Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Wedding Favour

Do you know this traditional rhyme for brides?

Something old, something new,

something borrowed, something blue,

and a silver sixpence in her shoe

old new borrowed blue

I confess that until this morning, I only knew the first two lines, and wasn't aware of the ‘silver sixpence’ bit. Apparently, the custom originally was for the groom to carry a silver coin in his shoe to ensure good fortune through his married life [it works better in the left shoe, allegedly!!] Now brides have to ‘wear’ the coin.

Not being given to superstitious claptrap, it wasn’t something that bothered me 31 years ago. But this morning a colleague in the Staffroom said “Oooh! You are the sort of person who could help me, I’m sure!” [If I had a silver coin for every time a teaching colleague said that, I could probably retire to Cornerstones tomorrow!] Her friend is getting married and she has collected the first 4 items, and wanted a silver sixpence.

“Aha"!” I said, “I know exactly where my box of pre-decimal coinage is” [another positive outcome of The Dress Pattern Hunt last week] I said that if I had more than one sixpence in the box, she was welcome to have it. “Can I pay you for it?” she said “I am desperate, whatever you think it’s worth” [2½p?] I said that if I had a spare, I would happily give it to her.

6d piece

And there were three in my box! So I cleaned one up and will take it to her tomorrow.

btw quick way to clean silver coins – put a small piece of scrunched up aluminium foil in a pan, with a tsp of bicarbonate of soda and a cup of water. Put coins on the foil, and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Fish out the coins, let them cool on a piece of kitchen paper and then buff up. Your ‘filthy lucre’ will have become bright sparkly money – all the grime and tarnish will have disappeared.

Since sorting out the 6d, I have been checking out online – in the States there is the Silver Sixpence company which ships these [British] coins all over the world. Around £18 for me to get one from the US! Or £23 from the British Silver Sixpence Company, £18 for one from the Royal Mint – or £1 from eBay!

Personally I think that if I’d had a coin in my shoe on my Wedding Day, I would have been more like to suffer blisters than good luck!

I get more cynical as I get older regarding “traditions” surrounding weddings. Like that one about “The man should spend a month’s salary on the engagement ring” – that originated from a marketing campaign by De Beers [and remember, De Beers has a near monopoly on the diamond industry]

Our Bible reading this morning was all about faithfulness. If only people put as much thought, time and effort into the marriage relationship as they put into The Wedding Day, we might have fewer divorces.

Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!
Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose—  
   Never take her love for granted!


  1. I didnt realise there was any value to sixpences! I've got several but they arent going on e-Bay!

  2. Here, here. MadDad said the folloowing at his brothers wedding.

    May your marriage be modern enough to survive the times, but old fashioned enough to last forever

  3. Amen to that! "Putting more time and effort into the marriage relationship!" People are getting a little carried away with weddings these days! Some go in debt for the wedding and are divorced before it's paid off! Sad isn't it....

  4. I'm trying to remember the Americanized version of that line--I know it's not six-pense!
    You're so right about putting the same amount of effort into the marriage as went into the wedding.
    Also, I've been off-line--end of year deadlines at school, so I just caught up on your blog. Thank you so much for the comparison charts between American and British terms for cooking. I had not guessed at all that single cream meant light cream--I really had no clue--quite enlightening!


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