The Secret


Ralph and Phyllis Tarrant have been married for 77 years, although they actually met 85 years ago. Phyllis was 16 when she met Ralph, a 22 year old steel worker. Ralph is now 107 and Phyllis 101. They have been married longer than any other couple in Britain. They met on street corners for three years without so much as a fumble. Then it was supper with her parents and a tot of whiskey before bed. They travelled around Scotland in an Austin van with a lilo behind the seats. With a stove and a saucepan to make tea and bacon and eggs. The Tarrants got married in 1933. At 107, Ralph still stays up until the early hours chatting and drinking. Ralph puts his longevity down to a lot of cheese and onion sandwiches and a glass of whiskey every evening. The tabloids tried to treat the story as one of enduring love. They were interviewed recently on television. Ralph was talking about his adventures, clearly animated. The interviewer turned to Phyllis and said, ‘he does talk a lot doesn’t he’. To which Phyllis said, ‘he does. It gets on your nerves’.  She meant it. When asked what the secret was of a such a long marriage Ralph looked puzzled but then said, ‘she goes her way and I go mine.’

Michael Stewart


About headspam

I'm a writer from Salford, now based in Bradford. I've written for theatre, radio and TV. And the following books: King Crow (novel: Bluemoose Books); Couples (poetry: Valley Press); Cafe Assassin (novel: Bluemoose Books); Mr Jolly (short stories: Valley Press) Author page:
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