Saturday, 13 November 2010

25 Years!

Once upon a time ...
Last month BlackLin and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary. The weekend before the actual date we had a family celebration: roughly a million in-laws plus my brother and step-mother (NOT the fairy-tale sort, I should point out). My step-mother came over from Ireland, and gave my brother a lift down from Nottingham, so we really appreciated them coming (as we did the outlaws, of course). Since there were lots of kids, we went to the Travellers' Rest in Lower Caversham, who are family friendly and do meals that everyone can eat, and had a really enjoyable evening.

The anniversary itself we stayed in with a Thai take-away, from the Prince of Wales, and watched a film. Then the weekend after we went for a night in the hotel we stayed at for the first night of our honeymoon (now called The Great House, in Sonning). They did us a super room - actually a mini-suite of rooms - which was really good; it would have been pleasant to stay for longer.

Older, if not wiser.
All in all, a wonderful , if exhausting, week. Actually, it was a bit too exhausting really, because the Sunday before the anniversary I was wrecked from the family celebration so I didn't go to church, and they'd very kindly got us some flowers and a present - a bit sad that only BlackLin was there to receive them.

Afterwards, I got Photoshop out and did composites for those who came: a mix of photos from the wedding itself with photos from the celebration, personalised for the recipient, in a simple frame. I was rather pleased with the way they all came out, so I hope they enjoyed them.

Looking at the old photos is a bit sombre though, in some ways. My Mum, Dad and grandmother were all at the wedding, and obviously very prominent in the photos, but have since died. Actually, I'm now older than my Mum was when she went, which feels a bit weird. But there's also a photo of several of the friends who came to the reception, so many of whom we have lost touch with over the years. It's also thought-provoking how many marriages haven't lasted; something of a salutary reminder that we are celebrating good fortune as much as anything else.

Another, less happy, celebration this month is that it is now fifteen years since I got the 'flu bug that mutated into CFS (aka ME over here, or CFIDS in the US). I was last team leader standing on a large development project that had been decimated when a particularly virulent outbreak of 'flu swept through the office. I thought I had successfully fought the bug off for long enough for the earliest victims to start returning before succumbing myself. What I didn't then realise is that the early symptoms of 'flu are actually a side-effect of the body's defenses, so actually all I'd done was suppress my first line of resistance. In many ways that had been a really draining and exhausting year, so my defenses weren't that brilliant to start with. I spent several weeks expecting to go back to work in a couple of days, as 'flu turned into 'post-flu malaise'. Then I spent several months expecting to go back 'in a week or so', as it turned into post-viral fatigue (with hindsight I can see just how scrambled my brains were at the time, because I really wasn't well enough, nor recovering fast enough, to have any realistic prospect of staying out of bed all day, never mind working).

These days the CFS is stable, as long as I don't push it too hard. Of course I do, including over the anniversary period last month - it generally means I take a hit for several weeks or months, but sometimes that is worth it.

I'm wandering off topic a bit, so it's time to go. I do wish you and yours a blessed time over the run-up to Christmas (not to mention Thanksgiving in some foreign climes). If there's one thing musing over an anniversary reminds me of, it's that people matter more than things. Not a particularly original thought, but it does give me the opportunity to describe it as sententious (I've been reading a lot of Brother Cadfael books recently).


  1. Happy Anniversary, BlackPhi! You and the Mrs. still look good together. You even look more distinguished since your younger days. :)

    I'm not that familiar with your illness. Is it a cronic problem? I've had the flu, but thank God it hasn't been recurring. Keep feeling better, my Friend! It's good there are people like you on the planet! :) All the best to you both celebrating an additional 25 yrs together.

  2. Thanks, Capt - that's what I always say about grey: it looks distinguished :)

    CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - is a long term illness characterised by: "post-exertional malaise; unrefreshing sleep; widespread muscle and joint pain; cognitive difficulties; chronic, often severe, mental and physical exhaustion; and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person," as Wikipedia puts it. Mine is relatively mild as long as I manage it positively; there are people who end up bed-bound.

  3. Thanks, Easy. In many ways it seems like different people in a different world.