When George and I married we were both in our late 60s. We had both been married before – we, wisely, spent about two years coming to the conclusion that we wanted to be together and used that time to discuss the modus operandi or `house rules` of a marriage.
The one thing we both agreed upon was that we should continue to have valuable `space` ie time to do our own thing – follow our own hobbies and pursuits – spend time with our own friends (although to be fair most of our individual friends very quickly became joint friends). For instance, George is a sports fanatic (his term). He used to be a semi-professional footballer and loves watching . I`m not keen on tv so he is free to indulge his passion.
These days the only sport in which he participates is golf although he doesn`t play as often as he should but he still manages to maintain a good standard. He has just finished booking a week playing golf in Spain with his best friend Roy – those boys go away for a week each year and I know how much they enjoy it. Last year I surprised George on his return by getting rid of the old three piece suite and installing a new one. This year I am planning to motor down to Cornwall to spend the week with our friend Maggie – having spent 23 years living in Cornwall before I married George I do not get down there often enough.
At the beginning of December we had a housesitting job come up – 10 days in London. I couldn`t get away because of teaching commitments so George undertook the sit on his own. He decided to travel by train and duly packed his bag – I drove him to the station and went onto the platform with him to make sure that he was able to get his pre-paid rail ticket from the machine (he`s not done that before and has the worst luck possible with any electrical/mechanical device!).
The house he went to was in St John`s Wood very near the Abbey Road of the Beatles` fame and he told me that every time he crossed Abbey Road there were scores of tourists posing on the pedestrian crossing to have their photographs taken.
He had no animals to look after and a housekeeper came in each day and a secretary a few times a week. Not much to do other than to be on guard duty at night over the many art treasures in the house.
It was a very high-tech house and my heart dropped – knowing George isn`t the best with technology – it`s usually left to me. He told me that, from his bed, he had a large console which, when he pressed a button the picture on the wall opposite slid up into the ceiling and a tv came down. He could also control all the blinds in the house from the same console. To my astonishment, nothing went wrong!
The house had no landline so we had to keep in touch using our mobile phones. He hadn`t taken his laptop either. Our respective phone bills for that month reflect the amount of time we spent either texting or talking to each other. Ten days was the longest we had been apart and we were so pleased when we were reunited.