Band of Gold

I still remember the balmy autumn evening on the putting-green in Victoria Park, Glasgow, in August 1966, when I proposed to my wife-to-be, and, fortunately for me, she accepted! (crikey, that’s almost 50 years ago!)

Victoria Park on our engagement evening Sept 1966

…….. and the lovely emerald engagement ring she chose a few days later. Unfortunately the colour rendering does not show the superb dark emerald colour. For those not around at the time…..the original photo was taken as a ‘slide’ or ‘transparency’ and had to undergo digitisation for its storage into eternity.K's engagement ring Sep 66

I understand from friends, (male and female) that the decision about the engagement ring ranks second only to the bridal dress in importance. As one would expect, the Lady had a sore tum with nerves, so I expected there to be much deliberation as we set-off for the jewellers. However, there was little question in the eye of the young Lady when she spotted this one, in McGowans of Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. She took to it instantly and I breathed a sigh of relief. My signet ring choice was quite easy!

But all was not finished. After wearing it for a little time she felt that the ring was slightly too small so it had to be taken back to be stretched. No problem there, but when we uplifted it again, tears were forth-coming, as it was now much too large! Eventually, sizing and engraving were satisfactorily completed, so that showing them off to friends and relations could begin in earnest!

Now we have to fast-forward a year which we mostly spent apart as I was working in Watford. I either flew-up or came overnight by bus about once a month to see my fiancé who was still proudly wearing her engagement ring. Must have been true love!

One of the things we had to do during these weekends was to finalise the wedding arrangements. The purchase of a wedding ring was on the agenda, but in my diary it hardly rated a mention when we got it on 24th  Aug 1967 along with the final Reception details, Marriage Registry paperwork, getting music for me to play at a wedding, and booking our honeymoon!

All went smoothly at the wedding in October, and those rings continued with her all our married life. Even during her two pregnancies, the wedding ring never had to be removed, even when it was thought wiser for the engagement ring to be tucked away for safety. Baking, washing, house-cleaning, etc all were done with the ring firmly in place.

She has worn them faithfully all those years and they always ‘looked-right’ on her.

So, you might say, what is the purpose of this blog? A good question, which indicates that you have been following the thread……….

Well, one day recently, in the baking frenzy just before Christmas, both rings were sensibly removed because of the sticky nature of the ingredients. Although Lady of the House is usually well-prepared, it was suddenly necessary for us to go to a local shop to get some baking products.

Normally I might have been sent alone, but at my age I probably could not be relied-on to come back with the right goods…I would have got raisins instead of sultanas, or baking powder instead of baking soda…you know the scenario!

So I was to be the driver, in my old clothes, and Lady would dash in to Sainsburys to purchase said goods, alone. We were only a minute into the journey when, you’ve guessed it……no rings!

Suddenly, concern was expressed from my Lady about the bare ‘ring finger’…..’I hope I don’t meet any of our friends, because, what will they think?’. ‘I’ll just have to keep my left hand in my pocket, so that no-one will see’. ‘Maybe you should come in as well, so that folk will see that we are still together’. ‘Maybe I have some gloves in the car which I can wear, to cover my hands’. ‘Perhaps YOU can go in to get the few things, and I will just sit in the car’.

Suffice to say that she DID go in, and met NO-ONE we knew, no gossip was started, and we returned home safely. But it set me wondering………. men do not, as a rule, wear rings all the time, and I don’t think that it worries us,………but married women ALWAYS seem to have their wedding ring on.

But why is this so? Is it a ‘status’ symbol (in the true sense of the word) within their peer group?. Is it boastful? Is it pride? Is it a visual indication to the world, of the promises made on marriage? Or is it a statement of their love for another human being? I’m not a woman so cannot speak for them but would like to think the latter might be right………

We were both 70 this year and the lovely joint birthday present from the family was a casting of our clasped hands (please ignore what look like dirty fingernails!). Our rings are in evidence, (although mine is now on my ‘pinky finger’ and if anything indicates love, this surely must be high on the list…..P1050515.JPG


We’re off to a match..

………….No, not a football or rugby match….but one of the great rituals humanity has invented…a wedding. A son of one of our favourite couples is getting wed today in a lovely setting and we have been invited to witness the event.

Why do we all do this? Actually I think that the clothes industry had something to do with the concept of weddings, as the Young Lady of the house decided that certain items in her wardrobe HAD to be replaced, whilst I managed with a new shirt and dickie bow (Oh, yes, this is still high fashion for me! ).

We all dress up and make conversation with people we have never met before, and will probably never meet again, eat little nibbles which we know are not really allowed within the regime of eating which we should be following, sip at fizzy alcohol, while we know we still have to drive home, face the wrath of the Other Half if we are seen to be in the humorous company of a young lady half our age (or maybe even a third of our age!), and feel uncomfortable in those shoes which we really should have broken-in!…..and yet, and yet…..

There is still something about seeing two young people going through a rite of passage, which the Young Lady of the house, and I, undertook many years ago. Whether it is your own children, close friends you have known since their youth, or a totally unknown pair, we all hope for them the security and happiness we have enjoyed for almost four decades.

The problem is, expectations are probably much higher in most aspects of life, for them. Our generation often started off with very few material goods, and in fact we have some still. We were not well off and often had to make-do (a phrase not often used now-a-days).

Someone once said that you could tell you were getting old, as many a sentence started with ‘When I was your age…..’ and ended with ‘Of course, a pound was worth a lot of money then…..’. However, enough of my maudling memories.

No, really, I am looking forward to getting dressed-up, and seeing this young couple taking the next step in their lives together. I also suspect that it will not only be my Young Lady who has to wipe away a sentimental tear………