64 years ago my Mum and Dad got married.


They met two years previous to that when my Dad was on home on his last leave from the Royal Navy. Mum had reluctantly agreed to attend a New Year’s Eve party with her friend. She recalls trudging across farmer’s fields to get there. She was with her friend, another Irene, and they met my Dad and his best mate, Colin.

Dad always said he knew he would marry my Mum as soon as he met her. He nearly blew it altogether by standing her up on their first arranged date because his Mum disapproved of him going out with a Roman Catholic.

That hiccup got resolved when they met at a dance hall and they started courting. The other Irene and Colin were going out together two so it was quite the foursome. Colin and Irene married and I suppose it was inevitable that Mum and Dad would follow suit.

The photos of their wedding are lovely – two innocent young adults starting out on life together. They had a weekend in Blackpool prior to this happy day and both have reassured me and I believe them that they had single rooms and there was no what my son would refer to as funny business.

Mum did not choose a white dress and had her own individual style in a blue suit. Dad looks smart as he always did. Both were incredibly good-looking.

Like with most weddings, there was a little drama. Mum fell out with one of her sisters before the wedding so she did not attend. Most of my Dad’s family did not attend due to Mum being a Catholic. Mum used to recall walking into the church and seeing one side almost empty. They had to stay outside the altar rails and various other sanctions for being a mixed marriage.

Their honeymoon was in a borrowed caravan at Cayton Bay on the East coast. Mum said she knew she had made a good choice when Dad warmed her nightie for her before bedtime. That story has always touched me.

They started married life in a tiny house and were thrilled when they go a police house with Dad’s new job.

Almost 2 years after getting married, they had one son and another followed 14 months later.

Dad kept his faith and my mum hers for 10 years. Dad always attended Mass with her on Sundays and converted to the faith after a decade of learning all about it.

They were very involved in church and community work. Their social life revolved around the church hall and the Irish National Club with the occasional Police Ball where Mum tended to turn up looking like a film star.

Mum had a gall bladder operation which left her unable to have other children. She longed for a daughter and in 1969, they fostered me and the next year made it all official with my adoption.

What were the strong points of their marriage?

They loved each other.

They really did the bit about being there for each other in sickness in health, for richer for poorer and all that.

They both were rebels – I knew this about my Mum but it took me years to work out that Dad was rebellious too.

She was talkative and he was taciturn unless there was something worth saying. They were both great story-tellers.

She has a ribald sense of humour whereas he tended to be more strait-laced about things.

They put each other’s mental wellbeing. When Dad was being bullied in the police force, Mum told him to leave despite not having a back-up plan financially. When Mum was ill with her nerves, Dad for a period was Mum and Dad to me,

They cared for the other one’s family. Mum cared for Dad’s grandma and parents. Dad helped her when my Uncle attempted suicide and when my other uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer taking him into the family home.

They prepared for death by teaching each other the roles the other had carried in the marriage. So Dad learned how to cook and clean. Mum learned about finances and DIY or at least Dad tried to teach her but she soon lost interest.

Dad would do anything for Mum. If she wanted something, she got it. If she wanted to go anywhere, he would get her there. If she wanted to try something new, she would have his backing.

I did not really see how much Mum was totally behind Dad too until after she became ill with cancer. She was so concerned he would not manage without her. After she died, Dad told me how she forgave him for silly misdemeanours like leaving her at home with two young boys after work whilst he went to the pub with colleagues. He got a shop after leaving the police force and when he got a new job, she kept the shop running for 11 years with young sons around her legs. When the stress of a case he handled late in his insurance career got to him, she supported him when he took early retirement.

When I think about Mum and Dad I think about home and always feeling secure there. I think of great conversation and lots of laughter. I think of explorations and travel.

Sadly, they did not quite make their 60th wedding anniversary missing it by just over a year.

They are reunited now and doubtless saying “Isn’t it about time you got yourself to bed, lass?”

Kenneth and Irene, Irene and Kenneth – it just worked.


My Random Musings
Hot Pink Wellingtons

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

I can’t quite believe it is time to do my weekly reasons to be cheerful post again. Funny old week in which I lost Internet access for a few days which is not good news for a blogger. Anyway I am back whether you missed me or not.

Here is my smile-inducing stuff this week.

1. I did not throw anything through the window when the Internet problem showed up. I took it in my stride and did constructive things with the time I usually spend online. I must be maturing in my old age.

2. I have caught up with things today so am feeling much more on top of things. I did not like having to post Striking Mums late as I know some mums look out for it on Thursdays.

3. My teenage son came home with a milky bar after me telling a story about how my parents used to bribe me to behave in church by giving me one during the service. He often brings me little gifts out of his own spend which I think goes to show what a lovely son I have.

4. The same son is now on the Special Needs register which pleases me as one day someone might actually accept that he has a condition as I am pretty sure he has something possibly dyspraxia but getting a diagnosis seems nigh on impossible.

5. My younger son went to the GP yesterday as he was complaining about pains around his body. The GP gave him a really good check and thinks the pains are probably the aftermath of a mild infection and that they will pass in time. We are to go back for blood tests if that proves not to be the case. My son was worrying and now feels a lot better.

6. My daughter continues to be gorgeous putting styles together and having her own very firm opinions on things.

7. Him Indoors has worked late this week which suits me as I have chilled early evenings doing my own thing and then enjoy his company when he gets in.

