Fat Old Knee


The only reason my thoughts have turned to Wedding Anniversary is that at this time of year I get a nagging feeling at the back of my head (now the children are grown up I know that it’s not nits) that there’s something I should remember.

This vague uneasiness usually surfaces when the winds begin to blow a little more steadily from the north, the fields have been carefully gathered in for yet another harvest and the air brings that heady smell of freshly turned earth.  This morning passing by The Hall, the grassy meadows were glistening with dew; the tears of summer as she is preparing to leave these shores until next year. The dogs’ breaths were ghosting in the sunrise as we set off for our ritual morning march through the farmland.

It was whilst yelling warnings at Fred such as “DON’T YOU BLOODY WELL DARE EAT THAT ROTTING DEAD PIGEON YOU VILE LITTLE SOD, GET BACK HERE NOW YOU FLEA RIDDEN SCROUNGE-HOUND” that I realised it’s mine and John’s wedding anniversary soon. I’ve no idea why a maggot riddled dead pigeon and the happiest day of my life should come to mind at the same time, but there you have it. Psychologists amongst you are free to send me your theories, but those close to me will not be surprised as you have all, at some point, been the victim of my thought processes.

John and I married in October, for the life of us we can never remember the exact date, we’re not even sure of the year and if it hadn’t been for my wonderful late Mother-in-Law giving us forewarning every year we would have clear forgotten about the anniversary thing. Don’t get me wrong, our wedding was simply perfect; a small gathering of the people we loved most in the world at the time. There had been several discussions about who to invite and it was decided, well I decided that I’d be buggered if we were going to pay to feed snide backstabbing relatives who neither of us would’ve pissed on if they were on fire. Our feelings on weddings remain unchanged; put more thought into your marriage than the wedding day because believe me no-one gives a shit if a chair covering’s ribbon doesn’t match the shoe laces of the best man and if they do, well they’re precisely the sort of people we avoided inviting to our special day. Here endeth the lesson.

After living together for a good number of years we were married in a registry office and celebrated afterwards at a pub in the Northumberland countryside.  John looked handsome and proud in a beautiful suit and white tie and I had on a dress. Finding a suitable dress for a 6’1” woman is a saga in itself. It’s bad enough trying to not look like a dodgy cross-dresser at the best of times with my height and build without snotty faced wedding shops making you feel like a leper. Let’s just settle with this, being asked, “Can I help you Sir?” gets bloody annoying after a few decades!  I know that I’m not naturally elegant or graceful and I do feel more comfortable in Doc Martens, jeans, a paint splattered t-shirt and an old Barber but there are occasions where I want to feel feminine.  I don’t think wanting to look stunning on my wedding day was an unreasonable expectation either. This isn’t some betrayal of my feminist principles at all. I think feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive but that’s a discussion for another time.

Thankfully Droopy and Brown of York came to my rescue and did me proud. I had the most beautiful bright green gown created for me and it was agreed that I did not look like a bad transvestite at all. I managed to wear heels all day and not fall off them once even after a few drinkies.  I would love to list the wedding dress companies who turned me away from their door but I won’t, I’m over it now, honestly I’m fine (twitch, snarl, froth, growl).

So, we were married. We ate and drank (a lot), cried during the emotional speeches and began married life surrounded by love and laughter. The party ran on late and everyone was bussed back to their homes or hotels at the end of the night. Apparently one of the young guests threw up at the back of one of the busses but it’s not a party if there are no tears, vomit or a broken curtain pole.

Back to present day, me and the dogs are living the dream in the autumn sunshine. I am reliving warm and tender moments from memory and generally having a damned good start to the week. We meet some familiar faces across the fields most days. A few of whom will stop and chat for a few minutes, some who are just passing “hello, hello” types.  Today we met a lovely woman who runs a dog sitting service out with her charges. Fred’s little face lit up as all 5 came bouncing towards him and the chaos began; snarling, jumping, wagging, snot flying and chasing through the fresh stubble of the corn field. Holly at times can be more refined; she often just sits and waits for the hurricane of lunacy to finish so she can plod on with the rest of her walk in her own world. This morning Fred and his bunch of delinquent friends decided to play chicken with the humans. A bolt of black shot out of the stubble and came to a juddering halt against my knee. The pain was intense, so intense my head spun and a wave of nausea stirred. The poor woman with her dogs was quite concerned but once we established that I wasn’t going to die we parted ways. Fred, the cause of the pain, was undamaged, unwavering, in fact completely and utterly nonplussed.  The little sod took this break in my concentration to run off and munch on something dead in the field. I looked for sympathy from Holly, but no, she too deserted me and had followed Fred; whatever it was he was eating she accompanied him by rolling in it.

Well, so much for an autumnal stroll with blissful memories in the countryside this morning, fat chance with those two hooligans. I hobbled home with Holly and Fred both cowed on their leads, forced to do the doggy walk of shame until we reached home.

At least the subdued walk home gave me chance to finally remember the date of our wedding.

It was October 2nd 2004.

Happy Anniversary for Friday John.  I love you.  Here’s a little something until we celebrate together on Saturday


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