Kathy Martin’s life story (6)

Kathy Martin’s life story (6)

KathyBy Kathy Martin…

My life story – Our Honeymoon continues

We drove around the UK visiting various relations (on both sides).

Alistairs childhood home in Romiley - on honeymoon 1976

Alistairs childhood home in Romiley – on honeymoon 1976

Stayed in Stockport, which is where Alistair was born, my godmother, Pat O’Connor (my father’s cousin) lived in Romiley and he had lived there as a boy. In fact he was able to take me to his house and we took a photo to show to his mother. Ironic that when he mentioned this little village to me, when we first met, he said, “You won’t have heard of it” to which I replied, “Yes I have, as my godmother lives there!”

Mary, Alistair and Pat April 1976

Mary, Alistair and Pat April 1976

The “hotel” we stayed in only charged us £2 for the night, we suspect it was a brothel, as when we returned from our meal with Pat and her sister, Mary, we had to give a special knock to get in and there were several “ladies” in the bar, we rapidly went upstairs. The next morning, we got out without even stopping for coffee, as the kitchen looked very uncared for!

We also visited my godfather, Peter and his wife Muriel Wright in Nottingham, he and Daddy had been friends since they were in prams!

Alistair’s Uncle Bob Martin (May’s younger brother) and Aunt Helen, his cousin Joanna

Alistair’s Uncle Bob Martin (May’s younger brother) and Aunt Helen, his cousin Joanna

Stayed a couple of nights in Edinburgh (it was wet and windy as we went around the castle, which ever corner we went round the wind was in our faces!) with Alistair’s Uncle Bob Martin (May’s younger brother) and Aunt Helen, we met his cousins, Mandy and Joanna, who lived at home and went to see Caroline (cousin) and Keith Macleod. We also met his cousin, Gordon, with his girlfriend (she was learning Mandarin Chinese at university) in a bar. On our way to Edinburgh, we nearly took the road to Stirling, which much further north than Edinburgh, so from then on, whenever we got lost, we would say “nearly went via Stirling”.

We drove to Paisley to see his Aunt Jean (6 years older than May, but had decided once she reached 60, she was an old lady, she eventually got Alzheimer’s disease and did not recognise Bob and family when they visited her). It was the first time in my life that I had met someone shorter than me! The front door of her flat opened and I was looking up and failed to see Aunt Jean, she was tiny.

Lake Windermere with Kathy and Alistair 1976

Lake Windermere with Kathy and Alistair 1976

When we left Scotland, we stayed 19th April 1976 at Low Wood Hotel, Lake Windermere (found the receipt £13.70 B&B, £12.50 Dinner with wine, early tea & newspaper £0.37 = 26.57), one of the very few nights that we were not with family!

Honeymoon hotel in Windermere 19.4.76

Honeymoon hotel in Windermere 19.4.76

Also, we spent a night in a pub on the banks of a trout stream in Abergavenny.

We went onto Langport, near Cheddar Gorge, and stayed with Aunt Peggy, she was actually my great aunt, as she was Mummy’s aunt (she was married to Granny’s brother).

Loretta's pub - honeymoon 1976

Loretta’s pub – honeymoon 1976

We were kinda dreading it, but she turned out to be a lovely old dear and kept us amused with her stories of her long and full life! We had planned to go on to spend a night with Loretta in Langport, near Plymouth, but Peggy warned us that we would NOT want to sleep at the Wounded Soldier.

When we first met, Alistair was very excited when he found I had an aunt that owned a pub. We got to the pub at lunch time and very quickly realised why we would not stay there! Loretta showed us the room that Granny had lived (and died) in, with a broken window, when Granny had sold The Glen. We had a sandwich lunch with her and made our excuses (something about having to get home). But it was a Saturday and banks did not open in those days, no credit or debit cards and we had very little cash money on us, but managed to get back to Hastings on the last smell of petrol in the tank!

When we flew back and we had decided to spend a day in Lisbon, but everything was closed, we think it was Liberation Day, so we took the trams around the town, one went north to south and the other east to west, so managed to see most of the town.

Alistair in the bush war

Alistair in the bush war

Almost as soon as we got back from honeymoon, Alistair had to go to the army for another “call-up”. However, everyone was very friendly and made sure that I was okay. Robbie Tindale (suspected he was gay, years later this was confirmed) would come round to check I was getting on alright and to help if the car needed anything doing to it!

When Alistair returned, we went to see some friends who had a new baby and on the way home, Alistair said that he could see how much I wanted a baby, so I came off the pill. “Fell” for Sasha very quickly, but Alistair was once again on call up, when I got confirmation from the doctor, but I called Bulawayo barracks and asked them to get an urgent message to Alistair, telling him he was going to be a Daddy!

He told me that he was given the news when he returned from a night patrol and was congratulated by the rest of the squad. Shortly after he returned, he was offered a transfer to Victoria Falls. We named our baby either Andrew Drummond or Sasha Louise (took ages to get the Louise name). Our baby was referred to as A/S during my pregnancy, no such things as scans then, but even if there had been am sure that we would not have wanted to know in advance the sex of our baby.

Map - Victoria Falls village

Map – Victoria Falls village

I had to leave Avis, at the airport, once I started showing (remember having some awful mornings with “sickness” and eating dry biscuits at my desk). I worked at head office for a while, until Alistair was transferred to Victoria Falls.

I had strange cravings, one, near the beginning of the pregnancy, was for watermelon and would devour nearly a whole one, sucking on the juice! Once we reached Victoria Falls, when out shopping, passed the butcher’s, to my surprise went in and bought sausages (should point out at this stage that all my life had hated any kind of sausage meat, hamburgers etc). When Alistair got home from work that day he found me in the kitchen eating the sausages, dipped into tomato ketchup, this habit continued for several weeks! Since, then have enjoyed sausages!

Flat in Victoria Falls 1977

Flat in Victoria Falls 1977

We were placed in a ground floor flat in the staff flats and we all (Streak, Sheba and Kanga) settled in well. The ironic thing is that although we lived only a mile or so from one of the great natural wonders of the world, we tended only to visit if we had visitors! We enjoyed our time in the “village”.

We would fly back (free flight, as entitlement to staff) to Salisbury, for a shopping trip, once a month, and stay with May.

As Sasha’s birth got nearer, I had to have special permission to be allowed to fly. Two weeks before she was due, my final flight was on a chartered flight, full of businessmen and am not sure what they thought of this very pregnant lady coming out of the flight deck, to go to the loo! The Captain and First Officer had both made me promise not to have my baby on board!

Kathy June 1977

Kathy June 1977

Stayed with May in her flat, on one occasion had to go to the bank, which meant using an escalator to get to the cash desks. On my way back down, realised had forgotten to do something and, without thinking, turned to go back up, the down-escalator! Tripped and descended, very inelegantly, to the bottom! Luckily no-one witnessed this undignified descent!

My life continues next time

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