Thursday, 24 September 2009
A day trip to Canada! part 1
It was early October 1981 I was living in a house with three other people in Kingston, Surrey. Two men and another woman, we all more or less got on, although like any usual shared house there were the squabbles about who'd drunk the last of the milk. It was in a fantastic location, as I was five minutes walk away from Richmond Park, a place I spent hours in. I was working a few miles away in Epsom in a unit for disturbed adolescents, work I really loved.
The bathroom was downstairs at the back of the house and on this particular night I was going back to the stairs to go to bed, clad in my neck to ankle wincyette nightdress and clean skin, when the front door opened and Cheri the other woman came in followed by the most beautiful man I had ever seen. But it wasn't anything to do with me, so I went up to bed. Twenty minutes later, Cheri came to my door asking if I'm still awake, and to tell me that two other male friends of hers have turned up, one of whom she has her eye on. Could I come downstairs and help entertain the other two blokes so she can concentrate on the man she fancies. Could I? another chance to look at that beautiful man, who I feel in love with in that first glance.
I got into my jeans and other clothes in record time and went downstairs.
The beautiful man was sitting on a dining chair and the other man I was to help talk to on the sofa. I sat beside him, but I never noticed him at all. (In fact two months later I went to a party and met this second man again, he was gorgeous, but I was lost by then)
Cheri kept her potential man in a deep discussion and I talked to these other men, although found it difficult to look at anyone other than Howard, the beautiful man.
I conducted myself with the right amount of casual disinterest and at the end of the evening just suggested that if he was passing by again to drop in and we'd go for a drink. I'd established that he was in the Merchant Navy working on oil tankers and was back at college doing his second mates ticket. He'd met Cheri in a restaurant when they were both eating alone. She was so not interested in him, that I felt ok about thinking he was gorgeous.
One week later returning home from work around 9pm I found Howard in the hall of the house, let in by Paul, who'd then gone back to his room. Howard was on the point of leaving, he's just come round to see if Cheri or I wanted to got for a drink. She wasn't in and I said ok.
Getting outside I asked if he wanted to go in my car or his, I had a little mini, he said his and walked over to the most amazing sports car I'd ever seen.... This was getting better by the minute.
We established that night that he came from a very similar background to me, that we liked the same politics, we didn't agree on music, but that was a very small detail.
He stayed the night with me, and never moved out.
Ten days later after I'd had a really bad day at work and was going on and on about stuff, he interrupted my flow of moaning to ask if I'd marry him. I said yes and went back to moaning before doing a double take as to what he'd actually asked me....
Seven months and one week later we were married in a full on wedding in the Church my parents had got married in, I'd been christened in, I was a bridesmaid in and years later my parents would both be buried in.
I hadn't wanted a full Church wedding I didn't have any religious beliefs to talk of, but the saddest day of my mum's life was the day she got married. She had been excommunicated by the Catholic Church and her family in Ireland for marrying an English Protestant. And so I got married there for my mum, who told me during the day that my wedding day was the happiest day she'd ever had. It was the least I could do for my mum, and I was happy to do it, and I did really enjoy my wedding.
Off on our honeymoon, where else but Devon and Cornwall!! to return a week later for Howard to leave me..... well he had to go on a fire trainers course for a week! So I went back home to my mum and dad for the last time.
After the course he was due back at sea, having passed his second mates ticket and having been promoted, and at that time wives of officers were allowed to go to sea with their husbands. So I prepared for a life on the ocean wave, thinking how wonderful it would be so close to my new and shiny husband of two weeks.
Little did I know how very strange an experience I was embarking on.......
to be continued