May the 3rd being our anniversary:
As is the custom, I went to Clives office to ask him for Julies
hand in marriage and his blessing. “Get the hell out of my
office!” he bellowed. Obviously remembering the two punctures I’d
inflicted on his car that fateful night. I calmly told him “No
matter. Blessing or not, we are getting married anyways”.
So the arrangements and planning started. Initially, I did not
want to get married in a church. I much preferred a simple little
low-key affair at the registrars office with a few special guests.
I am truely against any hypocrisy. Non the less, in the end, Julie
wanted to get married in the quaint little Anglican Holy Trinity
church on the Kalk Bay main road and I just had to acquiesce to my
love. Weddings are most definitely for the girls. Us boys are
just the necessary side-show!
I don’t remember how and why Clive and my relationship repaired
itself. I guess he realised this marriage thing was serious and it
was best to let bygones be bygones. So the plans for the wedding
continued to progress with the girls getting more and more excited.
The arrangements for our wedding had to be postponed. Julies Dad
developed a bowel issue, turning into a bit of cancer. He had a
small operation to get it cut out and then recovered very nicely
and was soon the picture of health again.
Working and living in Hermanus, somehow, we must have got the
Friday off to spend this hugely important day in town.
Martin Suter organised my bachelors. It consisted of a pub crawl
from the Newlands area all the way back along the main Road to St
James. About 20 of us started out and by Tokai, slowly one by one,
the boys started packing it in and made their well-oiled, weary
wasted ways home. By the time I reached St James, I was the only
one left! Martin had prepared me by making sure I swigged a couple
of Proheps down my throat before the bachelors started. By 1am, I
was sitting stone cold sober on a deserted St james beach, mulling
over the dramatic and emotional thing which is going to befall me
later this very morning! My contorted mind vacillated between
throwing in the towel and cancelling, or how much I love Julie and
did I want to spend the rest of my life with her? It was a good
thing to just sit and meditate all on my own. I did not want to
make a mistake. Finally at about 3am, I walked up the steps to the
neighbours house where I was to sleep. As I climbed Jacobs Ladder
(Ironic!), I came across a beautiful bunch of Arun Lillys
reflecting and shining in the moonlight. I picked one, and quietly,
pushed it through Julies bedroom window and onto her bedside table.
How bloody romantic is that!
I tossed and rolled in the strange bed. After a breakfast, I
picked up Scott and drove to Muizenberg to get the Anglia washed
and spruced up for the big day. As it is with tradition, I was not
allowed to see Julie until she walked down the aisle. My head was
still in a turmoil and I was not really concentrating. On the
drive back to St james, some idiot shot out from a side street as
if he owned the whole road. I had to slam on the brakes very hard
to avoid an accident. The front seat tipped up, tipping Poor
little 7 year old Scott at fast forward, banging his head on the
windscreen. Fortunately he wasn’t too badly hurt, only a bruise.
All dressed up in my new blue grey pinstripe 3 piece suit, hair
neatly combed, and my new handmade shoes glowing, off to the Church
I went. We were the second wedding that morning. As the throngs
of the previous wedding mumbled their way out, the Aspden/Blomkamp
wedding made their way into the lovely little church. It was a
gorgeous sunny day with the dappled sun playing over the pews from
the high stained glass windows.
Just after 11 o’clock, I stood in front of the vicar, feeling like
a lost fart in a crowded restaurant amongst all this pompous
pretentiousness. With the organ playing, Julie came down the aisle
with Clive herding her towards me. She was stunningly beautiful in
a long blue and green Indian type dress, with a possie of fragrant
Frangipane flowers. My mouth went completely dry with her sheer
After the long interminable Ceremony, that’s it. We are now
married! You are now pronounced Man and Wife! Julie is my wife!
It was almost as though she had taken over my mind, as well as my
body! We had blended into each other in some semi-divine osmotic
process. We had become one. I had a smile that possessed enough
kilowatts to light up the Newlands stadium. It is the 3rd of may
in the year of the lord, 1980, and Barry, you’d better remember
that until your dying day!
During the photo session in the pretty church garden, the vicar
sidled up to me, like a Mafia Don, whispering something about a
donation towards the stained glass window restoration fund! That
cost me another R30!
