I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Blessed be the glue that binds

Even our worst enemies would agree VR and I "get on". I should add, parenthetically, our worst enemies are much fewer these days. Not because we're more likeable, rather we don't go out much and risk further antagonism.

Agreement is obviously a key factor. Neither of us has ever voted Tory, drunk a Baileys, watched Mrs Brown's Boys, wanted to visit Florida or considered owning a Ford. What's more our preferences often converge. Independently we have opted for more decorative duvet covers (see pic). All vital matters.

We appear to compartmentalise our main disagreements. VR doesn't urge me to eat cucumber (which she loves) and she sleeps through the Six Nations Rugby Championship on telly.

But there are oddities. The above pic shows our most used dessert plates; VR went out and bought the plain white one, says she likes it. Given the choice I avoid it, preferring the other two. I'll go further; the nonentity of that white plate disturbs me. We've ceased to discuss this.

VR likes an orange to finish off her lunch; she peels it and sets it out neatly as a ring of scallops. The segments of my peeled satsuma are merely scattered. I abhor time wasted in food preparation but keep quiet on the subject.

I suspect VR views my dislike of Huw Edwards as an affectation; certainly she makes small animal-like noises to suppress my outbursts during News At Ten. She, on the other hand, is incapacitated if a former leader of the Conservatives appears on telly; I view him with mild distaste.

Sticking together for 56 years is not necessarily commendable, it could be the side-effect of inertia. I don't think that's the case, honestly.


  1. After the first meal in our new home after being married (1970) my late wife Ann (lost to motor neurone disease, 1997) fled the house in an unexplained paddy. I followed in my car and caught her up in the local pub. I of course asked what was the problem. She said "you just pushed back your chair without replacing it and went and set down expecting me to clear the table and all the rest..."

    I who had lived with Mother until age 30 knew no different. Once I understood, harmony was restored, and the usual give and take of marriage continued for the following 27 years.

    I don't think there was inertia - Ann could be very dogmatic and strongly opinionated, but I would do anything to avoid confrontation which of course would annoy her even more, but as you say there must be some underlying glue that keeps these long marriages stuck together.

    I think you have an anniversary soon, so best wishes, and long may the liaison continue.

  2. Sir Hugh: A very telling memory. In fact, if it were anyone other than you, I'd suspect the detail had been polished to make it as persuasive as it is. But no it rings true.

    I hadn't thought of pushing the chair back under the table as an etiquette factor. Or, in this event, something far more significant. But a moment's thought, imagining a table with the chairs splayed outwards, and the point is made. The chairs saying, in effect, "don't care".

    It is only by being able to look back over decades that one is able to recognise a marriage as an endlessly varying procedure. Large variations in behaviour and stances can endure over months; smaller variations come and go in seconds. Marriage is far more fluid than most of us expect at the outset and many - especially the male halves - are frequently slow to appreciate it.

    In the end Scotland was discarded for logistical reasons. It'll be Pembrokeshire instead.

    Not sure about liaison. Sounds somewhat temporary.

  3. I am curious about which ex-Tory leader: the Creature of the Night, the Manchester Mekon, the one whose initials are so nearly and so appropriately an intestinal disorder?

    Have a wonderful anniversary, I'm sure you will.

    (I look forward to going back over your recordings, only I have no headphones at the moment. I knew of course that VR and I were kind of soul sisters over the James Mason thing.)

  4. Lucy; Theoretically I'm up early to write Rictangular Glasses but I can't resist these conundrums. In fact the Mekon was born on the other side of the Pennines, though you'd hardly know from his much mangled accent; attended the grammar school at Wath-on-Dearn, one of those discouraging Northern locations where the gentle southerner is discouraged straight off by the name alone. As to your third option, might A-IDS be considered an intestinal disorder?

    Your first option was the right one. Made even more horrible for VR given that his constituency was VR's home town.

    When you eventually listen to Abschied (re-recorded many times since the original post but still too slow) may I recommend you turn down the wick. The only other recording, Lady Percy's lament, is of course non-musical and can be played at any volume you can stand.

  5. At only 35 yes we are mere marriage amateurs compared to you, but no, I don't think it's inertia ;-)

  6. It's a feat! Keep going. We're up to 29 and probably will never make it so far as you--most impressive!

    You know, hated plates sometimes have a way of breaking. I'm not suggesting anything in particular, just pointing it out.

  7. Beth: Oh, I think at 35 you've reached professional status. I was joking about inertia; even in the most undemonstrative marriages there's a long-term chemical reaction bubbling and popping. And there are continuing sequences of discoveries which can be encouraged by moving over to the patio on warm days (grab all you can as you get older), opening a ten-quid bottle of champagne (widely available in UK supermarkets; cheap but far far better than the best prosecco) and letting things take their course.

    Marly: As with Beth, same with you. But here's a thought, added to all your admirable qualities is a tendency towards anarchy ("The wish was father to the thought, Harry.") A Virginia Trotsky; there can't be too many of those around.