MARK: Saturday 17th September 1988. A pleasant enough day, with high cloud and glimpses of sun. The temperature on the Wiltshire/Somerset border a pleasant 20 degrees centigrade.
Phil Collins was Number 1 with a Groovy Kind Of Love. The England cricket team’s tour to India was cancelled, after Captain Graham Gooch and seven other players were refused visas because of their involvement in South African cricket during the apartheid boycott. And Great Britain were competing at the Olympics in Seoul, winning 5 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze medals.
And oh yes. A certain Miss Sarah Barnard said “I do” to a fine looking Yorkshire man AKA Mark St. John Bailey at St. Philip and St James’ Church in Chapmanslade, near Westbury.
The Church Bell (singular) rang out. Ian and Ali Marr threw confetti for all they were worth. John Smithson and Simon “Lucan” Partington sat in the choir stalls, even though they could not sing. Auntie Barbara – who loves a good wedding – kept saying “ahhhhh”. And Angus Wheeler was as good a best man as I could afford…
27 years ago. It seems like yesterday. The excitement amongst guests for the wedding breakfast in the marquee on Sarah’s parents’ lawn was “in tents” and we hadn’t even had the speeches… It’s funny what you remember. One thing I do clearly remember is the opening line from my wonderful father-in-law Dennis Barnard’s speech. “I am so pleased my daughter is marrying Mark Bailey, as it will mean she does not need to change her initials in her blue gym knickers”. Follow that!
Fast forward 27 years and I would have never have thought that one day somebody would be mad enough to travel the world with me.
At the risk of embarrassing Sarah, I would like to pay tribute to her. Over the years she has had to put up with a lot. I am not, as many people know the easiest person in the world to get on with. She has been a tower of strength when I have been repeatedly been visited by my “black dog”.
So today was a great day. One of the few Anniversary days we have spent together since we were married. Walking on deserted beaches. The waves from the Arabian Sea crashing over the golden sand which stretched out for miles. No one else there. Just the two of us. I’m lucky, very, very lucky…