You might think it's bizarre that I have spent many happy hours in the last couple of weeks reading other bloggers' posts on Valentines. I even have a favourite card and t-shirt, it's from one of my sponsors k.t.blue .
I get a huge kick out of blog posts on glitter-heart making, red sweetheart dresses, the clinky glass-and-silver dinner plans, ruby bracelets. I suppose then I am a vicarious romantic: happiest watching other people being glitter-hearty. Just as Kevin and I were never married - well not in a big-wedding-way, just in a swift-registry-office-just-because-we-had-to-way. But I love going to weddings, marvelling over the smooth sugared almonds and cooing over the bridal frock. I even follow a couple of bridal blogs.
So...maybe I should try to be more romantic. Here goes... Once Upon A Time there was an American boy and a Kiwi girl living in London who tried unsuccessfully to chat up other people at a party in Chelsea and ended up by default sitting next to each other at dinner.
The tone was further set, as you may know, when Kevin and I had our first date at Highgate Cemetery in London, which interms a melee of the famous including Karl Marx and Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhickers' Guide To The Galaxy. Followed by fillet of fish at McDonalds. I then introduced Kevin to my Kiwi friends in a round of roller blading around Hyde Park. Kevin equipped himself well, being the only one of our group who could roll at all and I was beginning to think I had found the right bloke. After we decided to pack it in early and head for the pub, he was up for that too. Sporty and social skills, ergo, a good all-rounder. Hmmm...
Upon seeing his "flat' I knew he was a corker. An airy, comparatively vast two-bedroom in an old brick Convent amid the hippery and leafery that is Notting Hill. He didn't earn much, just a lowly research assistant at a bank, but somehow he had landed this space. Bloody brilliant! The flat had an entry way with carpets, a chandelier and a doorman. Being a staunch Kiwi woman with initiative I taxied back to where I was staying with a friend, collected my garbage bags of clothes and stuffed them behind Kevin's couch saying I was staying "just a wee while". Slowly, slowly those clothes came out of the garbage bags ...and now 15 years I have my own (Ikea) wardrobe. Good things come to those who wait!
At the same time, I was writing an article for the London Evening Standard about how many restauranteurs were choosing not to open on Valentines. Apparently the evening produced excessive amounts of anguish, rudeness, and tears from the diners. When a marriage proposal was expected and not delivered, mayhem ensued.
Kevin and I whiled away the next three years doing random stuff like viewing dancing fleas at the Oktoberfest and abseiling down caves in New Zealand...
Then Harley, now 13, was born. Yes, he was a planned baby (don't worry, everyone else asked) but we still didn't feel the need to marry. Kevin is self-effacing and dislikes being the centre of attention and I guess I had never dreamed of a white wedding, or any wedding for that matter...Three kids and three Notting Hills flats later we were forced to marry by the US government. We were in the process of moving here to the Bay Area, California and despite producing three children with an American I was not allowed into the country without a marriage certificate. So we booked the following Thursday at Westminster Register Office in Marylebone, where Paul McCartney famously married Linda. I headed off to the shops to buy a white suit.
In retrospect the Armani suit was probably a little too tight around the thighs - too many nights of shovelling kids' leftovers of Marks and Spencer full-cream Mac'n'Cheese into my mouth, followed by a generous helpings of duck pancakes - and the double breasting didn't really suit me, but back then I was really chuffed with it.
The next Thursday dawned with both Tallulah and Kevin suffering from intestinal indiscretions. Tallulah's nappy was exploding every ten minutes rendering it impossible to wear my white suit. I've always loved "baby poop yellow" as a colour but not the actuality on my white suit. Kevin felt so queasy we cancelled the very few friends we had invited for the day. Which meant that when we arrived at the Register Office we had no witnesses. I ran outside to rope in a passer-by or a garbage man. The security guards nodded that they would do it - and I mean nodded, one spoke only Greek. So we were a funny little group with our three kids, two strangers, me dashing out every ten minutes to change Tallulah and Kevin repairing oftenly to the Mens'.
|Security Guards and us|
I did insist in keeping our lunch date at Dakota just around the corner from our house, so we dropped off exploding Tallulah and her brothers with the babysitter and walked over. While Kevin, positively green (the camera does lie) nibbled on plain bread and sipped water, I gulipped down 12 oysters and champagne followed by more oysters, roast chicken and a choccy pudding thing. (Pics taken by the waiter and people in the street)
We ambled home to relieve the babysitter and I put on my bathrobe to watch my favourite TV programmes, Corry Street and Eastenders.
Not the best day of my life...but jolly near it!
The - see "End" below.
What are you up to on Valemtimes? (And don't forget to enter my giveaway of $100 navy Hobo clutch-purse. Simply leave a comment and the winner - drawn randomly - will be announced tomorrow Friday).