Written on the eve of the Golden Wedding
celebration of John and Mavis Green. 15th. March 1997
To be delivered in the presence of their
It is a sobering thought that without the assistance of Adolf Hitler and
the choir of Stourbridge Congregational Church, this would never have
In 1941, Inspector John Joseph Hollyhead of the Worcestershire
Constabulary should have retired and with his family, disappeared into
obscurity over the Malvern hills. Instead, there being a war on, he was
promoted and posted to Stourbridge. Being a caring sort of chap, he took his
family with him. His wife and daughter started to attend a certain church
and eventually the daughter, Mavis, joined the choir of which I was already
So, but for the unlikely combination of A. Hitler, the German army and
Stourbridge Congregational Church, all but two of you here would either have
never existed, or have been somebody else.
Fifty years ago, nobody had the nerve to “show just cause or
impediment…….”, so Mavis Hollyhead resigned from the fire brigade, stopped
working for her living and went on to benefit. John Green resigned himself
to never again changing his mind without having an explanation ready. Such
is married life !
Since that day we have had an interesting life, and here are some
statistics to prove it:
In the four years from 1947 to 1951 we had 17 different sets of lodgings
in an area bounded by Glasgow, Denmark, Margate and Aberystwyth. That
accounts for our children being four years younger than they might otherwise
Since 1951 we have lived in ten different houses. That all adds up to 27
Since 1947 we have owned 17 cars, 2 mopeds and a tandem, in or on which
we have covered more than half a million miles, equivalent to 20 times round
the world at the equator. During that time also Mavis has probably knitted
up half a million miles of wool.
We have spent 18,262 days as man and wife without the benefits of
professional counselling – a remarkable achievement in these sad times. On
two of those days we managed to obtain two children by our own efforts. We
have also acquired two grand-children, two nephews and a niece by somebody
Whilst we are on statistics, I have spent a total of about 12 days
waiting outside ladies’ toilets – at a discreet distance of course..
We have shared the joys and responsibilities of one cat, one guinea-pig
and a goldfish or two, about which there are some remarkable stories.
All we have now to show for this is a half-share in a quarter of an acre
of Wiltshire, and a considerably smaller portion of shares in British Gas,
Southern Electricity and Railtrack. This may be seen as symbolic of our
We cannot say that we have never had a cross word since on most days we
have solved the D.T. Quick Crossword before retiring. We realise that this
is all very boring compared with the life of our contemporaries at Buck
House, but at least it is all true !
© The Estate of William John Green, 2004
To the best of my knowledge, this speech was
never actually delivered! (RJG, 10.6.2004)