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The First Word.

Byline: By Hannah Jones Western Mail

My nan and grancha were married for more than 60 years.

Grancha, for those of you who have no concept of Wenglish, means grandfather. I think I need to clarify that at the outset because a friend of mine - a Welsh one at that - didn't know what "a grancha" was when I was explaining something or other about him.

"So what do you call your grancha then?" came my question. "Dead," was her answer.

Anyway, they were married long enough to get diamond presents and, unless one or the other was in hospital, they never spent a night apart.

They were rather proud of this, but not as much as my grancha was of the fact that he'd read the Bible from cover to cover many times over. "Were you bored?" I innocently asked him.

"Whenever your nan was getting on my nerves I dipped into it," he told me. "Did I tell you we've been married for 60 years? Now you'll understand my attraction to Leviticus ."

I'm not sure what made their marriage strong or workable or wonderful in equal measures. Maybe it was the fact he was placid and she was anything but.

Another diamond duo celebrated their anniversary last week, namely the Queen and Prince Philip. There was loads on the box about their marriage, but what's more interesting to me is a new documentary series coming up which follows them - and their brood - around the world.

It's done by the Beeb and offers an exclusive insight in the working life of "major" royals.

With something like 400 engagements to fulfil every year, how does our Queen B(usy) find the time to keep her marriage strong, fresh and, dare I say it, fruity? Thinking back to my nan and grancha, would their union have lasted through 425 engagements, 92 official visits and 219 investitures a year?

Mr and Mrs Norman led a far more sedate life, but it was busy in its own way. Theirs was a simple life spent chapel hopping, chopsing, running a pub, shouting at my mother and then at me when she was old enough to answer back, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, not going further than Abergavenny by bus on a good day.

Theirs wasn't a life which would have made for a great TV series, but I'd give anything to watch them bicker one more time, to see grancha answer nan's groans by picking up his little black book and ignoring her behind its cover, then both of them smiling about it later.

I think that's the kind of love worthy of a Royal Appointment.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 24, 2007
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