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24 September 2014
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Voices: This Norfolk Life


Cathie and Dennis on their wedding day
Cathie and Dennis on their wedding day

A Lifetime Love Affair

by Cathie Bailey
After celebrating her wedding anniversary, Cathie reflected on her life and wrote for This Norfolk Love about her marriage.


We have just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary, and at the dawning of a new year, I look forward to events, some known, like turning 60 and the birth of our fourth grandchild.

The others are yet unknown but as it is the Year Of The Dog, and I fall into that canine category, I should be in for quite a year!

I met my husband when I was 18. I was a student nurse and happened to nurse his mother. It was love at first sight and after three weeks he proposed to me on bended knee.

I had a lot of hard work ahead before I could marry and after three years I qualified as a State Registered Nurse. During this time my beloved waited for me and in 1968 I became Mrs Bailey.

I made my wedding dress and wore a cream and blue tweed suit, with matching blue hat, shoes and handbag accessories as my going away outfit.

Little did anybody know that my mother had insisted that I wore a vest to protect my chest!

I'm not quite sure what she thought was about to happen to me, but I wonder what the fashion experts would make of my dress sense.

We travelled to Norwich by train and because of a power failure, we had to share the dining car with the Norwich City football team, who found great amusement at the escaping confetti!

Our honeymoon consisted of one night in the Royal Hotel, where I had to sneak across a corridor to use the bathroom.

The former owners of our home had gone abroad and as there was a delay on the legal paperwork, we stayed in my husband's lodgings. What a contrast of surroundings!

We slept on a mattress on the floor of a freezing room but as Christmas had just passed we were fortunate to have a bowl of nuts to help the hunger pangs.

Compared to the newlyweds of today, who have all and sundry before they settle, we were very meagerly attired. Apart from our bed, most of our furniture and fittings were second-hand.

Since our beginnings, we have shared all the happy and sad events that make up life, and we still live in our first home.

Sadly, because of ill health, I had to retire early from nursing, but life has many compensations. My hope is that I was able to give back some of the love I have received.

We all have dreams but life often takes on a different guise.

As a mother you tend to stand still so that your children can grow and experience life, yet dreams never depart but become the driving force for futures of hope and meaning.

I give thanks for now. A lifetime love affair, you might ask? Certainly, and like our wedding rings, we have come full circle, living our dreams in beautiful Norfolk.

last updated: 17/03/06
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