Magpie Anthology

A Knights Tale

In the spirit of having had a 29th of February – a little tale…

So let me just set the scene for you. There I am, 35 and living with a commitophobe. We have both been married before and I would quite like to be married again but he is resisting despite my proposing four years previously on a leap year 29th of February . I have therefore issued not so much an ultimatum as a veiled threat. There needs to be some form of commitment, I say, because if not, sooner or later, should a knight in shining armour appear on the horizon, my head might just be turned…

Several months later the boyfriend is working abroad, myself and the kids are about to decamp to the Isle of Wight and I am up a chair painting walls (step ladders are not called for all that much in small London flats) in advance of rental when the phone rings. Boyfriend is, he says, on his way to a blues festival in the mountains (I bristle at the injustice of my life in comparison to his immediately) and the previous night had had a dream. “It was awful” he says “a real nightmare. There you were standing in a field of some sort and I could see you but I couldn’t get to you. And then, a bloody knight in shining armour on a white horse rode by and just scooped you up. I was running after you shouting “come back, come back” but you were gone. I think we ought to get married”. Click burrrrrrrrrrrrr….

I thought that I had imagined it. Surely I was mistaken. The commitophobe.  A proposal?  And of course all my efforts to call him back were completely futile as he was God knows where in the Canadian mountains. I got back up the chair and continued with the painting, which seemed like the most sensible thing to do under the circumstances. Obviously it wasn’t quite the proposal that I’d had in mind. That involved roses, diamonds and large quantities of champagne, but beggars couldn’t be choosers could they.

In the event he turned up trumps. There were the roses which turned up a day or so later. There was the ring which he very sweetly chose on his return with my daughter giving him the benefit of her considerable opinion.  All was going to plan. And then finally came the big day.

If I tell you that at 11.30am we were stuck in the worst traffic the Isle of Wight has ever seen for a 12.00 wedding at the registry office I would not be exaggerating. From the car and panicking I phoned County Hall and miracle of all miracles they had a free slot at 1pm and they were prepared to wait for us. We arrived in a complete heap having found a parking space about three miles away and running in our finery through the streets of Newport to the amusement of passers-by. We won’t mention the fiancé not remembering my middle name or stuttering his way through the service but mention must be made of our friend June who at the moment when the question about anyone objecting to the marriage stood up and declared “Yes me. He’s mine”. The registrar looked as though she’d been poleaxed until June explained that she’d always wanted to say that at a wedding and didn’t think we’d mind…

So there you have it. Eighteen years later we’re still married. It’s been difficult, irritating, infuriating and downright unfriendly at times but despite it all we’re still going strong. We have also had the best of times, lots of laughs and there’s no one else in reality who’d put up with me or propose like that.  Best keep him then.

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