Round about 30 of us went back to the Aspden home for the
reception perched on the craggy St James mountain side, shining and
sparkling in the May sun.
The speeches were made with the speakers, on the path, facing the
deep blue False Bay sea, and the listeners and hecklers on the
lawn, facing the mountain side. My best man, Martin, and Clive did
nice appropriate little addresses, wishing Julie and I all the very
best to our future life together. I must admit to the eminence of
the event, the splendour of the day and the pure enchantment of
everything did get to me quite a bit. My own speech was a series
of dry throat croaks with many understandable Agghs and errs and me
tugging at my extremely nervous throat!
With the main formalities over, the crowd drifted into the highly
polished floored lounge to begin the party and our special dance
together. Julie changed into her “going away” clothes. A fetching
velvet dark green dress suite which matched with her eyes
magnificently. Julie threw the garter and all that stuff.
I remember not eating very much of the wide array of delicious
snacks and preferring to keep up my sustenance levels with beer.
Half way through the bouncing party, a number of the lads
disappeared down stairs to the next door neighbours to watch the
Springboks game! and me with them!
I think it is traditional for the married couple to kind of leave
the party half way through. Not Julie and I. Apart from Clive and
Dorothy, we were the last to leave, along with Auntie Cynthia, who
we were going to give a lift to her home in Durbanville. We
finally left at dark, and headed out towards first Durbanville and
then Stellenbosch. With the little Anglia’s boot packed with all
our stuff, noisily dragging tincans and old shoes behind. The
other cars hooting congratulations.
We had booked our honeymoon at the fabulous Devon VAlley Hotel,
right in the middle of the beautiful and famous winelands of
After Auntie was dropped off, we wound our way towards the
winelands, me taking on the gravel roads in the pitch dark, and in
not great condition to be true. I had consumed a lot of beer
through the day.
Well, we got thoroughly lost. And to make matters worse, the rain
started to drum down, making everything muddy and slippery. Not a
great launch to our honeymoon! Then the Klutz of all clutzes, I
miscalculated a corner of a narrow vineyard track and drove
straight into a deep muddy ditch! The Anglia was nose down, with
its arse pointing at the stars! My plucky new wife gamely got out
and tried to push us out, in her green suite and new high heels!
I might have thought, “What a way to start your honeymoon, What a
way to begin your marriage” but I suppose the beer had pushed me to
a point of beyond not overly caring.
A half hour later, we knocked on a farm house door. As the stoep
light switched on, we stood there in our smart “Going-out” clothes,
looking bedraggled and mud splattered.
Oh my lord said the farmer and pulled us inside to sit at the fire.
The Kind farmers wife got Julie into the bathroom and into a hot
shower. We were loaned gowns, while our sopping clothes dried on
a heater. Soup and hot coffee followed while we told our sorry and
pitiful tale to this wonderfully compassionate, warm family. An
hour later, we were all dried out and warm inside and our rescued
“limousine” was parked outside waiting for its next adventure. The
sympathetic farmer had taken his tractor and pulled the Angle Box
out of the ditch. Finally we arrived at the hotel at about 10pm!
While we were having our very late supper, we got a call from
Julies parents to wish us well and they heard the story of our
short and hazardous marriage to date!
We danced on the packed dance floor until late to eventually hit
the sack at about 3am. Let me tell you, no nuptials were taken
part that night. We were both far too tired. It had been a
massive day and all a bit much for this shagged out pair to even
think of shagging!
After a lovely late room service breakfast, we ambled outside to
soak up the welcome sunshine. The hotel was elegant, with its age
old wooden construction gracefully looking over the green valley
full of pattern blocks of trelaced vineyards.
Late on the Sunday afternoon, we parked the Angle-box at the
Esplanade holiday apartments in Hermanus and unpacked. Our new
landlords had decided to renovate the cottage we were to move into.
There had been a bit of a delay in getting the painting, the floors
sanded and resealed. It was still very smelly and the odour of
chemicals made it inhabitable.
A week later, we moved a short way up the road to Albertein Street.
Daisy cottage was an old fishermans house built in the mid to late
1800’s. The two love birds and Charlie dog spent the next couple
of blissful years in this quaint home. And that folks is the story
of our wedding day 36 years ago!
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)