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01/15/2014 Archived Entry: "55th Wedding Anniversary"

Rhoda and I celebrated 55 years of marriage a few days ago. The weather on our wedding day, 10 January 1959, was exceptional, but it was not rainstorms or floods that caused problems – it was snow, mountains of it. We were to be married at St Hedda’s Church, Egton Bridge in the Esk Valley and the previous night saw a massive fall of snow which blocked the roads to the village. However, our photographer managed to dig his way through it all and, fortunately, was able to rescue the Registrar whose car had become marooned in a snowdrift. The marriage was a Catholic ceremony and in those days one had to have a Registrar in attendance.

A snowy wedding

I arrived at the church to see Rhoda’s father and brothers clearing a path and was particularly interested to observe the Registrar also wielding a shovel. He was a retired police inspector who had been my boss when I was a raw young police cadet. I recalled with amusement another wintry day during that time when he had instructed me to clear the snow from the paths around the police station. I did so and reported back to him when I'd finished, expecting to be congratulated on my work. But no, he definitely wasn't pleased with my efforts and berated me. "Walker! You've not finished yet - you haven’t cleared the path to my front door." I didn't think clearing the path to his home was part of my duty, but I daren't object, and back I went to do as he commanded. So to see him clearing a path to the church door on our wedding day felt a little like retribution.

Soon the church entrance was clear and the guests took their seats in the freezing nave, while Rhoda walked to church in her bridal gown and wellington boots. As she entered the church the organist struck up to herald her arrival and the ceremony went ahead without further hitch. After the signing of the register, I shook hands with the Registrar and, tongue in cheek, thanked him for his contribution towards our very happy day.

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