Sorry to have gone so quiet of late, but this last Spring and Summer was exceptional and not only because of lockdown or because the weather was especially warm. As I told you in my last blog, (assuming you bothered to read it), which I posted at the end of May, Veryan and I first met for a date on Friday 13 March and a week later formed what is now known as a Support Bubble. The alternative would have been to only see each other and/or speak via whatever electronic means was the most convenient at the time.
What I left out was that, just as Thursday 2 April turned into Friday, Veryan asked me, since we had known each other for almost three weeks, and had actually been living together for the best part of a fortnight, would I marry her? Not wishing to seem churlish, I retrieved the diamond ring, which I happened to have had tucked away in the back of one of my sock drawers, and slipped it on her finger. If anybody thinks this means that I must be completely mad, I will counter by saying that, of course, I need more than one sock drawer: I do sometimes admit to being an artist and that means that I can get very fussy about colour; in fact I have five sock drawers: two for blues and greens, two for warmer colours and one for warmer socks for hiking; and one of these drawers just happened to have had an eminently suitable 0.9 carat gypsy set signet ring, lurking in the back left hand corner, which I had inherited (but what the Hell!); just waiting there, ready to reward just such a happy ending to the misery of the story I have been regaling you with of late.
And we are getting married at midday on Saturday 14 November.
That is, assuming that we remain locally on Tier 1, don't get put up beyond Tier 2, and that Boris doesn't do another of his famous pirouetting U turns and impose an untimely one of his "Circuit Breaker" lockdowns, at least for the next few weeks. As it is, due to the size of the largest room available at Southover Grange, Lewes, only 10 people are to be allowed at the ceremony. Two of these are the Registrars, another two are, of course, Veryan and I, allowing us only six guests. And the Rule of Six would only allow us four guests at a reception at our home in Ditchling. We are therefore booking the Events Room at the Jack and Jill pub in Clayton for fifteen of us where, ironically, I was allowed ten times that number for Carole's wake 7 1/2 years ago. Anyway, we are hoping that by Saturday 5 June next year that we will be able to hold a much larger party at our home in Ditchling following an upholding of our marriage, at the Quaker Meeting House in Lewes.
And because Veryan is an active Quaker, when we were recently visiting my brother-in-law, Alec, and his wife, Veronica, we were taken further into deepest, dampest Wales to see the Friends Meeting House at Dolobran, in Montgomeryshire. Alec had discovered it on one of his mad dashes across the countryside, a pastime he enjoys between the hundred mile walks he convincingly claims to enjoy also...
...and here we are, having successfully cased the joint both inside and out...
...with our compadres, Alec and Veronica.
Back in August, Veryan, Arty and I had travelled to Sudbury in Suffolk for a short holiday. When we arrived at our hotel, I went immediately over to the window and opened it, as it turned out that we had chosen the hottest ever four consecutive days for our refreshing break. I leaned out and took this photo even before thinking of pouring us a drink.
We managed to get to the coast at Felixstowe, where we had lunch...
...with this view of the UK's busiest container port...
...and, as soon as we got back to the hotel, Arty showed how much of a fan of fans he could be...
...so, the next day, we had a cooling, (as much as anyone could), lazy stroll along the river.
If only we could have managed it with the beauty and grace of this swan...
...but, sadly, a week after we arrived home, Arty passed away.
...However, my dad, George, is still going strong and here he is at the timely named Shambles Restaurant, just up the road from his house in Teddington, where Veryan and I took him to celebrate his 103rd (!) birthday on Sunday 4 October.
When he first met Veryan, the first thing he said to her was, “Are you going to the Queen’s Garden Party?”, just because she was, as usual for her, wearing a hat. When I later explained to him that we were going to get married, he laughed and said, “What’s it going to be then? Third time lucky?” However, his attitude totally changed when I told him that Veryan is a Quaker, and he told me for the first time that I was named after a Quaker, who he had admired and had worked with on the ambulances in Hounslow during the war. Anyway, he now seems to be very much taken with his new future daughter-in-law and I am sure he is wishing us well despite a lifetime of unremitting sarcastic comments.
So, back in Lewes, we took all our accumulated bits of interesting and valuable, and valuable but not so interesting, bits of jewellery to Jonathan Swan, jeweller at The Workshop, for appraisal, valuation and possible scrapping and melting down, to make Veryan a suitable ring to go with aforementioned engagement ring...
...and discovered his magnificent set of over 100 Swiss made files.
So, even though we can’t invite all our family and friends to our wedding on Saturday 14 November, Veryan and I will be thinking of you all and hoping that you will all be wishing us well on the day.
We look forward to being able to celebrate with more of you on Saturday 5 June next year, restrictions and creaky joints notwithstanding. And, as I first replied to Veryan's dating site profile: the problem is not withstanding but with getting there.
In the meantime, love,