Thirty years – that’s half a lifetime…

Thirty years is half a lifetime, precisely so in my case, but that’s how long we have been married today.

An undeniable accumulation of time has passed since that cold April day. The bride had vodka for breakfast and she rarely drank anything then and drinks even less now. Nerves dealt with, on the way into the register office in Leeds she had to cover her wedding dress with a coat borrowed from her dad. It was sleeting at the time.

Anyway, we had a lovely day, with 70 or so guests, and our faces ached from smiling for the photographer. It was cold and wet outside, so the pictures had to be hurried and many didn’t come out, due to a fault with the film or something.

Quite a few of the guests are no longer around, including our best man, John, who was my best friend from university. He died nearly 20 years ago in his early forties, and even typing those words raises a tear now, but that’s life for you.

The next day the sun shone and it kept shining for our honeymoon in Shropshire, but the details are mostly only of interest to the participants. In 30 years, we have been through thick and thin, then even thinner, then thicker again. We lived in London at the time but moved to York the following year – and that turned out to be a wise move, even if I did spend the first few years looking for jobs in other cities.

Once I had an interview on the Scotsman for a role as arts editor, but that job went to someone Scottish, or so I heard later (a clear case of discrimination if you ask me, but what ancient history it all is). So, we remained in York and I ended up working on the Yorkshire Evening Press, as it was originally, for 27 years – also half a lifetime, until that job was swept away (that’s the thin part). After that came the reinvention test, and nearly two years on that experiment continues, but with more going on now.

Last October, we went to Glasgow for my 60th, and for our anniversary we are in Edinburgh. We love both cities and I’ll leave the locals to their squabble – after I blogged about Glasgow a friend from Edinburgh joked that “the only good thing to come out of Glasgow was the train for Edinburgh”.

Edinburgh is certainly a beautiful place with views to beat almost any city, especially from the castle terrace. I shall avoid going into tourist brochure mode, but will say that yesterday the sun shone and we walked to the Botanics, which were lovely and pleased my gardening-mad wife (the gardens I have seen these past three decades…). On the way there we discovered Stockbridge, which is where we should have lived if I’d got that job. It’s full of foodie shops and lovely streets – like Bishopthorpe Road in York magnified many times.

We’d been to the Botanics once before when our eldest was a baby. He’s 28 and a teacher now, so it’s been a while.

The sun isn’t shining today and the sky is as dark as a Scotsman’s hangover. We’re off to climb Arthur’s Seat after breakfast, wearing clothes packed for the warm weather we left (schoolboy error, that)

As this blog is a public place, I won’t say anything personal about being married for 30 years. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, least of all me. But here we are, still together, parents to three grown-up children, one presently far away in Australia, the other two closer to hand.

But happy anniversary to the gardening-mad one in my life – and, yes, I will try and get out there to help more. So long, of course, as there isn’t anything interesting to read in the newspaper.

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