Ah, there we both are... no wonder we couldn't resist each other. A couple of decades later we would meet in Norwich as students and fall in love. Before graduation we were engaged.
I remember that evening on Boxing Day 1974 when we walked to a children's playground in Grimsby and, already giddy, sat on the roundabout. I proposed. I remember Jan pointing out how much I had been drinking and suggesting I leave things until the cold light of the next day. I remember that next day when I coldly withdrew my proposal and said I'd think about it.
Back in Norwich, I finally realised how serious my intent was and asked again. On Valentine's Day 1975 we went to choose a ring. Jan had already seen one she liked. So had I. We walked into the city and led each other to the same jeweller's shop. I pointed out the ring in the window. "That's the one I chose," said Jan. It was a good beginning.
I say beginning. Things had already started, of course. The rather wonderful thing is that 'things' have carried on going for another forty years since we married.
At a check-up, the day before our thirty-ninth anniversary, I told our dentist that it would be a 'big one' next year... forty years.
"So, which one's that?" he asked.
"Ruby," I said.
"Oh, it can't be, can it... that's for really old people."
Hmmm. Thanks... thanks a lot.
So many different types of relationship. This has been ours. I rejoice that, now we are 'really old', it is still such a wonderful relationship.
The chances we are given to find a partner are not all the same and the support and threats given to any relationships formed are many and various. Having been granted the health and time to enjoy our love means that it is even deeper than it might have been. It also means that I easily regard our marriage as the greatest achievement of my life. Of course, I have only done half of the work... if that. I am more hard work than hard working. So I give public thanks here to Jan for her love which, in my case, passes all understanding.
We made it to our landmark on the 31st of July 2016. Our Ruby Wedding Anniversary has been an excuse for a few indulgent ways to celebrate. Expect more posts about those.