - otherwise I'd have never figured it out!

PI said...

fjl: Thank you.

kenju: It's like another world now.

Guyana-Gyal said...

We say 'just now' too, meaning not right now, a little later. Hmm, so it's the Scots we got it from, there were Scots and Welsh here during the colonial days.

Oh my goodness, she sure knew how to flirt, eh? ‘Sean. Can I tempt you?’

Hehe, those family tensions, little rivalries, etc. at weddings.

PI said...

GG: Isn't that interesting?

That sort of flirting was so alien to us northern lasses - but when in Rome...
No it's no good. It still makes me