A blog about long friendships, first dates, happy accidents and finding someone you’re happy to be locked down with.
16 years ago
Tomorrow is our 16th wedding anniversary. We were married on a sunny June day in a country house in Essex, with 200 guests and the most amazing funk/disco band. Everyone danced, it was joyous.
Our courtship is full of funny anecdotes. It’s a little slice of personal history which I hope my kids will read one day.
54 years ago
Iit doesn’t compare to the story of how my mum met my dad.
Mum was at an engagement party, waiting for her blind date to arrive and fill the empty chair next to her. Dad arrived briefly to explain to the blind date’s parents that their son wouldn’t be there as he’d been involved in an accident. Mum saw Dad a few weeks later at a gathering and confronted him about ruining her evening. Dad seized the opportunity to invite her out for a coffee to tell her about ‘all his other accidents’.
They were engaged six weeks later. No point hanging around! That was 54 years ago.
21 years ago
Back to us. A long time ago, before internet dating was a thing, I was job hunting. One final interview, with a small PR agency, went like this:
I was asked to present to a panel on my biggest career challenge and how I overcame it. I’d prepared well and had a strong presentation to deliver. It started with a scene-setting introduction, where I explained that my client was a wide boy, a narcissist and troublemaker.
“Let’s call him Steve,” I said with a flourish. There was a ripple of laughter around the room, before one of the panel members announced with a smirk that his name was Steve (my future husband – although that’s not how he introduced himself at the time).
Despite that faux pas, I got the job. Steve and I used to travel together in his old Mini to see a client in High Wycombe. We could easily spend that hour not talking to each other at all. I was intimidated by him: I thought his intellect was so superior to mine, he wouldn’t be interested in anything I had to say.
Always on time
After I had been with the company for a year, Steve left. We stayed in touch – a group of us used to meet up regularly after work in the pub. Steve and I were always the first to arrive, often waiting an hour for anyone else to join us. Which gave us time to get to know each other better. We were both in long term relationships with other people, so it was just a lovely friendship.
A year or so later, I left the agency. At my leaving do, a large group of us finished the evening in Pizza Express (not the infamous Woking branch). One by one my friends gave a little toast to wish me luck in my new job. When it came to his turn, Steve raised his glass and said, “to the woman I should have married.”
Stunned silence. Coughs and blushes.
Aaaaanyway…. We stayed in contact; Steve moved to North London, not far from where I lived.
Just before my 30th birthday, I broke up with my boyfriend. Steve split up with his girlfriend the same weekend, on another continent, coincidentally.
Six months of innocent nights out in cocktail bars and restaurants followed. We discussed every issue under the sun, from art to politics to religion. He was (still is) so interesting, well informed and funny, without being a know-it-all. We agreed on everything – not in a sycophantic way, genuinely sharing the same views, values and sense of humour. Finally, I’d found someone who understood when I was being ironic.
We’ll always have Woolworths
I’ll spare you the details such as our first kiss outside Woolworths. Five months later we were engaged. Steve proposed in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. He had intended to propose to me the night before, but I’d nearly thrown up in my dinner, so he very wisely waited until I’d recovered.
So that’s the story of how I met your father. We met 21 years ago, and tomorrow we’ll celebrate 16 years since we became Mr and Mrs Maven (not our real names). I can’t think of anyone in the world I’d rather be locked down with.
Much love, Vx