Talking about their now-postponed trip to the States, Arthur says: ‘I’m a bit of an old romantic and have got like that with age, I think.
‘The plan was to have been seeing the autumn colours of “Fall”, which hopefully would have included quite a lot of gold among other colours. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel this with the ongoing pandemic.’
But avid travellers Arthur and Joan – who have visited more than 65 countries together – are going to celebrate at their Portchester home.
Arthur and Joan, née Savage, met while they were working together at ASWE and married on October 17, 1970, at St Mary’s Church, Portchester.
Arthur, 76, explains: ‘I was a shy chap and Joan was always a cheerful character.
‘Joan was a typist and I was a mechanic. I was about 26 and she was 18.
‘We were both waiting for the 10am tea trolley to come round so I could get a cheese roll.
‘There was also another chap who we worked with who was doing a bit of matchmaking, which was quite sweet.’
Joan, 69, adds: ‘I was actually going out with someone else when I met Arthur.
‘My sister said: “Well, I can’t see you marrying him”.
‘I told Arthur what she said about the other chap and he asked “could you see yourself marrying me”. I said yes and it all went from there.
‘We were only courting from February until October when we got married.’
The couple recall their wedding was on a ‘glorious day’.
‘I was very excited. Somebody at work said they never knew someone so excited for their wedding day,’ says Joan, smiling.
‘We had about 50 guests and a reception at the Portchester Parish Hall, but it’s not there now.
‘We didn’t have a honeymoon but I was lucky enough to have a £100 bonus at work which meant we could get our first place together.’
Both Arthur and Joan worked for the MoD all of their lives and, now they are retired, they spend their time singing, playing chess, walking and travelling.
‘We completed the Round the World cruise in 2017. Joan climbed to the top of Huayna Picchu, the adjoining peak above Macchu Picchu, Peru,’ says Arthur.
For the past 20 years, the couple have sung together in various choirs such as the Portsmouth Choral Union and have recently joined Hayling Island Choir.
Alongside their passion for singing, Joan ran the Portchester Darby and Joan Club for 20 years and is also an avid knitter. Arthur has played chess since he was 11 years old, winning various tournaments and leagues at Fareham, Gosport and Cosham Chess Club.
To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Arthur and Joan are hoping for a holiday in 2021.
‘Next year, we hope to go to Norway, Iceland and Greenland,’ explains Arthur.
‘We’re making sure we’re obeying the Covid-19 rules so we’re going to walk down to Port Solent for lunch, walk through the castle and by the church we got married in.
‘It doesn’t feel like 50 years at all. It’s gone by in a flash and so has life.
‘She’s a lovely lady, my wife, and that’s the main reason we’re still together.
‘We wanted to do something interesting with our lives and we have always loved travelling. I have been retired for 20 years now but it’s important to have lots of interests.’
And on the secret to a happy and successful marriage, Arthur adds: ‘The secret to marriage is marrying the right person.
‘It’s important not to over-complicate things.
‘She doesn’t laugh at all of my jokes any more but at least I am still a little funny,’ he says, laughing.