In December 1986 we packed up all our worldly goods that had accumulated whilst we had been living in Houston for two years. Bear in mind we had arrived with two suitcases of clothes each! We now had an apartment of furniture, a couple of wardrobes of clothes, posters of most of the places we had visited and a car that I refused to be parted from.
The company agreed to pay our removals back to England and two men duly arrived from the shipping company and one packed as one sat behind a makeshift desk and wrote every item down. In a nutshell; our furniture and belongings were packed carefully around my Ford Topaz car which had been drained of all combustibles.
In one last massive party our friends congregated in one of the big downtown hotels for a New Year’s Eve party and rather the worse for wear we boarded our flight for London on January 1st.
David was coming back to Prescott as Chief Engineer of the company and we moved into a B&B in Chester for the first six weeks and house hunted in the surrounding area. When not viewing properties we resumed our walks in the Welsh mountains close by and also explored this ancient city. You could walk around the walls in those days and David found a useful spot to lock me away from retail therapy.
We found a very nice house in Runcorn close to the village of Frodsham and in the middle of February we moved in. David left the decorating to me and in the first six weeks I eradicated the smell of nicotine with a couple of coats of magnolia. Our belongings had been delivered and installed and I then set about finding garages that sold unleaded petrol for my Topaz. Eventually I discovered a garage on the M6 about 25 miles away and I would fill the car up once a month. Thankfully unleaded gas became more common and I could stop carrying an emergency gallon in the trunk the whole time.
David found his new job a little different from expected and this was partly down to the freedom he had experienced working in the US for two years. I had only just finished decorating the house when he was offered a job in London with his former boss in cable TV. More money, responsibility and freedom to manage the job. I popped back into the estate agents who had sold us the house and told him to stick the details back up in the window.
David was going to work in the fast growing Docklands development and so we opted to live north of the city in South Woodford backing onto Epping Forest. We were lucky to find a semi-detached house within our price range and moved in April of 1987 having sold the Runcorn house quickly.
Again there was some redecorating required but thankfully this time we would be living here for the next nine years. I began looking around for a job but before I could start work I had another important engagement to keep. As matron of honour for my best friend in Texas, Debby.
In the summer I flew back to Houston and stayed with a friend of ours in the Chancellor Apartments before heading out to the family ranch the day before the wedding. I received a lovely welcome and apart from ensuring that the bride was dressed and on time (not difficult since the wedding was in their back garden!) I also was given another important duty.
Debby’s mother asked me to make sure that all the various guests sleeping in spare rooms and on mattresses throughout the house, were up at 7.00 in time for breakfast. She told me that I would hear her husband get up about 6.30 and be in the kitchen getting breakfast started.
I was honoured to be in a bed and I shared the room with the bridegroom’s delightful elderly grandmother. We kept the door open to allow fresh air into the room as this was a Texas summer and still being jet-lagged I slept lightly. However, on cue, I saw Debby’s father passing along the corridor and leapt out of bed, donning my clothes before walking through the house waking everyone up. In 30 minutes the kitchen was filled with people expecting coffee and a cooked breakfast. Obviously there was a fair amount of chatter and eventually Debby’s mum arrived in her nightdress.
‘Sally…. It is only 6.00… Why is everyone up?’
So I explained that I had seen her husband passing the bedroom door and had assumed that was the signal…
‘Honey… He was only going to the bathroom!’
Anyway the wedding went off without a hitch and was wonderful… Here is a shot of my backside as the ceremony took place in the rose decorated garden.
Back in the UK I began the process of finding a job. In the September I received an interview for a London advertising publication in South Woodford and I began work as Sales Trainer the first week of October. I had barely time to get my feet under the desk when nature decided to rip through our lives. The daily weather on the 14th of October predicted some high winds! That was an understatement as the next night a hurricane, something we thought we had left behind in Texas, devastated many parts of the south of England. Trees were down on our estate of houses but I was able to make my way to the office in the high street. Nobody else made it in that day as there was no public transport but luckily we did not suffer as badly as people in counties such as Kent.
Of course music still played a huge part of my life especially when decorating two houses back to back! Rick Astley was at the top of his career with Never Gonna Give You Up... Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now, Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (A lot of Gonnas and Wannas that year in the charts). Los Lobos – La Bamba, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind, Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman, U2 – With or Without You and one of my most played tracks Labi Siffre with Something Inside – Woman So Strong.
That year saw the release of one of the most popular musicals of the time. Dirty Dancing still draws people in and the final dance scene is re-enacted at weddings and on reality dance shows every year. And why should this blog be any different!!! R.I.P Patrick Swayze. 💔
You can buy Dirty Dancing: Amazon
Now time for two requests this week…. get in early with yours for next week by emailing me with the youtube link for your favourite track – firstname.lastname@example.org… or leave in the comments.
The first is for author Robbie Cheadle ” I dedicate this to my own Mr Fox who took me to see Like a Bat out of Hell in London recently. Such a lovely man”
Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) available: Amazon
Robbie Cheadle is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore
Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ – Goodreads: Robbie Goodreads
And the second request this week is from D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) who says it reminds her of those last dances of the evening, when a little smooching went on…..
Turn off the Lights by Teddy Pendegrass available: Amazon
D.G. Kaye is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.
D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads
I hope that you have enjoyed today’s music column and please do let me know what your favourite piece of music is, and take an opportunity to promote your blog and books at the same time.. Tune in again next week.. thanks Sally.