Robert and Angela got married
I’ve shied away from telling this part of our story because I remember how happy we were on our wedding day. It’s hard going through the pictures and impossible not to compare that time with what’s happening now, but it was a wonderful experience and I want to relive it a little too.
What started out as a rather sensible and casual wedding turned into a romantic and sweetly sentimental day. We didn’t make any fuss: I got a dress made (being a bit more ‘portly’ then than now) which I loved, Bob bought himself a new tie, we ordered his buttonhole and my bouquet from Kirwans Florists. Robert’s employer, Fanagans (they weren’t my employer at that point) gifted us a limo and driver for the trip to and from the Register Office. All the Fanagans staff made a big fuss of us as we were leaving Aungier Street and it was then it hit me: we’re getting married… me and Bob… God. I got a lump in my throat which didn’t go away until we were at the Chatham Brassiere and I managed to swig a few glasses of wine.
The day itself was cool weather-wise but I don’t think either of us noticed. We posed outside Fanagans for a photo and then everything happened quite fast. Before we knew it we were at the Register Office.
We’d already met the Registrar when we were doing the paperwork – a very likeable lady called Anne Byrne who was teasing us about taking so long to get married (we’d been together 23 years at that stage). She asked us were just waiting till we were totally sure? Yes, Ms Byrne, that’s it exactly. We were sure alright.
On the day itself she could not have been more friendly. Everyone said she did a beautiful job of the ceremony and I believe them (a bit of an emotional blur): there was certainly plenty of laughter and even clapping at times.
Bob’s brother Eamonn had been asked to do one of the two readings at the ceremony, and my brother Sam (Noel) the other. Both of them were funny, sweet and contributed hugely to what was a lovely atmosphere during the entire time. My brother Gerard and his wife Beatrice had come from Germany to be with us, and Gerard took most of the photographs of the day that you’ll see here on the blog, God bless him.
Our witnesses were my sister Martha and Robert’s son Jason, and I thought Sam and Ber’s grand-daughter Emily – being the youngest at the wedding – would like to carry a small basket of flowers, but it turned out they suited her grandad a lot better, and Sam looked pretty cute hauling them and a very shy Emily around all day.
We headed off to the restaurant in Chatham Street where they had reserved the small room off the main part of the restaurant, and treated us all wonderfully. The food was great, the atmosphere friendly and amiable – it really was like a dream come true. All the people we love most in the world were there and we had just gotten married – life could not be sweeter. I was so happy.
I had done up the menus as a kind of keepsake – on the back of each one was a saying or quote about marriage. One of my favourites was ‘A bachelor is a man who doesn’t make the same mistake once’. .. Okay, my humour is strange, but Bob liked them.
The lunch over, we came back to Aungier Street to continue the party: except first Bob went to The Swan with a bunch of others for a few pints and left several of us locked out of the apartment. That was our first row as a married couple: I swanned into The Swan going ‘and where did you think I had keys in this dress?’ and Bob’s all ‘I’m just having a pint, pet’. Twenty minutes later I was tottering over to Delaney’s off licence in my towering heels and beaded dress, carrying back bottles and whatever. Not very dignified but great fun. With several guitars and even more musicians and singers, the party went on for quite some time, and we were joined by our friend Pattie for the night.
We left for Morocco the next day, arriving at the Atlantic Palace Hotel just after dark. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen: the steps leading to the door rimmed in colourful lights and the palm trees waving gently in the night breeze. Bob had determined we – for once – were going five-star. And we did. It was a five-star wedding and our honeymoon was everything I could have ever dreamed of. We visited Marrakech, Essaouira, belly-danced, walked in the Sahara and brought home a beautiful carpet.
So we were married. And although we thought it wouldn’t change our relationship, it did. For the better. There was something new, an added depth to our feelings for each-other which neither of us expected but both welcomed and enjoyed. I have fallen in love with Bob over and over again during the years, which I realise when I see him walk towards me or come in the door and my heart gets a tug, but being his wife makes me very proud and I realise how much we’ve come through together.
A very sad note I must sound is that our driver on the day was the late Shay Cornelia, a very quiet and nice gentleman who worked for Fanagans for some years. In an tragic coincidence, I met Shay’s wife outside ICU when Robert was there but I didn’t know who she was: she spoke to me as we were aproning-up, she said her husband had become ill two nights before and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong. We walked in together, she smiled at a man sitting beside a bed and, although I thought he looked like Shay I didn’t want to intrude in any way, and then of course I was focussed on Robert.
I thought about the lady a few times afterwards, and realised I hadn’t seen Shay in a while, but the thought grew dimmer until several days later when I heard Shay had been taken ill. Unfortunately Shay went from SJH to Our Lady’s Hospice and died not long afterwards. I never got to express my condolences to his wife because of what was going on with Robert at the time, but I didn’t forget the smile on Shay’s face when he saw her walking into ICU that night.