1985: Honeymoon, Hertford Hospital and Housing.

Monday 26th August 1985

A Bank Holiday spent at home is quite a rarity. We decided that, as MIL is away, we would do something local. The Vic had a band playing in the garden in the afternoon and we went along to listen and sit in there rather than walk too far. We are off to RTW in the morning if Fiona is up to it. The appendix relieved love of my life says she is recovering well but she would wouldn’t she? I will pick up the photographs from the honeymoon in the morning and we will set off around 10, only if she is up to the journey. The band was o.k. a bit too much playing of popular standards to be worth watching again. We chatted with a bloke called Les, or Smiler Smith, for a while about his cows and the toot. We came home and I had made a beef in orange casserole for us to have after a G and T in the garden. The walk was just about far enough for Fi. She would like to move to a bigger house. In reality what she  wants is for us to move to a house that is ours rather than just mine. That is fine by me and we will look at estate agents in the next few days. Another alternative is to buy out the share in my house. I will talk to the bank when we get back from Tunbridge Wells. Rovers lost 3-2 at Reading.


Stedders, 1985 version

We were married in the Catholic Church in Tunbridge Wells on the 10th of August 1985. John Butler was best man and Claire Mitakis, Fiona’s best friend from College, was bridesmaid. The reception was held at the Wellington Hotel. It was short, no evening do, or party. We wanted to get off on honeymoon and left family and friends to their own devices.

loe bourdonaisse

My, if not our, hotel for our honeymoon

The view from the balcony on arrival.

Our honeymoon could only be described as a bit of a disaster. We went from the wedding and caught a train up to London. Our wedding night was in a cheap hotel near Charing Cross. We then went by train to Paris where we had a room in The Hotel Le Bourdonaisse. This was a package hotel break holiday and, as it is with most Parisian hotels, it was basic but had a balcony with a view of the Eifel Tower. All was fine but Fiona was feeling uncomfortable. We walked a bit on the first day but gradually things became worse and Fi had stomach cramps and felt unwell. This got worse, so bad that we had to call out a doctor in the middle of the night. After a conversation in pigeon French and English the doctor diagnosed an inflamed appendix and we were off to the Hertford British Hospital by ambulance. Our ten day holiday was now the perfect length to have an operation and recover enough to get home by insurance company funded flight from Charles De Gaulle airport. I was consigned to commuting every day between hospital and hotel carrying various items of clothes for my new wife. I found a good local café whose horse steaks became my staple over the week. The staff at the hospital were brilliant, it was good to talk with British staff who could reassure us about what was going on.


The first sign that things were nor right. The one and only time that Fiona ever used a street convenience. She must have been in pain.

hospital hertford britosh

Fiona’s room at the Hertford British Hospital, Paris

fi and nurse jane

Goodbyes to Nurse Jane

RTW is Royal Tunbridge Wells or as Andy Pratt would say in M and S speak, Return to Warehouse. MIL is of course Mother in Law. She understandably wanted to see her so I had to get her there as soon as we could realistically do so. Walking to the pub was a good way to see if she was healing enough and ready for a visit and travel in the car. The car was our Metro, bought from Nicky Timms in Bletchley. I was learning to drive in it so would have to drive with Fiona as qualified passenger.

We bought out the 40% share of my house. In hindsight it was a mistake and something we wouldn’t do again but it did make selling the house easier and the house cheaper to buy. We eventually moved from Bradwell Common to Bradwell Village, nearer to the pubs of our usual choice and to a three bedroomed house with a decent garden.

We did get away at 10 the next morning and spent a few days doing what was to become the routine. A trip to RTW would involve a visit to a country house, a drive to the coast; either Bexhill or Seaford, and a day doing something in Tunbridge Wells.

That was the one and only time I cooked that particular casserole. It was very good but not good enough to be repeated. It was a question of relief that that pressure was gradually taken off my shoulders and I was commissioned as chief washer upper, vegetable preparer, table layer, and drinks pourer to the house. It wasn’t that I was a bad cook, I just wasn’t good enough.

At this time we didn’t know many people in Bradwell Village so would go and sit doing our own thing. Smiler was one of the old boys in Bradwell. He kept cows in the field next to the pub and one day they got out and were roaming around the streets. We helped to round them up and in return Smiler was grateful and included us in the chat of the pre-Milton Keynes locals. Brian, Bert, Smiler and Mr Goodman would form the old boys group to which we could refer for essential local knowledge.


1978       RWP H W 5

1984       Milton Keynes H W 4

1995       Walsall A 1-1

1997       Bristol City H 1-2

2002       St. Albans V Heybridge 2-0

2006       Shrewsbury H 1-0


2009       Cardiff A 1-3

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s