This time ten years ago I was in a state of mild panic. Lists had been made and executed to within an inch of their margins. Dresses had been collected, the kilts (yes, kilts) were good to go and the table plan was in a million pieces on my lounge floor with my screams of “it’s no good, you bloody do it” echoing around the four walls.
Reader, I was getting married in just three days time. And my state of anxiety was as high as a high thing smoking a spliff at the very peak of Mount High. You get the drift, I was stressed. My lovely husband to be was, as ever, as cool as a cucumber and absolutely nailed that table plan. Knew I should have made him do it from the start.
We got married in a castle in Scotland. (Pic below, pretty isn’t it?) My Mother walked me down the aisle in the absence of my Dad, who had had the cheek to pass away a mere nine weeks and two days previously. I got ready that morning alone, after kicking my bridesmaids out of the room in a massive bawling fit of needing space. I needed an hour or two to cry all the meticulously applied bridal makeup off and have a chat with Dad, wherever the heck he might have been. The bagpiper started playing downstairs, I pulled myself together, downed some now warm champagne, popped some lippy on and told Dad he’d better enjoy today. (He never did like parties but to get out of one like this, well, that was his darkest sense of humour at its finest.)
So back to Mum and I coming down the aisle. Because the dress was so huge and my Mum was (and is) so tiny, we pretty much exploded through the doors at the back of the room and launched ourselves a little too quickly up the aisle towards the man I was going to marry.
He had fortunately been given the heads up by the minister that the vital paperwork that meant we could actually be married that day was needed so had spent much of the morning trying to find it. Luckily, it was located, handed over and with minutes to spare after nursing a teeny tiny headache from the night before, managing to get his kilt on the right way round and popping his sgian dubh in his sock, there he was grinning at me in between tears. And me who had been sobbing most of the morning? Beaming.
It remains unconfirmed as to whether we are “officially” married as halfway through the vows, the droll Scottish Minister paused to add a few jokes, which everyone seemed to love, ended up in a sort of weird stand up routine and we never did get round to finishing the vows properly. Ah well. Bit late now eh? Before we knew it, there we were, possibly legally husband and wife and then the party started. Together with around eighty friends and family, we partied in style, eating, drinking, dancing and laughing.
Three years (to the day of our wedding) earlier, we had met on a blind date. Some friends took pity on us and with a flash of pre-Tinder inspiration, set us up hoping we might get on. I very nearly cancelled that blind date. I had cooked the night before, nothing unusual there you may think but this was me B.C. (Before Cooking.) I had absolutely no idea how to cook and lived mainly off microwave meals, free dinners I got at the pub I worked in and the occasional payday treat of a box of wine. I must have decided I could cook all of a sudden and can wholeheartedly confirm the food poisoning that arrived on the day of said date meant I held off the cooking for a fair few more years for the good of my health.
But I battled on and went on the date looking as pale as Caspar the friendly ghost and drinking water – cheap date personified. Somehow he liked me, we exchanged numbers, met a few more times and before we knew it, we were “together”, receiving invitations addressed to both of us instead of the usual “plus one” I’d always get. (Apologies to various family members who have me and a random on their wedding photos.)
He hated my flat as I only had three TV channels and it took too long to walk to the only pub in the village so when my rental term ended I moved in with him. (He did the cooking.)
Since then, we’ve certainly ticked off some milestones, both good and bad. We have had some bloody nice holidays and a couple of really crap ones. (I’m talking about you camping-in-the-rain-in-Wales-2009) We’ve had the pitter patter of first tiny paws, then tiny toes. We’ve had a new home, new jobs, I even learnt to cook.
You know when people say “He’s not just my husband, he’s my best friend” Yeah, well he’s not. And I know damn sure I’m not his best mate either and not being a fan of either football or Doombar, I wouldn’t want to be. What he is though, is the one I turn to when I want to tell him something funny that happened today. Or something that I’m angry as hell about. He has, and continues to do what my Dad asked him to do – looked after me and he’s done it well. He has had a crash course in how to treat diabetic “episodes”, some more epic than others. He puts up with my hair brained schemes that he is expected to be fully on board with at a moments notice. He is without doubt, the best Father I could have possibly asked for, for our son. He walks the dog on her pink lead and picks up poo – both of which were absolute deal breakers back in the day. He doesn’t watch the extra episode of the box set we’re into without me. He’ll pick up a Kinder Bueno at the shop because he knows its my favourite. He’ll tell me when an outfit looks nice and say absolutely nothing when it doesn’t because he knows I’ll wear it anyway. He brings me coffee in bed when he and my son are off to football on a Sunday morning. He makes a really good Gin and Tonic and has an anecdote about literally everything to cover all bases, all get togethers, all moods and all moments.
As you can probably tell, I don’t do soppy, heartfelt or meaningful very well. Anniversary cards from me are never ones filled with hearts and flowers and we certainly don’t send each other “cute” teddy bears or chocolate hearts. He hopefully just knows what he means to me and if he doesn’t then he’ll just have to read this. Happy anniversary my bearded one. x
“Auchen Castle” Painted by John Stanway.