Twenty-five years and counting – A grand day out

Twenty five years ago I met my lovely hub.  Our meeting wasn’t spectacular; I was visiting my oldest friend from college for the evening and another old friend turned up with my husband.  We talked and vaguely watched ‘Back to the Future’.  I thought he was bright, funny and rather gorgeous but too young for me.  I sent a Valentine’s card to someone else.  apparently he thought I was bright, funny and rather gorgeous but a mature woman like me wouldn’t be interested in him (I’m only five years older and he was SO wrong).

That might have been the end of it had it not been for the machinations of our two friends who were both privy to our opinions of each other.  It took another two months of plotting but we ended up back on the sofa in my friend’s house.  Our other friend had been briefed to come round on his motorbike – so that he couldn’t give me a lift home.  My hub-to-be had been instructed not to come round on his motorbike but in his car so that he COULD give me a lift home.  I was told in no uncertain terms by my friend that I had to get teabags and milk in so that I could invite my hub in for tea when he brought me home.

I don’t drink tea; it used to make me sick but now it makes my mouth swell up and even the smell makes me heave.  Still, I came off a waking night duty and walked a mile to the local shop to get tea, coffee and fresh milk in.  It was an evening of significant looks; plotting and a total lack of subtlety from everyone concerned except for me and my hub.

Anyway, the plotting worked, we got engaged two months later and married in May 1988.

Back to the present.  I have two days off  for our anniversary and Valentine’s Day but my hub is on nights and it’s half-term so College boy is home all week.  Uni boy doesn’t get a break for half-term and after not-in-any-way being involved in the fiery destruction of the chemistry labs, he and his fellow chemists are having to do extra work to make up – so our planned trip to see him today was abandoned.

I decided to arrange a day out that might suit the interests of my Dad, my hub, College boy and possibly one of his friends.  I did my homework and settled on the Imperial War Museum in Salford.  Didn’t appeal to me in the slightest; don’t like guns, or war, or any of that kind of thing but my Dad lived through the war, my hub is fascinated by it – mostly from the airplane perspective  – and College boy frequently dresses up in camouflage (SO difficult to find him in the house sometimes) especially when he is firing off rounds of BBs at the garage with one of his imitation guns.  Me, my Kindle and my Walkman were going to find a nice seat somewhere in the museum and leave them to it.

College boy’s bezzie mate couldn’t come.  Strike 1.  The delivery man bringing a parcel for College boywas due to call at lunchtime when we would be out.  Strike 2.  College boy needed food from Burger King.  Strike 3.  He also had a row with another delivery firm who wanted to charge him an extra £15 for his latest BB gun acquisition.  Strike 4.  His mother could not promise that she would not wind him up, patronise him or return him home immediately if he felt annoyed with any of us. Strike 5.

I got him out of bed, he had a bath, got dressed and agreed to go out with us for the day.  My hub arranged for a neighbour to take his delivery.  We couldn’t make any promises about Burger King because we didn’t know if there was one near to the Museum.   He was wound up by the phone call.  I wouldn’t agree to his promises unless he promised not to wind me up or patronise me, or accept that I wasn’t prepared to ruin the day for everyone else if he wanted to come home early.

So he stayed home.  We picked up my Dad, who was philosophical about College boy’s non-attendance, and we went to Salford.

There was a Burger King in the Lowry Outlet Centre – Ooops.  We ate in the Harvester – which was chilly but okay and my Dad preferred the food to Burger King anyway. We walked across the bridge to the Museum and my Dad was over the moon at being able to see the Lowry, Salford Quays and best of all – the Museum.  It is a delight to take him out with us because he is so pleased to be going out somewhere different for the day, to have company and a meal cooked by someone else.

The Museum was vast and weirdly shaped.  The staff were friendly and although it was half term and the car park was full, there was still plenty of room to look at the exhibits.  I whizzed round as I always do; then found a suitable place to sit and read my Kindle.  It was  a bit dark in there but the light from a nearby display helped – must remember to take the light next time.

The seats round the wall began to fill up and my Dad joined me.  The announcer said it was a Big Exhibition and it was.  The huge white walls became screens and we were suddenly in the middle of a audio-visual war zone.  I put the Kindle away; watching the faces of the people opposite in the fluctuating darkness.   The only people  moving were the staff, everyone else was enthralled.

My menfolk went wandering again.  I went back to my Kindle and wished that the College boy had come with us.  Grumpy and typically teenaged as he is, I love him and his brother totally.

Another exhibition about a TA nurse in Afghanistan and I’m choked.

Time to go home – via Millie’s Cookies – where we buy in stocks for all four of us and decant some for my Dad to take home with him.

When we get to his house my Dad palms me a fiver for my naughty College boy  and I promise to give it to him.  I won’t stand in the way of their relationship just because my boy’s having another off-day.

As we turn the car around, my hub reluctantly states that he has to get some shopping in for breakfast (he is particular about his bread) and for tomorrow night’s dinner.  He seems to think that I’ll groan and insist on being taken home first but I quite like the idea of going shopping now – it prolongs the day.  We actually enjoy shopping together and rarely argue.  That’s not bad after twenty-five years.

I text the College boy and tell him we’re going shopping and does he want anything?  He texts back a list of requests but the word ‘please’ is there – so it’s okay.

A slight hiccup when we get home and can’t get in because the key is in the door.  We phone him and hear the thunder of size 11 feet as he hurries down the stairs.  We managed to buy the right things so he is mellow, and he expresses a nonchalant interest in where we’ve been.  I get a big hug and he almost says sorry.

It’s been a grand day out. xx

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