Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Away from Channel gales

Forty-nine years ago Mrs BB and I emerged into a gale from the church of St Mary and St Eanswythe on Folkestone’s cliff tops (there’s a Turner painting that includes it) and stumbled into our married life. Today’s celebration was more tranquil and more uplifting. I’d arranged things secretly and Mrs BB, bemused by an hour’s drive into Worcestershire, swears she thought we were going to buy a sapling. In fact she spent the drive wondering how to dissuade me from this since we already have too many trees in our garden.The rendezvous was The Drum and Monkey near Upton-on-Severn where we later had lunch. Since the pub didn’t open until midday bemusement continued as we sat in the car making forced conversation.All was explained when a small helicopter (belonging to the egregious Richard Hammond of “Top Gear” as it happened) landed in an adjacent field and Anthony Stockman, our pilot, beckoned us over.

We failed to see the tiny fifteen-house village in Gloucestershire where our younger daughter lives. Nor did we spot the equally tiny village of Sellack which accommodates one of our favourite gastropubs. The area’s rural beauty is a constant diversion.But it’s not all beauty. We found Chez Bonden by first identifying Tesco, deservedly diminished from the air. Then up Golden Valley (location of the C. S. Lewis bio-film, Shadowlands) flanked by the Brecon Beacons,
a circular tour of Hay-on-Wye (above), down the Wye to skirt Hereford, pop over a gap in the Malverns and back to the D&M. With time to reflect on the randomness by which couples are brought together.


Plutarch said...

As I am here firts, let me be the first to congratulate both of you. I suppose I must have known you for about 40 of those 49 years.It's quite a privilege.

Sir Hugh said...

Well done Plutarch - you got there before me this time.

Congrats. and best wishes to Mr & Mrs BB. This could be the new way of getting to the villa holiday in France?

Rouchswalwe said...

Hearty congratulations! Tonight I shall raise two Ur-Märzen in your honour!

The Crow said...

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. BB, not only on your 49th, but on surviving - unscathed - your helicopter ride, as well. Here's wishing you many more good years together.


marja-leena said...

Oh, wonderful! Congratulations to you both on 49 years of togetherness. What a fabulous way to celebrate.

herhimnbryn said...


To Bondens both:)

Occasional Speeder said...

The elusive Brand Green... How very strange - every other aircraft seems to seek us out and roar over the top of us to the dog's anger and Zac's fear.. You'd have thought Hammond's helicopter would be able to home it on it as he used to live but 500 yards away. Congratulations and love to you both.

Julia said...

Happy Anniversary and Gratulujeme (congratulations)!

Spadoman said...

Well, wonderful! Congratulations. With a helicopter ride no less. Mrs' Spadoman and I will celebrate 28 years October 9th. I will be away on the exact date as i will be attending a reunion with my old Army unit which is celebrating 40 years since I served in The American war in Vietnam. She was asked if she wanted to go to seattle with me, but decided not to go and said we'd celebrate our anniversary when I return, or even later, with a trip sometime this Winter to escape the cold winds of the Northland.
Have a wonderful 50th year and more beyond that.


Barrett Bonden said...

All: Thanks for your good wishes. There was a further byproduct from this trip, hinted at in the post. We moved to Herefordshire (having trawled much of England within a 120-mile radius of Kingston-upon-Thames where we were then living) and gradually realised how lucky we were to have picked this beautiful yet remarkably little-known county. Yesterday confirmed yet another aspect of its beauty. But don't, for goodness sake, tell anyone.

Lucy said...

Congratulations! My goodness, what are you going to do for your 50th? And what a lovely surprise for Mrs B that she didn't have to tolerate another sapling in the garden!

I am glad Herefordshire, and presumably Shropshire too, remain so unspoiled. My brother lived in Kington for a while, and we cmae to know the area quite well; lovely towns and access to plenty of wild places, including some of the less frequented bits of Wales. Plus I worked for a short time in Colwall, which is really Herefordshire, but somehow I always thought of it as Worcestershire, being on the slopes of the Malverns.

I'd love to fly over anywhere in a helicopter...

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: As to our 50th it will be something splendid and we'll arrive in a helicopter.

Kington and Colwall (which we flew over) - you obviously know what this area looks like. And through it all the Wye an SSI from beginning to end. The Brittany coast would beat it for drama but not for soft (almost smug) rural contours. Save your centimes and go for it.

Avus said...

Congrats to BB's both!

And a very imposing church, with historical provenances it is, too
see: http://www.histografica.com/view.aspx?p=1ywb2sea

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Which is more than I can say about the vicar. Lots of spiritual guidance before the event, nothing practical. Thus when he used the end of his stole to bind our wrists together (Symbolic, geddit?) I jerked away at this unexplained approach. Later we had to be flagged down into a kneeling position. I spent much of the time pondering my £20 suit bought from Burtons and was later told my Mrs BB that I never looked at her once during the service.