Of course, I fell in love again. My boyfriend, Michael was working in Bath, so while I was a student, I made good and frequent use of the railway between Bristol and Bath, which possibly accounted for my very average exam results. I had no idea what career I wanted to follow and really opted for teaching for no other reason than I knew it would make my parents happy. Although I greatly enjoyed the children, I lacked the passion that makes a good teacher.
Michael and I had met during my last school year at the weekly dance at West Bay Pavilion, which was the only place you could be on a Saturday night if you weren’t in a pub or at the cinema. He had recently moved to Bridport, so had something of an exotic air about him, and had been to places I only vaguely thought might be somewhere in Africa.
Michael and I were married on a beautiful sunny day at the beginning of July, a week after I graduated. The wedding was held in the local church, where I had played the piano appallingly badly for the Sunday School. We had a big marquee on the back lawn, although everyone sat outside because it was such a lovely day. My mother had sweated blood while making my dress and I swanned around feeling like a princess, eyeing up the platters of rare roast beef and taking a swig out of everyone’s champagne glass, ducking out of sight for a surreptitious drag off a friend’s cigarette. I wore a large-brimmed hat, which afterwards I regretted, because a veil would have looked so much softer. But hats were the thing at the time.
I was blissfully unaware of the panic during the morning while I was relaxing at the hairdresser’s. Somehow in the confusion of caterers, transport, decorations, flowers, music and clothing, nobody had arranged any chairs. So everybody who had a car was sent down to the church to borrow all the chairs and benches from the Sunday School.
After the reception, we drove off in our old Austin Healy Sprite, with the roof down, rattling like a tin piggy bank from all the coins guests had put in the hubcaps. Once out of sight we stopped and removed the money and the inflated condoms, but left the lipstick that told the world we were newly-weds.
We had booked a caravan in the South of France for two weeks, so the first night of our honeymoon was spent pacing the deck of the car ferry. After the long drive through France, we were happy to spend the next couple of days relaxing on the beach. But it was before the days of factor 30 and ‘slip slop slap’ and our fair English skins quickly turned a delicate shade of lobster. So it was a while before we got to find out whether sex was as much fun when it was legal as it was in the clandestine moments stolen after our parents were asleep.