Many people would be rather grumpy if their morning started with persistent knock at the door. But the Chairman of Shaftesbury Arts Centre, Jenny Parker, didn’t mind postman Jerome ringing the bell this morning.
“We had a lovely surprise. At the crack of dawn, the postman knocked on the door, rang the bell and said ‘I have a message for you from the Palace’,” Jenny said.
Jenny and her husband John are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today. Her Majesty the Queen sent her best wishes through the Royal Mail!
Jenny said that delivery staff have to follow precise instructions. “He said he had to deliver it and then report back to the Palace as soon as he had done it. It was a lovely picture of the Queen. She was wearing a blue dress and carrying a bunch of flowers for us,” smiled Jenny.
A 60-year, diamond wedding anniversary is a very special occasion. “It’s not that common at all. I have to say it’s a bit of a life sentence,” Jenny laughed. “We were very lucky, in all sorts of ways,” added John. “We had three young children quickly. That was lovely. We are very proud of them,” he said. The couple have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too.
Jenny and John met in Orpington in Kent. “I’d been working picking hops. I’d been at it for six weeks at all hours. I was paid all in one go,” said John. “She was in college in Oxford at the time so I went up to Oxford. I had a pocket full of money – more money than I had ever had before. We went to a shop and bought an engagement ring.”
John knew instantly that Jenny was the woman for him. “It was love at first sight. I had to go and see her mother the next day. That was the problem,” John said.
So what is Jenny’s advice for a successful, long-lasting marriage? “You have to feed them well. You have to look after them. You have to stroke them when they are feeling ill. Generally be nice – but make sure that they do what you want,” Jenny smiled mischievously.
“We have a good division of labour,” offered John. “She likes cooking and I like eating.”
The couple were heading off for lunch at the Salt Cellar, their favourite place to eat. A party with a cabaret is planned for Saturday night at Shaftesbury Arts Centre.