40 years on

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.

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Inside the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford

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.

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Decorative brickwork, Oxford

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.

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Side of building, Walton Street, Oxford

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).

About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
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13 Responses to 40 years on

  1. Marian says:

    Congratulations to the both of you, Deborah! What a lovely write-up 🙂 . Sending you my best wishes for many, many more years to come!


  2. Sam says:

    I am smiling broadly – what a lovely post. Many congratulations. Here’s to many more happy years ahead. X


  3. Janet says:

    What a lovely time to celebrate! It made me think and although it is a few years off our 40th wedding anniversary it is 40 years this Christmas since we became a couple, I sense a celebration, small but just us before the busy time with the family, thanks!


  4. Lovely post, here’s to many more happy years.


  5. A beautiful post. Loved seeing the photo of you.


  6. wendoxford says:

    Thank you (you will know what I mean!) – love your memories of Oxford and your blog. Congratulations! 🙂


  7. Lucille says:

    What a lovely tribute to a happy and successful long term partnership. We too have clocked up 40 years. I had a smile at the narrow bed reference. St Catz had punitively little beds. I wasn’t a student there but I knew someone who was and at 6ft 3 he was not best pleased with the arrangement.


    • Thank you Lucille! I hope you too managed to mark and celebrate your 40th – it’s quite an achievement I feel. Yes, the beds were extraordinary narrow – 2’6″ I think. At just over 5ft the length was never an issue for me, but two of us in 2’6″ was beyond cozy. Which I guess was the intention.


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