Most of what you’ll read here is life and fun, with episodes from my past, amusing and serious. But I have an unwelcome stranger lodged in my brain, as you’ll find if you explore my stories. Our destinies are interlocked, but its deadly presence reminds me every minute that each day of life is a miracle. This is my space to reflect on life, and an interactive area where we can share our experiences freely. Without you, this blog has no reason for existence. Carpe Diem!
Yes, 2002. That was a very significant day in our little household.
As an historian, I suppose I should have started at least as early as 1382, when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day -
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was sent on Saint Valentine's Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
Well, I hope that’s what it means, but it also looks like it could be about cheese-making, which isn’t half so romantic.
But 2002 will do. ‘Chesing a make’ was different in 1382, I suspect, even if making out had the same basic formula. Gosh, I hope it’s 2002, but I could be a year out, and if it were 2001 then I’ve missed a ten year anniversary and have sadly blown it in the romance stakes. My beloved lies sleeping – not unreasonably, at 6 am on Monday, 14 February 2011 - so I can’t check that date with her. I’ve been awake for a while – since about 4 am or so. It happens.
Anyway, on that day nine [or so!]* years ago, Tracey and I were having lunch in the private dining room at Booloominbah. ‘Bool’ is the elegant mansion which now houses the Vice Chancellor’s offices and the Booloominbah Collection. The latter is a restaurant that I rather hope helps to finance the university’s academic pursuits, but I can’t be too certain of that. Let’s stick with romance anyway....
All those years ago, I proposed marriage to Tracey Rose James at this luncheon on that day, and she accepted my proposal. It was not entirely a surprise to her, as we had together chosen the ring some time before, and it is a beautiful engagement ring if I may say so. Not that I discovered it; I am not that clever or discerning – but it has a cluster of seven fine diamonds, seven being Tracey’s lucky number. Let’s just say it was discovered, acquired, and on that day was for the first time slipped on the third finger of my beloved’s left hand.
Little did we know that that same engagement ring would become the official wedding ring – the real one with which I her wed. It wasn’t because there was not a traditional wedding ring or the Best Man had forgotten it - there was – and a beautiful ring it is too. But when it came to the part of the wedding ceremony to place the wedding ring on the bride’s finger, it had been there so long that it wouldn’t come off to be slipped back on (not without some serious surgery anyway, either to the finger or the wedding ring, and we decided against either procedure.) So, this engagement ring is very symbolic of our whole life together.
Marriage is not something to be taken lightly, as many know very well and those who don’t probably will at some stage. Eight years and 154 days after our Booloominbah date, on 4 July 2010, we got married. It’s very wise to have anniversaries of the joyful type on dates that are easily remembered, and I thank my American friends for making the marriage date stick in memory.
We weren’t actually going for the record for the world’s longest engagement, but as you see we didn’t rush into the marriage bit of it. We had our reasons and you can guess at them if you like, but I will neither confirm nor deny your speculations on this matter if you have any, which you probably don’t. It’s just good to be sure about such things before taking the plunge.
May there be red roses on your table on Monday, 14 February 2011, either literally or metaphorically. In this day and age I realise not everyone needs to ‘chese a make’ or is passionately interested in doing so right now.
But this year there are real red roses on ours. Thank you, beloved. There's only one reason they are there for us to share.