Tuesday 26 June 2018

From BC To BG Over Three Decades

That is, from Before Children to Becoming Grandparents. In August 1981, we moved to Gillingham in Kent, and Bob spent a year working as Student Minister at Green Street Baptist Church. In many ways I found it an extremely difficult time- our Kentish accommodation [a tiny upstairs flat] was unspeakably awful. I suffered from extreme morning sickness for most of my pregnancy, and I fell down the stairs and almost lost the baby. And there were many other things that made it hard - but the one bright spot for me was the friendship with another couple in the church. We had loads in common - like me, Val was a teacher and Girls' Brigade officer, and Philip worked for Marconi [Bob had been with them for 4 years after Uni] They visited me when I was ill, and often invited us to their lovely home.
This faded snapshot [taken by Bob] shows us at the bottom of our staircase, in April 1982, a few weeks before Liz was born. Philip had lots of hair then [as did Bob]- and he sported a fine 'tache. I had a dreadful perm [Mum thought having my hair done would boost my spirits]
You can tell it is Sunday in the 80's, we are in floaty floral dresses and I am carrying my Bible.
I think that was the last time V&P came to lunch with us. Soon after Liz was born, we move dup to London. Since then we kept in touch at Christmas and with the occasional email.
But 36 years have passed. We've moved house seven times, they have moved once. We've been in different churches, but they are still at Green Street. Val is still involved with children's work at church, Phil's still working for Marconi. 
Perhaps more importantly, Bob and I have two daughters now, and a granddaughter- and they have two daughters and granddaughters! [oh, and Bob and Philip have both recently acquired lathes and started wood-turning]
And last Tuesday they visited us, as they were on holiday in nearby Bournemouth. We had a brilliant day- beginning with a visit to the beautiful house and gardens of Kingston Lacey, then back for lunch. Val and I pottered preparing the meal, whilst the men went out into the garage to talk about wood.
It was like we had never been apart. Val reads Tracing Rainbows, and was saying how she'd recently made the paper-plate-crowns with her Sunday School group. She brought me a lovely sewing book as a gift [review to follow!]
And here we are outside our much nicer Dorset home. Then men have less hair, and the women have put on weight*. We've both swapped our floral skirts for jeans and navy Breton stripes.
[No, I haven't grown, I am standing on the wall of the flowerbed!]
It was good to talk of old times and old friends, and catch up properly with family news and look at photographs of grandchildren.
We agreed that God has been good to us and to our children, and blessed us all richly down the past three-and-a-half decades.
But I hope we won't leave it another 38 years before we have another lunch date! Thank you Val and Philip for such a lovely day together, and for remaining our very good friends.
* I weigh more now than I did at the end of my pregnancy!


  1. What lovely memories and how good to meet up again

  2. That is a lovely post on how easily one can meet up with old friends and feel as though it were only yesterday.
    What about contacting people that one's only exchanged Christmas cards with. Is it a good idea to revive old friendships or is that just living in the past ie nostalgia?


  3. Sue [Beachcomber] I think that because we'd stayed in contact via email/blog/cards that helped, because we knew we still had so much in common - and also that Val said she was going to be close by for a week. Maybe when people arrange a special trip to meet up, and it doesn't work out 'comfortably', they'd feel a bit disappointed. And we spent much more time talking about current activities and family than we did reminiscing about the evil damp flat and the other memories!


  4. Enjoyed reading about your early life and meeting up with your long time friends. You all look healthy and well, God and time has been good to you.


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