Chapter 10

Chapter 10

We were away, in Hugh’s antique Mercedes, which was to take us for all the six weeks of our honeymoon. We drove over the moors, right down the County, near Hexham, to the home of mother’s close friends the Newalls, who had lent us the place for our first night.

Our marriage did not start on a very auspicious note. Hugh’s mother had told him that a double bed was unhealthy. It was better for him that he slept in a single bed. As the guest room in which we were had two single beds, this separated condition was my first experience of married life! I did not sleep in a double bed for the whole of my married life! I am of the firm opinion, although I never spoke with Hugh about my disappointment with this aspect of our married life, that if this single bed situation had not been so, our marriage might never have broken up. Hugh could have ended his life in his own home with his own people round him. But a very different destiny had to be worked through, for both of us.

Our next stop was Cambridge, where we went to call on Teddy Collingwood – not only an old friend of my family, but Hugh had met and made friends with him when he was at Cambridge. Then one night in London and over to France. We just had one stop, I think at Blois, before arriving at Marseilles. Down at the harbour we were highly entertained by the “drama” of having the car hoisted onto the boat, for the crossing to Algiers. When this operation was carried out at Dover, for instance, it had been a simple, quick and straight forward job, with very few men to do it, but at Marseilles a large crowd had gathered, all talking and shouting and helping with instructions. At one point it really looked as if the car would be dropped from its ropes into the hold! But eventually it was safely stowed. There was a repetition of all this at Algiers, this time with even noisier Arabs than Frenchmen. But, of course, we did get safely away.

Hugh had planned what was going to be a most interesting drive to different parts of Algeria. Because it was all such unknown territory, he had engaged a guide to go with us. And this man was very useful, dealing for instance with hotels. I just can’t remember all the details of this drive, but on our first day we climbed up over the Atlas Mountains into most dramatic country. One place we went to was Timgad at the edge of desert country. The old Roman settlement remains gave one a really complete picture of a busy community. I was fascinated watching Hugh walking about the streets and going into the houses, and thought that all I had to do was throw a toga over him and he would show me to his home so completely was he at one with all this Roman atmosphere. I suppose Hugh had, in times past, been a Roman Senator!

We crossed back again into France and drove along the Riviera. I showed him the places I had lived in as a child, and it was really very sad to see that the lovely little fishing village of Cavalaire was now a large holiday resort. We stayed in Monaco, and went over to the Casino at Monte Carlo. I remember the shops there, particularly the jewellery ones, full of the most exotic and wonderful things.

From there we went on to Aix les Bains, and had some wonderful walks up in the surrounding hills. Then it was home with both of us having really had enough. Six weeks of driving was a long time, honeymoon or not. Hugh was obviously wanting to get back to the Glass Works, naturally enough, and I had a new home to set up.

In London we stayed a night at 30 Lennox Gardens with Aunts Margaret and May and Uncle Fred Chance, sisters and brother of George. Fred wrote the history of the Glass Works and the genealogy. May was Hugh’s godmother, but because he was a Prisoner of War in Germany on his 21st birthday, she could not give him a 21st birthday present, either then or when he came home! It was actually my 22nd birthday, May 29th, the day after we got to London, and Aunt Margaret gave me a rather nice bead necklace.

As our own house was far from being ready for us, we stayed with Nellie Grazebrook, with whom Hugh had been living while he was going to the Works. Nellie was elderly, a very competent artist, and the soul of kindness. Although she adored Hugh, she did not resent my arrival in his life – in fact she welcomed me to be his permanent companion. She said we could stay with her until we could move. So our first temporary house was The Court, at Hagley. Nellie’s very old friend, Bella Harrison, had been living with Nellie until her own house was built and had just moved out of The Court when we arrived.

The Victorian, three-storied house had only one bathroom. Nellie’s father had also been artistic, his outlet being carving, so the house was full of his handiwork; I remember chiefly ¬chair backs and the end of the banisters. The house was at the bottom of the long, steep Hagley Hill, and had a large garden at the front, meticulously looked after by a gardener who had been with the family for decades. In spite of his considerable age, he still produced an abundance of vegetables and a lovely herbaceous border. I remember his speciality was sweet peas, and he had actually produced a new variety whose name even was accepted by gardening authorities.

Hugh was happy to be back at the Glass Works, and as there was nothing I could do about the work in our own house, I went up to Hauxley after I had heard that Mary had got engaged to Thorlief Mangin, and I needed to go and hear all about it first hand!

Thorlief was in the Colonial Service, so Mary had to face a totally new kind of life in the difficult climate of the Gold Coast, where Thorlief was stationed. It had been about as rapid a courtship as mine had been, and there could not be a long engagement as his leave ended in July, and then he had to get back to his job. I really hardly knew Mary at all, as we had led such different lives, through going to different schools, and then during the following years when she was in a variety of jobs. She and Thorlief were obviously very much in love, and the Mangins were quite happy about them getting married.


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