married, four children, three grandchildren
It’s a sunny August bank holiday 1973 in West Cornwall.
I’m working on a farm there which belongs to the family of a uni friend. This friend with various mates and partners are visiting for the holiday.
One of them has had a call from an old schoolfriend who finds herself in an awkward spot and needs a place to stay since her plans have gone astray.
My friends go off for a walk down the farm to the quay on the Helford to paddle and play in the sun, so I’m waiting for this unknown who drives in soon after lunch. Rachel has found her way from North Cornwall, so that shows some ability in the days before modern gismos, and she’s friendly and good looking. More than that really, I’m well impressed.
We chat away till the others return, and although my memories of the rest of the weekend are hazy, subsequently we keep in close touch; there’s a couple of parties I manage to get to in London and Reading; she drives down (just the 6.5hrs each way) after work on a Friday several times; we spend Christmas together in Cornwall, she gives up her job in London and comes to live with me by the next Easter; we marry the following September.
That’s all 38 years ago. We moved back to my family’s farm in 1975, have 4 children, and now 3 grandchildren and while it must stretch anyone’s imagination to believe it’s wall to wall happiness ever after, there have been remarkably few arguments, no serious ones, and no regrets.
Bit of a long story as prelude. I drove to Cornwall with a university mate to spend 1973 August bank-holiday in his parents caravan as I had a car & he didn’t! Walked into the local pub on arrival at closing time and his girl friend was there with his sister (unknown to us before we arrived). ‘Oh’ says I, ‘what am I going to do for 3 nights in a tiny caravan with my mate & his girlfriend!’ Luckily my flat mate in London (old school friend) was staying the weekend in Cornwall too with her university friends, one of whom I had met & whose parents farmed in Cornwall (another Charlie). I remembered the name of the farm & ‘Direct Enquiries came up trumps so I rung them the next morning and persuaded them to let me stay a couple of nights.
So…I drove further into Cornwall & drove into the farmyard of said ‘Charlie Two’s’ parents & the only person around was ‘the other’ Charlie. They were known as Charlie One & Charlie Two = Charlie Munn & Charlie Pugh. Charlie One was farming there.
‘Charlie One Munn’ was quite charming, saying “You must be Rache”, being polite & interested in why I was there, enquiring after my family, where I lived etc & showed me into a tiny room in the farmhouse (the rest fully occupied by all their other university friend staying for the weekend.)
Evening in the pub, me managing to chat up ‘Charlie One’, inspite of us getting as far as him telling me how at least 3 other girls fancied him! Good looking bloke with lovely eyes!
Scheming led us (school friend flat mate & I) having a party in London few weeks later when we knew ‘Charlie One’ was crossing the Tamar & coming up to Reading to celebrate ‘Charile Two’s’ marriage.
The rest is history & without it there’d be no Munn children & a lot more besides!!