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To be continued

After the engagement on Christmas Day, 1968, wedding plans were set for 30th August.

Jacquie and I had considered at length where we would live after we got married. We wanted to buy a house but decided that buying a house in our price range while working in London would locate us too long a commute distance from work. Travel time would be measured in hours per day.

Instead, we decided to emigrate to New Zealand. Investigation, though, showed some difficulties with that choice and so we switched to Australia. We felt that after establishing ourselves in Australia, we might be in a better position to move to New Zealand or might well decide that we preferred Australia.

The wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Church, Earlsfield on 30th August 1969. Apart from the fact that the best man was late getting me to the church and that the church was a bit noisy, having a main road right outside the door, the ceremony went well.

After the wedding we had a short honeymoon at the St. Osyth caravan. Afterwards, we moved in with Jacquie’s parents until our sailing date.

So preparations went full steam ahead for our emigration to Australia. We filled in the forms, had interviews, had medicals and were accepted. The deal at that time was that, for a cost to us of ten pounds, the Australian government would pay our fare provided we stayed two years. We had the choice of flying or going by boat. We chose the boat trip of six weeks through the tropics which seemed too good to be true (it was... we would have been in separate dormitories!). All that was left to do was to get married (Jacquie wouldn’t go with me unless we were first married!), hand in our notice at work and go. Jacquie and her mother took on the marriage arrangements and I took on the handing in of notices.

The marriage plans progressed well but my project hit an immediate stumbling block: the Canadian company we worked for just about refused our resignations and persuaded us instead to transfer to Canada!

The wedding preparations continued while the emigration plans took a U-turn as, with the Company’s help, we fast-tracked through Canadian immigration procedures. Eventually, everything was settled and we were ready to go.

We started packing our trunks. Each night we would force them closed by sitting on the lids; the next day we would open them and cram in some more stuff. Finally we shipped them off to Liverpool. Then we were off ourselves. All our worldly possessions were contained in four trunks and two suitcases.

Six days later we docked at Quebec City and went through Canadian immigration. Then we continued to Montreal where we disembarked. After arranging for our luggage to be sent on to Toronto, we got on the train to Toronto. We were met at Union Station and our lives in Canada began.

Our trip across the Atlantic was rough including a force nine gale that caused us to go south of Ireland and required withdrawal of the ship’s stabilizers. But after we had our seasickness jabs, all was well. I even managed to win the on-board table tennis tournament though the table heaved with the ship’s motion.

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