8. We went to an superb presentation on the Autumn Night Sky at Winchester Science Centre on Saturday night. I know feel so much more confident about constellations and will be looking out for them. Have always felt clueless on such things before. The children were gripped as the presenter was so passionate and humorous and linked the starts to stories of Ancient Greece.

9. On Sunday, we visited Butser Ancient Farm on its last weekend opening of 2014. We went round a variety of roundhouses and a Roman villa. We learned about food by tasting it, enjoyed the herb garden, tried on armour, played with Roman numerals and enjoyed time with pigs, sheep and goats.

10. We have good plans for the weekend ahead.

Today I am talking about how being different is good for my Striking Mums post.

For most of my life, I hated feeling different from other people. Odd because I was adopted, strange because we visited London and other far-flung places at weekends, not normal because I liked learning and not fun because I did not like sport. Of course, all I wanted to be was popular. Nothing much has changed on that score. An old friend once told me that everyone likes to be liked but that with me it is almost an obsession. My husband tells me it is impossible for everybody to like me and I should look at the calibre of people that do.

I felt a little more at home when I went to Cambridge because however they acted, inevitably most people there had a love of learning. My differences there were celebrated as just being amusing or quirky.

After 3 years back to normal society and struggling again to find a place where I fit. As someone said to me this week on Twitter, if you don’t fit in, perhaps it is because you are born to stand out. How inspirational is that?!

If the blogging world, I have found kindred spirits who seem to get me. I like that. It makes me feel safe and I see blogging as a sanctuary.

Do you like this?


Here are this week’s questions to consider.

1. Are you different and, if so, how?

2. Do you celebrate your uniqueness or strive to fit in?

3. Are you ever judgemental of other mums who are different from you? Answer honestly even if only in your own head.

4. What would you like to be different about you?

5. Have you ever being attacked or bullied for being different? How did that affect you?

6. If you had to write an advert for yourself as a limited edition ,what would you say to make people think you were great?

I would love to have your comments and if you blog in any way about yourself and how you are taking steps tiny or otherwise to change your life, please link up below. I will comment on every post, promote them on my social networks and include links in a round-up post next week.

Please use the hashtag #strikingmums on social networks.

Please grab the rather attractive Striking Mums badge in the sidebar and display on your blog.

Most of all, please visit the other people linking up to lend them your support.

I have set up a Facebook group for Striking Mums – you don’t have to be a blogger to join this. You do have to be a mum.

I have also set up a Pinterest board for Striking Mums

Have a good week and I look forward to celebrating just how different you are.

    We went to the Natural History Museum in London on Sunday.


    On our home education journey, I have worked out that we can pack our weekends with stuff so that Him Indoors can join in too.

    We had a great day and I intend to blog a review at some point with photographs.

    My son said he wanted a Mining kit so as we now save on school lunch monies, we were happy to let him have it. Of course, as soon as we got home he wanted to mine. He was a bit disappointed that he could not find the minerals hidden in the sand block immediately. He wants to be an archaeologist so this gave him a real insight into how it can take a long time to discover just one item and that patience is required. Like myself, patience is not his strong point.

    My daughter helped him and was lovely at using lots of reassuring words. Both myself and Him Indoors pitched in but at the end of the evening, we had only released one gemstone.

    The next day, my son started again. At one point, he felt that water might speed things up and headed to the downstairs bathroom. Then the children went into the garden and soon were showing my their finds.

    When I went to the loo later, I found that the plug in the sink was lodged and not to be moved with sand around the edges making it impossible to shift. I was not best pleased. When you rent rather than own your own home, such things are big worries.

    My son had done nothing wrong but I can do without irritations like this and I wondered how Him Indoors would react.

    When he came home from work, I outlined the situation. He went off to the bathroom and was back within seconds saying it was all OK now. It turns out that he knew there is a lever which lifts up the plug. Nobody told me!

    So my son and daughter learned they need patience to make great finds.

    I discovered that things aren’t always what they seem and sometimes I worry way too much.

    This is my Magic Moment of the Week.

    I thought I would write this tomorrow but I am hurting tonight.

    Dad died 2 years ago tomorrow as the seasons changed.

    I went upstairs to my bedroom earlier. Nobody came up to see me or not until New Tricks was finished because that is more important.

    I am hurting because I know Dad would have been there no matter how tired he was, how much pain he was in himself, whatever programme was on the telly or how dazzling his career was. I guess I was spoiled. Nobody will love me like that again.

    My children tell me how vital he was to this family. They remember him giving them custard creams after school. My eldest son remembers being bullied and none of my efforts working. Granddad advised to thump the bully and (although I banged on about pacifism) it was the one thing that worked. They remember how my Dad had a good relationship with pets being particularly fond of our ginger tom Maximus.

    My daughter tells me my Dad always meant happy family and smiling faces.

    I have done a lot of things that Dad would have loved to hear about in the last 2 years – awards, trips abroad and even making money. I blogged out his memoirs and people read them. Dad always believed I under-sold myself. He wanted me to believe that people did really like me (something I always struggled with).

    On the home education front, Dad would have said “It’s a new idea to me but if you think you can do it, I know you can and that you will have thought it all through.” He would have asked me if I needed any money or any help at all. He would have thrown himself into a new adventure and I would have known I was not alone with it.

    And with Dad’s impeccable sense of timing it is midnight and a new day and he is still dad and still dead.

    Rest in peace Dad until we meet again. I miss you.