It sparked off a trip down memory lane. The photo is of me waiting for the train that would take me to London. As my guitar is there, I must have been planning to strum some chords.
It was the summer of 1968. I was 22 and, as it was called in those days, courting. How old fashioned does that sound now? I lived in Kent by this time, but travelled to London, to both work and play. I’d hop on the train and travel up to Charing Cross Station. Once there, I met up with my boyfriend. I would stay with him and his mother for the weekend. It was never easy staying there, as his mother was jealous of my relationship with her only son, and showed it.
In the evening we’d set off for the social spots, where we met up with friends. We often spent time at a well known pub called ‘The Earl Of Sandwich’. Famous for it’s sandwiches, but probably frequented more because of the live music. It was one of those ‘buzzing’ scenes of the 60’s.
All night long the melodic sounds of Jazz filled the very large bar. While we drank, chatted and ate the delicious sandwiches, musicians would wander in, unpack their instrument and join the band jamming along for as long as they wanted. It was a forever changing band of about eight to ten musicians at any one time, and many famous names would appear. I didn’t particularly like jazz, but hearing it live and up close like that, I was soon tapping my feet to it! There’s something about live music, played by excellent musicians, that makes it far more enjoyable.
It was at this very pub that I was proposed to, in a very casual way. We were standing by a window and chatting when suddenly I heard “Shall we get married?” I can’t remember my exact words but I did accept.
The next day we went to the equally famous Portobello Road Market to buy the engagement ring. In fact I got two rings. I wasn’t in to diamond’s, so I got two gold rings with garnets. My favourite stones. Both were very old and unusual designs. Not a bit like usual engagement rings. I was never a ‘follow the crowd’ sort of person. I liked doing things differently – always one step away from the norm.
And there I was, engaged to be married with, not one, but two engagement rings, within 12 hours of the proposal. What did I say about being one step away from the norm?
Please don’t ask how long the marriage lasted ;O)
I Googled The Earl of Sandwich but, although there were plenty of references to the actual Earl, who invented the sandwich, I couldn’t find the pub. Maybe it doesn’t exist now.