Drumquin couple John and Mary Kane celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary yesterday with a word of warning for young people starting out on a marriage today. The happy couple, both aged 71, revealed some of their ups and downs since they were married in 1963 on a cold and frosty morning at the foot of Dooish Mountain.
Mary, an ex-vetinary surgeon, was first to offer her pearls of wisdom:
“It’s not easy, like. Familiarity breeds contempt so you’re best to decide early on that you’re going to annoy this person as often as possible for the rest of your life. If you succeed, reward yourself with a brandy or new lipstick. Little tricks included using the sport section of the Irish News for lighting the fire on a Monday morning before he has read it. It used to drive him to total despair, wrecking the house. I’d be full by midday.”
John, a fighter pilot by trade, also dipped into his treasure box of experience:
“I agree with Mary. The magic goes after three years. Then she becomes an enemy. My war experience helped here. I remember a great piece of advice my father gave me: ‘Marriage is like a game of cards. Starts with two hearts and a diamond and ends with clubs and a spade’. We’ve been metaphorically clubbing at each other for 47 years now. It’s neck and neck for who’ll be left holding the spade.”
John listed selective hearing, secretly hiding the remote when the racing is on and putting empty cartons and packets back in the fridge as key tactics in the long war. Mary added her best manoeuvres as hiding the toilet roll, walking slowly in front of the TV during big matches and leaving no petrol in his car.
John and Mary will celebrate again today with a good old-fashioned argument about the wrong wheaten bread be bought last week.
A veterinary surgeon has billed a Dungannon belt-maker £100 for thinking about his dog after spotting it outside its owner’s house whilst out for a Sunday drive. In another example of the astronomical costs dished out by vets in recent years, Paddy Morgan says he had no choice but to pay the bill in case he needs him in the future to see to his ten gerbils. Morgan was still seething this morning at the unexpected charge:
“I couldn’t believe it. The vet phoned me this morning and asked if I owned a black and white collie with in-turned eyes. I said I did and he told me than I owed him £100 then. I was no less shocked when he told me why. He says he stopped his motor and stared at my wee Benny and thought he could do with a good wash. That was it. £100 for that thought. This is just mad, like.”
Vets have always held a high position in Tyrone due to how smart they probably are because the loads of letters after their name. In recent years, the average cost of going to see a vet has risen from £30 in 1999 to £380 in 2013. Morgan though says he is willing to cough up the money as he will probably need the vet’s expertise down the line.
“It’s a bit of an inconvenience alright but he has me by the knackers. My gerbils are always getting flus, consumption and the measles so I can’t fall out with him. There’s a vet in Coalisland but I heard he charged an old woman £4000 for petting the stress out of her worried cat even though the woman hadn’t thought there was anything wrong with the cat. It’s a double edged sword. I just hope and pray he doesn’t think any more about my dog.”
The Dungannon vet was unavailable for comment as he was too busy curing a frowning budgie by playing it ‘Sounds of Whales and Other Mammals’ from a CD he got from Nutt’s Corner.