When forever is just that

SOMETIMES when couples say “forever” they actually mean it, says Patricia Mothersole, married to her “knight in shining armor”, Peter, for 55 years. “We met at a dance in England, which Pat’s uncle hosted, I think. I was 22 and just got out of the air force. I saw her, she was 17, and well, she looked as beautiful as she looks today,” says Peter.

“What can I say, she stirred the cockles of my heart.”

Peter approached Pat, nee Messenger, and asked her to dance. “In between dances I’d take a walk to the bar to get a beer – anyway, I asked her if she wanted a drink.”

Pat laughs and continues the story: “I said ‘yes’ but he only realised when I led him to the coffee bar that I wasn’t saying yes to the drinks.”

The two, who live in Westering, became inseparable. “We had our first date at the Cameo Cinema in Britain. We did everything together and were always honest with each other.

“We knew we wanted to be with each other for the rest of our lives. We knew we wanted to get married one day and even opened a joint bank account – something my mom wasn’t very pleased about.

“It worked out for us though and we’ve always had a joint account.

“A few months later, Peter proposed, didn’t you?” she asked, looking over at her husband still with so much love in her eyes.

Looking back at her, Peter confirms: “Yes. I proposed and this bossy boots made me go down on one knee.”

Peter: “And you want to know what I asked her while on one knee? ‘Hey worm, you want to wiggle down the aisle with me?” The couple agreed that they’d wait and save for two years before they married at St Mary’s Church in Leicester on March 28 1959.

Pat admitted they weren’t well off and “basically, we had to borrow things from everyone – I mean, we were so broke that we’d window shop at night when none of the shops were open – and our reception was a tea party at my mom’s place.” They have three children; Kevin, Gary and Jane, and the same number of grandchildren.

Peter says he always wanted children: “We agreed to wait two years after we got married and had our first child and because I kind of calculated how much time she’d need to recover after the baby, each of our children are 18 months apart.

They couple moved to South Africa in 1969 “purely out of adventure”.

“Pat was always spoilt and her parents thought she would never leave – they thought she didn’t have the guts to do it and made a point to tell her. I think that was their biggest mistake because if they had not said that, she probably wouldn’t have left England.”

Pat agreed: “We’ve always got on well and rarely had arguments and those arguments only occurred when I couldn’t get my own way.”

Peter was an engineer and Pat, although she had occasional part-time jobs, mainly stayed at home with the kids.

“We’ve had a great life, haven’t we darling?” Peter asked his wife, to which she replied, “we did indeed”.