29. Wooden love spoon
Before my marriage, when I was living and working in the Midlands, I bought my wedding dress in London and the fashion department where I worked gave me a present of pale blue French underwear. I was going to borrow my sister-in-law's veil and felt myself quite well prepared.
I traveled home to Yorkshire one weekend to finalize the wedding details. The reception and evening dance was booked for Bolton Castle, which at that time was a tumbledown, half ruin of a place, but very romantic. The castle is situated on a rise of hill with wonderful views over Wensleydale. Fred Peacock ran the castle restaurant; he was a man renowned for his delicious desserts. I gave Fred a clear description of how I would like my wedding cake, it was to be round, simple and elegant, with a centerpiece of dainty white roses on the top-most layer.
Music was organised and the invitations sent. I was ready.
I was married on St Swithin's Day and the rain poured down until just before four o'clock, the time of the wedding ceremony. We emerged from the church to sunshine and the sound of ringing bells. The vicar took fright when he heard the bells pealing, concerned for the safety of his old church tower.
By the time we arrived at Bolton Castle my long white dress had acquired a rather muddy hem. Friends took photographs of me in front of ancient, glassless windows and on crumbling battlements.
We sat at the top table for our meal in the Great Chamber. Before me was the cake. It was not round, nor was it simple; there were slippers and horseshoes. Each tier was held up in ascending glory by means of shiny silver columns. There were no roses. Oh, Fred! The cork from a champagne bottle ricocheted off a roof beam and shattered my glass. No splinters hit me, only a light sprinkling of champagne. It must have been a lucky omen - we are still together!
At some point in the evening supper was announced. When the dancing resumed the newly married couple were no longer there. We had made our escape, and so successfully that not even one tin can trailed from the rear of the getaway car. Great frustration for those members of the party who were eager for revenge, having, on their wedding day, suffered pennies in hubcaps and kippers up exhausts by my sleight of hand.
A few years ago, at my mother-in-law's funeral, relatives were recalling our wedding. "It was because of you that we had a top hat wedding," a distant cousin announced. "My mother came home and said that the bride had thrown off her shoes and danced in her bare feet!"
I have no memory of having done so but am pleased to have this image of my wedding day. And I suppose that since I had been made a gypsy style wedding cake then it was the least that I could do to throw off my shoes and dance in the same spirit!
30. German plate.
This wooden plate, now cracked from years of use, was a wedding present from our college friend, Rolf. It came with rye bread and a cotton bag of salt, traditional German gifts to confer prosperity throughout our married life. We were under strict instructions not to throw away these offerings, and we have them still!