As well as our wedding anniversary, we also celebrate the anniversary of when we started going out together, which in many ways feels more important and relevant to us than the wedding anniversary. Never let an opportunity for a celebration go to waste, that’s what I say.
This weekend marked our 40th anniversary together. I can hardly believe it, though at the same time from the first I knew he was the one for me and that this would be a lifetime relationship.
We were students when we met, through our mutual commitment to and involvement in the student Community Action Group. He organised a group of volunteers to help hear children read at the school on the local traveller site. I was one of the volunteers. We had known each other for a year before we ‘clicked’ when we went away together to a weekend conference on traveller education organised by the Gypsy Council. The rest, dear reader, is history.
He encouraged me to cycle long distances (and bought me my first proper bike for my 21st birthday and another for my 50th); to walk longer distances; to enjoy the outdoors; to appreciate architecture; to broaden my love of music through The Doors, Pink Floyd, Canned Heat, Van Morrison to Mahler, Mozart and Bach (though I’m sorry, Wagner will I think always remain a step too far). To believe in myself and what I could do/be. All that and more.
I encouraged him to broaden his diet (hello cauliflower, cabbage, apple crumble, cholent, beigals and cooking), recognise flowers, enjoy the quirky side of life. And maybe some other things. All that and more.
Of course we have had downs as well as ups in those 40 years. But we’ve both worked hard at the relationship, especially through the difficult times (of which there have been a few). Relationships have to be worked at and nurtured, just like anything else worth having. We’ve been through tough times financially, particularly in our younger days and when our children were growing up. We’ve had tough times emotionally, particularly when wider family or work pressures were challenging. All that and more.
Through it all we have laughed a lot together, and I
hope know we always will. We’re still each other’s best friends, comforters, challengers, lovers, supports, companions. All that and more.
Thank you for everything Malcolm. You’re still wonderful.
We celebrated the occasion by taking the train back to Oxford for the day, having lunch out at a restaurant where we marked several very special occasions way back then, and just enjoyed being back in the city where we lived for several years.
We didn’t feel the need to share an exceptionally narrow single bed though, or to climb railings at dead of night (just some of the lost ‘joys’ of single-sex colleges).