Unlucky for Some

We’ve just celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary – steel according to some traditions – so I bought Liam a metal whistle to use when he’s trying to bring me to heel – good luck with that one! We revelled in some style with a spot of lunch at Bishop’s – one of Norwich’s  best eateries – all posh nosh and fine wine. Afterwards, we staggered up St Andrew’s Hill for digestifs at The Cosy Club – one of the city’s swankiest drinking dens – fashioned from the Victorian grandeur of the old NatWest bank on London Street. There is nothing particularly cosy about the lavish interior. More style over substance we thought.

As well as our legs-eleven anniversary, it was also thirteen years since we first met after work in a gay bar just off Trafalgar Square in old London Town. Our eyes met across the crowd of boozing suits and bewildered tourists. Liam reeled me in with a double gin. And that, as they say, was that. The number thirteen may be unlucky for some, but definitely not for me.

Some EnchanTIN Evening

Some EnchanTIN Evening

As some people on Faceache already know, last week was a double anniversary for me and him indoors – 12 years since we first met and 10 years hitched. Thank you for all the warm and generous words.

We met in Halfway to Heaven and I’m still waiting to go all the way.

It’s an old joke and I tell it every year to groans from Liam.

Liam slipped his ring on my finger two years later. It’s been stuck there ever since.

We ‘formed’ a civil partnership, which always sounded like a firm of solicitors to me. We called it ‘a bit of a do’ and invited our nearest and dearest to the party. Six years later, same sex marriage was legalised and we upgraded to equality class as soon as we were able. Due to a bit of legal hocus pocus, our civil partnership was struck from the record like it never existed and replaced by our marriage.

Expelliarmus!

On the day of our anniversary – our tin anniversary according to tradition – we decided on some posh lunchtime nosh followed by a mini pub-crawl. A meal at Bishop’s had been on our bucket list for a while and we weren’t disappointed. It was divine. The fancy gin aperitif was a great starter. Then we hit the bars.

We didn’t actually sup in all of these establishments, just selected the best from the menu as we meandered round town. Nevertheless, we were a tad tipsy by the time we fell into bed. Pity poor Liam who had work the next day.

Next month, Liam’s planned an anniversary tour of the Smoke to relive that fateful moment when our eyes first met across a crowded bar of after-work desperados.

Maybe this time we will go all the way.

Dirty Weekend

Dirty Weekend

What better way to celebrate our ‘salt’ wedding anniversary than a trip to the seaside for a dirty weekend? We were chauffeured to Gorleston-on-sea in decadent style by a pair of old Norwich rascals (you know who you are), necking fizz all the way in the back of their Mercedes Benz. Our luxurious room with a sea view came courtesy of my sister and the celebratory bottle of red on the Cliff Hotel terrace came courtesy of Liam.

Mother Nature, a contrary old bag round these parts, was in a bright mood for a change so we were all set for fun on the sand and frolics in the boudoir. The rest I leave to your vivid imagination.

Alas, we were four months too late to catch a performance of ‘Sindaz’ the adult panto, giving a whole new meaning to the line, ‘he’s behind you’.

SindazSo we squandered a few quid in the penny arcade instead. And what did we get for our coppers? A cuddly toy, obviously. We called him Gallstone.

Gallstone

Seven Year Itch

Seven Year Itch

It’s the fifth anniversary of our civil partnership today and seven years since Liam and I first met. I’ve been stalked by happiness (and a bit of sadness from time to time) since the day I dropped out of my mother’s womb screaming “I am what I am.”  The last seven years have been, without question, the happiest. I awoke this morning to find that Liam had posted  a little something on Facebook.  Believe me, I know how lucky I am.

Okay, you. One sentence should do it.

Seven years ago we met in that bar in Trafalgar Square, shared that Sloppy Giuseppe and over-priced Pinot Grigio, argued about the bill, eventually went Dutch, courted for months like a pair of 1950’s Catholics (for heaven’s sake), collapsed out of exhaustion into the world of jiggy-jiggy (terribly messy but strangely exciting), fell madly in love, got married (nice suits), moved in together (delicious scandal), watched the curtains twitch (mostly nets), gave up everything sensible and moved to Turkey (what was wrong with Spain?), fell in-and-out-and-in-and-out of love with an extraordinary (no, challenging, misogynistic, homophobic, primitive and God was it cold – okay I loved it) place, you writing ‘that’ book, ‘that’ book getting critical acclaim and big sales (cha-ching) but ‘that’ book largely ignored by those close to us (discuss?), coming back to look after our own (good call), becoming poor, well poor-ish (bad call), discovering the great city of Naaaarwich (nuff said), having more jiggy-jiggy (apparently unnatural, but terribly good with central heating and an injection of Radio 4 LW), re-discovering UK culture like a long lost friend but afraid to tell the expats how wonderful it was in case it came across as boastful (fine line), you becoming ‘properly’ recognised as a ‘proper’ writer (hurrah!) not to mention radio star (OMG), me re-learning Bach fugues (they are SO hard to play, even harder than Mozart, you really have no idea how my fingers ache), both of us weeping like candles at the latest Cinema City flick (okay, mostly Dame Maggie and thank God for the discounted tickets and blood-warm Merlot at the bar), getting over-excited about that converted railway carriage in miles-from-nowhere (yes, I could wash my bits in a sink with a view like that), improvising those make-shift nappies during the messy norovirus days (thank you Blue Peter and Morrison’s super-padded 2-for-1 kitchen towels, we owe you), people-watching at the Playhouse and longing to be young (clearly, we need to avoid Death In Venice comparisons here), gasping at Bonnie Langford’s amazingly flexible crack (and boy, can that Dolly write a tooone) but most of all, keeping our focus, always, on making sure our glass is resolutely full. I’d say it’s been an extraordinary seven years, husband.

Happy Anniversary. It still feels surprisingly good.