Tuesday 20 May 2014


We moved to the new house when I was 7. It was early in January and there was snow on the ground, a rare enough event in Sussex to make me remember it still. It was a new development and ours was one of the first houses that had been completed. We played in the street that was still part building site, I befriended an elderly couple who lived in the flats at the end of the road and whose name, sadly, now escapes me, and gradually the houses filled up.

I don't remember when Clive moved in next door but I can remember when he first popped his head over the garden fence and invited himself round for a cup of tea, I can remember when Mum told him that she wasn't making tea but that he could have a gin and tonic instead.

I can't really remember Clive not being part of our lives after that.

There are photos from that Summer dotted around the house, us at the lake where Clive went water-skiing, Mum sitting tanned in her bikini, Zoe doing handstands, me pulling faces at the camera. He invited us round for dinner which turned out to be liver casserole... Mum politely ate what she had been given, Zoe just the carrots, I cried and asked if I could go home and make a jam sandwich. He didn't cook for us again, I'm surprised we didn't completely scare him off.

25 years ago today it was sunny in Midhurst and it was the day of the FA Cup Final, Liverpool vs. Everton. It was the day that Zoe and I put on our dresses from Laura Ashley and went to church for Mum and Clive to get married. It was the day that friends and family celebrated with an afternoon party in the garden (or an afternoon minus 90 minutes when almost all the men headed inside to watch the football, a must watch match for our Liverpool supporting family). It was a great day, a very happy day.

And then we, all four of us, went to Greece for their honeymoon.

I'm pretty sure that Clive would never have imagined finding a wife and two daughters, and eventually a son and grandchildren, in the house next door to his, we certainly would never have imagined finding a Clive over the garden fence. All I can think now, over 25 years on, is weren't we all lucky. Happy Anniversary Mum, Happy Anniversary Clive xx  


Alicia Foodycat said...

How lovely! I'm glad liver casserole didn't put your mum off. Happy anniversary to them!

Jess said...

This is terrific, Gemma. All teary here thinking of my step-mom and my own improbable family. (p.s. Keep writing.)

shanna said...


Roberta said...

You know you've found your heart's desire when she offers gin and tonic and you accept because it's what you'd rather have had but wouldn't dare to ask! This is such a sweet post. This is my first pop in to your blog and like it quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

I won't lie, I got teary-eyed reading this. So nice! Happy happy anniversary to your mother and Clive - here's to 25+ more!