Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Your cup shall never empty, for I will be your wine

Aren’t those lovely wedding vows? I can’t claim them as my own--all you geeks out there will know they come from the wonderful stop motion animated film The Corpse Bride.  That pretty much defines our relationship if the vows I think of as romantic come from a film with corpse in the title.

Today is our 21st wedding anniversary. It really does seem like it has gone by in the blink of an eye. What do they say? Time flies when you’re having fun. Or if you’re a frog Time’s fun when you’re having flies.  I mean--we have been living our dream in England for almost a decade now. How is that possible? It is 17 years since Spiderman was diagnosed with cancer and I was told he might not live to see our 5th wedding anniversary. I’m so thankful that never happened and we’ve had all these amazing years together.

So how did we celebrate? We always have a joke that he is going to buy me that diamond eternity band as a symbol of his devotion. There’s a radio advert for a local jewellery shop that says, “Whether you’re looking to spend £20 or £20,000, Gatwards has something for you.”  I would be seriously disappointed if he wasted money on a rock--especially with the ethics of blood diamonds today--the idea that I was wearing oppression and human suffering on my finger would make me unbearably sad. It’s a good thing he knows me so well.

We had agreed a few things together--trips to see the Propaganda exhibit and a journey out to the Watts Gallery in Guildford to see the Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale retrospective.  These little mini-vacations would be our gift to ourselves. But Spiderman loves to surprise--and he spoils me so rotten you can smell me all the way across the sea.

 The first surprise to arrive was a fantastic art print of the characters from Oz walking down the yellow brick road. It is by one of my favourite illustrators PJ Lynch who did a cracking Steadfast Tin Soldier and every time I look at When Jessie Came Across the Sea I weep. Spiderman had heard the PJ Lynch had done an illustration for OZ (sadly not a whole book) for some sort of promotion and he’s spent months trying to track one down with no success. So what does he do? Contact PJ Lynch directly and ask him if he has any lying about!! Mr Lynch kindly rummaged around his shed and found us a limited edition artist’s proof (1 of 10) that he signed and sold to us! We paid to have it beautifully framed and we are deciding where it goes in the art gallery of our lives.

Please excuse the pictures. It is hard to take pictures of something with glass in front of it. The print and the details are lush and gorgeous and so detailed and NONE of that shows up in my wonky photographs. But you’ll get the general idea and if you come to visit us, you can see it in person.

click on it to make it bigger

 Here is a bit up close where you can see Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion and if you look to the left you can see a sinister face in the tree --an homage to Arthur Rackham.

you can tell it's based on the book as she is wearing silver (not ruby) shoes

Secondly he surprised me with some liquor. This may surprise you as we probably seem like teetotalers.  We just don’t drink socially or excessively. We both enjoy a nip of brandy mixed with chocolate oat milk and some frozen cherries. We love that hazelnut liqueur in a monk shaped bottle called Frangelico mixed with chocolate oat milk. Hmmmm, I see a trend here and it involves chocolate oat milk. But I digress. Do you recall, oh best beloved, when we went to the groovy science gig at the British Library and drank a bespoke cocktail called Musty Books that tasted like old books smell? Well Spiderman surprised me with a bottle from Alchemist Dreams so I splurged a whole 99p on some fancy glasses from a charity shop so we could drink in style.


The stuff is gorgeous--19%ABV and a mix of elderberry, bergamot, vanilla and pine liqueur. Mixed with a bit of elderflower water it is heavenly. Like drinking your way through Dickens. Plus it comes in a beautiful, heavy glass bottle with a cork sealed with wax ( When you open the cork it makes a squee squee squee sound like a squirrel chattering followed by a POP! Like someone pulling a cork out of a squirrel’s butt. Spiderman made the comment that he wouldn’t know—he’s never put a cork up a squirrel’s butt before) which I plan to upcycle into something crafty so watch this space.

Lastly, as if all this weren’t enough, he phoned me on Monday to say he had found cheap tickets (£7.50 each) to go to a basement pub venue and hear a variety show of singers who are comedians or comedians who are singers--hard to tell which way round it goes--hosted by our favourite topical musical satirist Mitch Benn ad the Distractions! Jonny and the Baptists (another favourite) were going to be there and the special guest was another favourite Justin Edwards. It was fate! Also it was perfect to go to Tuesday night as I had Wednesday off work--we have a system where they won’t pay you for overtime but you can trade your overtime for a day off--and as I really don’t function well without 8-9 hours sleep it was perfect as I could rest in the next day instead of going to school with a crushing headache and risk snapping angrily at a child like some alligator with PMS.

We had a blast last night --the music was ace and the comedy really funny--and it ended with a rousing version of ABBA’s Super Trouper which made me want to jump out of my skin with happiness. It had two intervals and during the last one Mitch Benn did his amazing party trick of asking for items in the recent news and going off during the interval and writing a clever, topical satirical song. He’s the best! When we got home at midnight I was still buzzing with excitement!

 All in all, it has been a whirlwind of art, good food and music and I feel so happy I could do a Snoopy dance. You know the one I mean. We’ve done so many extraordinary things over the last week, but today will be an ordinary day. I’ll tidy the flat, we’ll meet up for some computer time at the library, we’ll pop to the shops to buy kale for the green smoothie then come home and I’ll cook us a nice dinner while we listen to the radio. Maybe we’ll watch a film or maybe we’ll just sit on the sofa and read. But whatever we do it will be just as wonderful as all the other adventures we’ve had because we’re together.

 In the words of country singer Don Williams:

You’re my bread when I’m hungry.

You’re my shelter from troubled winds.

You’re my anchor in life’s ocean,

But most of all

You’re my best friend.

Happy anniversary Spiderman.

 PS I would like to also say happy anniversary to our friends Bart and Angie who got married on our first wedding anniversary--they’ll be celebrating their 20th -- happy anniversary guys!


  1. That is an awesome way to spend your 21st anniversary, Heather! You and Spiderman are just perfect together. I'll be happy when I get 20 under my belt with my bride.

    Happy Anniversary, sweetie!!

  2. I finally got internet back up and got to read this. Love every word. Happiest of Anniversaries to has indeed gone by in a flash. I love you and T with all my heart.

  3. Heather and Thomas, congratulations on 21 wonderful years! You two are such wonderful soul mates. And I loved reading this blog post, and imagining your lives in England. My favorite part, of course, is the beautiful image of drinking your way through Dickens. How fantastic! [The squirrel butt I'll have to let warm up on me. . . seems a bit traumatic for the squirrel. ;-) ] So well done! Love you both.

  4. I really hope Iain and I are as happy and strong as you guys when we get to 21 years! Many congratulations and here's to many more years xxx

  5. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! My dearest friend, I am so happy that you live and love with your BEST FRIEND! Squirrel Butt...
    Love Always! Danny

  6. Happy Anniversary. You two really are one...Frances and I have a similar thing going with the expensive diamonds, and she would be upset if I really did waste my money on such when the money could be used for missions or more to improve our little part of the world. I would buy her the moon but the man that lives there might not be too happy living in our back yard. I'm sure his view of the world is much better from his vantage point anyway. Love you, Uncle Nippy

  7. Happy Anniversary, Heather and Thomas. I love you both and remember fondly going to your wedding. One of these days I may see you in Wales! Love you, Gloria