It took around three months for Husband’s mother to like me because I think she thought I was a bit of a hippy. At the time I dressed in a t-shirt and Indian skirt, and the thongs on my feet drew severe expressions of disapproval. After all, she was very ‘old school’ and was always dressed immaculately in a frock, cardigan, stockings, court shoes, and her face was always powdered, her lips lipsticked, whereas I would arrive every morning, all sweaty and dishevelled on my bicycle….
It was my grin that won her over. She finally stopped calling me ‘that girl’ and began calling me ‘darling’ and told me to stop calling her Mrs BG and, from that moment, I began to call her ‘Inna’, her family’s name for her. By this time I had already fallen in love with Husband but he didn’t know that – he just saw me as the new ‘help’ – ha!
It was an enormous learning curve for me to meet a family so different from my own; it wasn’t just the rural thing, it was the drinks at 5pm – gin and tonics, cinzano and lemonade, whiskey and soda, beer – and Inna’s Benson and Hedges cigarettes! For me it was like entering into a forbidden adventure since I had been brought up to think all of these things were rather sinful.
I watched and served and watched and served until one afternoon, after the milking of the cows was over, Husband came into the kitchen where I was trying to do the fish mornay and said, “Do you want to join us?”