Mack’s Craic

04Oct12

We’re going around the world in twenty-five days, one day for every year we’ve been married.

Day 13 Paihia (3rd October)  

Today we went back to where it all began. It’s the big day, the reason we travelled all of this way. On this day exactly twenty-five years ago Julie and I were married at St Paul’s church in Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

The little stone church on the waterfront hasn’t changed at all. We walked hand in hand down the aisle and kissed at the alter. Julie’s parents were there too and just as emotional as they were in 1987 when a twenty-three year old Liverpudlian stole the heart of their nineteen year old daughter.

It’s a special place for another reason. My grandmother was born in Liverpool in 1908 and raised seven children there during the war. In 1984 when she was 76, the family all chipped in and bought her a return trip to New Zealand so she could visit her daughter, my mum. We’d emigrated the year before. She made the trip all by herself, quite an achievement when you consider it was the first time she’d ever been in an airport, never mind on a plane. When she got back to England after her holiday, we found out from the family that she never stopped talking about how much she loved New Zealand, especially the Bay of Islands. When she died in 1995, her ashes where taken to Paihia and are now under a marble plinth in the grounds of St Paul’s.

I was her first grandchild and it would have been lovely if she could have been at our wedding in 1987. I know she wanted to be there but sadly, couldn’t make it. Well, she made it back there eventually and I’m so glad she’s in the place she loved so much and a place that means a lot to us too.

New Zealand is like that, it gives you something special that stays with you for ever. It gave me the love of my life.

Happy anniversary Julie.

There’s a Craic around the world!

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