David and Dorothy: 25 June 2015

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I do not own this tea towel. It was briefly in my possession but as we had commissioned it as a gift for David and Dorothy for their 60th Wedding Anniversary present, it is now with them. I couldn’t let it go without taking a picture and putting some thoughts on ‘paper’. Using one of their wedding photos, I have to say it is my favourite photo, we had a tea towel printed using on-line technology. It is amazing how simple it is to do and what a perfect transition it made from photographic paper to material.

I hope Dorothy and David like it. Whether they use it as a tea towel, or perhaps as a table centre piece, or hang it on the wall or fold it neatly in a drawer, it should be a reminder of that happy day 60 years ago but also of the family celebration 60 years later with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, on a lovely warm sunny day, with a relaxed meal in the garden, a bar-b-que, a big chocolate cake and a card from the Queen.

What I love about this photo is that picture of two smiling, happy people who looked relaxed, as if it was the day they had been waiting for, no tension and not an artificially created scene; it’s just as if the photographer happened upon them as they were getting in the car and took a photo. Both David and Dorothy have a look of satisfaction that the ceremony went to plan and they were now married.

When I first saw this picture I thought Dorothy’s dress had a real simplicity, an elegance and beauty with a high neck, turned down collar, long sleeves and what looks like a row of pearl buttons down the front. The material looks embossed, textured and from the photo you can almost feel the material. What I hadn’t realised was this was a Norman Hartnell dress; Norman Hartnell being the dress designer for the Queen. He was recognised for a simplicity so no wonder this high waisted dress is so lovely. Dorothy looks comfortable and at ease in the dress. No hair piled high on her head in a style she would never wear at any other time. You don’t often see a bride carrying a prayer book these days; the bouquet is a long, trailing one and it is only a shame that the photo is in black and white because I would love to know what colour the flowers of the bouquet and button holes were.

David looks very handsome and very happy, in his lounge suit. I bet no one was shouting ‘health and safety’ as all that confetti was thrown!! I’ve seen wedding photos of friends and family which are stilted, with the bride looking like she was dressed in a meringue and the bridegroom wearing an ill-fitting morning suit hired from Moss Bros that they wouldn’t normally have dreamt of wearing. I look at this photo and it evokes an emotion, brings a lump to my throat looking at that glow of contentment, a contentment that has clearly lasted throughout the years. What is interesting is that David and Dorothy’s two granddaughters also had simple weddings, very out-of-the-ordinary, both wearing beautiful, but simplistic wedding dresses, both having wedding photos that show that contentment, obviously a family tradition.

If you know Dorothy and David, you would recognise them instantly from this photo. Dorothy may have white hair now; David may have a little less hair. Neither appear to have put on a pound in weight but they both still have a happy smile, as the photos of the anniversary celebrations show.

Two children, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren later they still go for a walk every day, play golf once a week, have monthly Trivial Pursuit sessions with friends, follow tennis and golf on television, visit family in Aberdeen, watch Countdown, Pointless and Eggheads, go on holiday, do crosswords and Suduko, do the cleaning on Saturday, grow their own vegetables, enjoy their great grandchildren…………..

I have been privileged to know David and Dorothy for 16 years. Not having parents of my own, I have been welcomed into their family and have been able to share in their family moments – 60th Wedding Anniversary, Golden Wedding Anniversary, 80th birthday parties, Christmases….. Looking at the tea towel isn’t about looking at it through rose-tinted spectacles because David and Dorothy have had to cope with their own, and family members,  ill-health but the contentment shown in the original photo has provided the strength for them to carry on.

What other things does the tea towel conjure up for me? They both are great family people, are close to David’s sisters in Aberdeen; Dorothy makes a mean cup of tea, superb roast potatoes and an unbeatable apple pie; David grows some amazing potatoes and takes pride in his garden, which is considerably neater and tidier than mine and loves a Tunnock Bar. But then what else would you expect from an Aberdonian?

The 60th Wedding Anniversary celebrations were amazing, the card from the Queen a wonderful surprise and I hope the tea towel will conjure up memories of the day in the years to come. That’s what a good tea towel should do – make wiping up so much more interesting.

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