Fifty years ago to the date, my parents married in a register office ceremony in London, attended only by them and a few close friends. I know, because she told me, that my Mum hand stitched a green dress for the occasion. There were no photos, no grand reception, no presents and, so far as I am aware, no honeymoon, though they did spend some time in Scotland during that first year. Today would have been their goldden wedding day, had my Dad still been with us; in fact it is now almost 22 years since he died, meaning that my mum has been a widow almost as long as she was married... a sobering thought.
I am under no illusions that my parents' marriage was idyllic, they faced many challenges along the way including chronic illness, loss of a child in infancy, poverty and unemployment. They had some real humdingers of arguments at various times too. But I am also convinced that they loved and cherished their children, living sacrifically to give us opportunities they had been denied.
I'm not a great one for sentimentality, my parents brought me up to be practical rather than romantic, but today, on what would have been their Golden Wedding, it seems right to pause for a moment in gratitude and respect.
[and yes, gentle reader, it also means I have a golden birthday in ten month's time]