Fifteen years ago today, John and I married and fled to France.
Our Nuptial Mass at St Peters Church in Bedford was as romantic as anyone could imagine. The celebrant, Fr Trevor, wore gold vestments. The golden chalice gleamed in the rays of the morning sun that shone through the stained glass windows.
Our witnesses, old friends Laurie Bonedeo and Rosemary Keenan, greeted us outside the church. Other friends, Morag and Taff Davies, swelled the congregation to seven.
John’s first wife, Marcia, was my close friend. John and I had been guests at each others first weddings. I’d been a frequent visitor at the Fleming household for years before Marcia died.
John and I renewed our friendship when his children invited me to his seventieth birthday party the year before we married. Maybe we married in haste. But at our age, we knew our minds, knew we wanted to spend our lives together. I’d lived alone for well over thirty years and needed no one’s permission. John probably felt the same.
After lunch at a beachside restaurant with our friends, John and I flew to Paris. At the airport, I posted cards to friends and family telling them that, by the time they got their mail, we’d be in Paris.
I’d never been to Europe because raising six children and buying a house had kept me busy (and poor). The grand tour featured strongly in my retirement plans.
Paris for me was the epitome of everything romantic.
The Davies made their quirky, delicious apartment in a three-hundred year-old building in Sete available for us after two weeks in Paris. For weeks we explored the south of France.
Yesterday, we celebrated John’s eighty-sixth birthday, at another beach side restaurant. We were again a small party – just the two of us because COVID had lain much of his family low.
Today has been quiet, as befits an old couple pleased to be celebrating together.