It seems like only yesterday that we were at York District Hospital and Katrina was making an appearance. That was 1991. So fast forward 29 years and Katrina was marrying.
Just thinking about the intervening years makes my head spin. The mental montage includes crawling along on my hands and knees with her on my back when she fell off and broke her arm (she loved the Barbie pink plaster cast), the ridiculous happiness of her visit to Legoland in Denmark, a time when no upset couldn’t be solved with ice cream (orange), my discovering late on Christmas Eve that Santa’s Barbie Camper Van was a two hour assembly kit job, her watching ‘Dumbo’ so many times, many birthday parties with all her school friends at our house, always happy with a book and her own company, being a Brownie, cricket in the back garden, taking her to accompany me to Blues or Country concerts, her school concerts, being Deputy Head Girl, her first student vacation job in France as a cleaner on a large campsite where she managed to drop her mobile into a WC and living in an awful tent that would have been rejected by migrants in Calais, the stressful task of finding accommodation in Berlin with her mother for her university year out, graduation from Manchester University on a sweltering hot day, a variety of jobs in London (NHS, NBC and NSL) culminating in being the HR Officer for a multi ethnic selection of parking wardens in Westminster City Council, who gave her a parking ticket when she resigned! (and lots of money as a gift), arguing a different point of view to her father’s politics, finding Matt, her now husband, and then moving to Manchester as her career developed with a design engineering consultancy still in HR.
And ultimately becoming a very impressive woman who was a fully fledged adult. Where did the time go?
Anna and I are so proud of our daughters and each of their milestones is imprinted in our heads and hearts. I feel the girls are the best of me or, in other words, me at my best. How could anything feel better than that? Not that I claim much credit for their talent, beauty and personalities but I was around for the journey. So onto Manchester during a further localised Covid-19 lockdown for the nuptials.
The party allowed to go to the civil ceremony at the Registry Office and the Wedding Breakfast was limited to 11 people. However the happy couple got their certificate and seemed over the moon and so happy, which is really the important thing. After the ceremony we reconvened to dine outside on the top of Hotel Gotham in Manchester. The weather was very kind as we ate in the sunshine.
Speeches were brief and I welcomed Matt to the family: we’ve known him for several years and I’m sure he has the measure of us all now. From his memory, he recited a poem he’d written for Katrina, which was a very romantic thing to do. They sent their love to all the absent relatives and gratitude for lots of presents. We hope to make good the absence of family in due course, because of the virus, and bring the family together and drink a toast to their health and happiness.