Our wedding day 2007

Our wedding day 2007

WE WERE both born in 1947 – true Baby Boomers – and met in Oxford, where we had each lived for some years.  We married in May 2007 and moved north four months later. We had both been widowed – Ian in 1993 and myself in 1991 – so we’d been a long time on our own and marriage was a big commitment after all those years of independence. But guess what? We still have our independence, our separate – and shared – interests, and seven children between us. They’re all grown up and away from home. So our at-home ‘family’ is just us, plus Harry and Maud, our border terriers.
I’m working again – as I was 50 years ago – as a junior reporter for our weekly paper, the Darlington and Stockton Times. I love it. And they pay me! Not massively, but enough to make me feel valued. And considering the state of the printed press these days to get anybody to pay you anything is quite a triumph. Also do occasional features for our lovely Dalesman magazine. Here’s a link to my freelance journalism page Oddly, my favourite thing is still local politics. Give me a local council meeting over a night at the theatre any day of the week: more real, better dialogue, funnier characters and – sometimes – though definitely not at Askrigg or Bainbridge, of course – just a hint of things not being quite what they should be or appear to be. . .
Ian and I still have a small house in Oxford: partly because it boosts our pensions, and partly, I think, because at heart I’m still a town mouse: I like to feel I still have a toe-hold in a busy, cosmopolitan city. It’s a pain in the neck when you live there – too much traffic, a big town/gown divide which isn’t easy to cross unless you’re a paid-up member of academia, a city centre partly ruined by insensitive development – but when you’re away it has a big pull on your heart-strings. At its best it’s stunningly beautiful, stimulating, and has a good social and cultural mix.
Ian is a biologist who studied at Edinburgh University, and ended up as telecomms manager at Oxford University. How, I’ll never know: when I met him he didn’t even have a watch, never mind a mobile ‘phone. I always felt he was more suited to being an absent-minded professor in an ivory tower cutting up frogs and working on DNA structures – but hey-ho, that’s life: it never takes you to where you expect to be. He certainly never expected to end up married to me, until about two days before the wedding. He realised at that point there was no escape. While he was enjoying the privileged life of a student, smoking – well, stuff – and strumming a guitar in an Edinburgh bedsit in the ’60s, I was working my socks off to (unknowingly) support him and his ilk. Who says student fees are a bad idea? I was earning £3 14s 6d a week as a copy girl on the Sheffield Star: until I went there in July 1963, straight out of school, there had only been copy boys. I ended up as a reporter on the paper and then went to the Daily Mail in 1968, the year I married for the first time, to Malcom Grey who was also a journalist. (Malc died in September 1991, Anne in January 1993).
It was in the days when you had to give up work (paid work, that is) to have children and that’s precisely what I did: Sally, born 1971, Morag 1972 and Beth 1977. Ian and Anne had Tom, 1978, Ruth 1980, Simon 1982 and Dan 1986.
After the children were born I did some freelance journalism, worked as a researcher and reporter for Tyne Tees television, and eventually ended up as a regional public relations manager for British Gas. I retired officially in 1995 and went to Westminster College, Oxford, where I did a theology degree. I later did a masters in Irish Studies in Bath and worked as a freelance editor/ plain English adviser for a number of organisations including the General Medical Council and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. And now I’m back to square one as a junior reporter (see above).


2 thoughts on “US

  1. Hello Betsy and Ian,

    I followed yo back from a message uou left on my blog – thank you.
    Hoping you have many more happy years together.

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