As a youngster, it seemed to take forever for the School holidays to come around and once they did, they’d be gone in a flash. Although life as an adult is in part like that observation, it’s clear you have far less free or holiday (read vacation) time away from work than you did from school. As Sarah and I both have very busy lives, it’s often the case that we might not be able to take time away from work together in large amounts – often we might be able to take just a couple of days here and there. This being the case, I feel it’s always a good idea to make plans for the forthcoming months, to always have something to look forward to, even if it’s just a night away or a meal out. Something little if need be.
It just so happened that 5th January 2019 was the 10 year anniversary of Sarah and I becoming a couple. Before I continue, I perhaps ought to give some background. Although we met at University in 1999, I would scrape through our end of year exams in that first year whilst Sarah failed just one exam, twice. That being the case, she had what I refer to as her “Ace Rimmer Year” (see the classic BBC sit-com Red Dwarf), where she was held back a year whilst she re-sat that element of the LL.B Law course and passed the exam, this time with flying colours, meaning that at the end of her Degree after 4 years, her classification was better than mine. I was obviously a bad influence. As I advanced, she was no longer in any of my classes and we lost contact with each other. She lived at home in Bradford and would commute to Uni whilst also working, meaning that there was never an opportunity for us to meet up. Although during our first year together we did share a few moments of attraction, she had a long-term boyfriend at the time.
Fast forward to the closing weeks of 2008 after the end of another short-lived relationship for me (told you I’m useless with women and Internet dating is the worst) I happened to find Sarah on social media, which I’d joined only recently before. She was now single and not having seen each other since 2000 I sent her a friend request, which she accepted. After a brief telephone conversation, we agreed to meet up before I went home & back to work in early January, as I was at my folks’ house in Leeds for Christmas. We met in the city on 2nd January 2009 and spent the day catching up, going for lunch and dinner in between shopping (this was before I did the majority of my shopping online, and as Scarborough isn’t exactly burgeoning with shops I’d frequent you have to take the opportunity). It was clear there was a mutual attraction between us still (I’d also lost a fair amount of weight since she saw me last) and we agreed to spend the next day together too, which went equally well, again going for dinner and to the cinema (Quantum of Solace, if you were wondering, dear reader). She’d tell me that weekend that she’d often wondered what had happened to me but, she just couldn’t remember my family name and so couldn’t look for me (as a result, one of our 2 songs is “Whatsername” by Green Day, one of her favourite bands. The other is “Baby I Love You” by The Ramones, one of mine).
Having already spent a year at University getting to know each other, things escalated quickly after those two days and by 5th January 2009, we’d already agreed we wanted to be an exclusive couple.
So, getting back to this past weekend, it was 10 years later. We’d agreed with my parents that they’d take care of Joseph for the day & night whilst we checked into a hotel in Leeds so that we could ‘re-enact’ that day. Sort of. After the high of Christmas and the inevitable return to work in the New Year, this was also one of those ‘little things’ we’d planned in advance to look forward to and to soften the blow. We booked a room at the Radisson Blu Hotel at The Light entertainment complex, which is across the street from where we had met up in 2009 and which placed us in the heart of the shopping district of the city and 10 minutes walk from anywhere we might want to be. We booked through LateRooms, paid less than £50 and not expecting much, were astounded when we got to our room. I can honestly say it’s one of the nicest, if not THE nicest room I’ve ever stayed in. With Sarah having Coeliac disease, we checked the menus of a number of nearby restaurants in which to eat dinner (in 2009 we only went to a nearby Wetherspoon pub but didn’t want to eat there this time, in the evening when the bar would be busy) and settled on Browns, with the added benefit that it’s in the very same building as the Hotel so just a few steps, door to door.
As we were going to have a nice evening meal, and given that by this point it was around 2pm, we had just a small lunch with me opting for the thing I HAVE to have each time we visit Leeds city centre – a Taco Bell! I may have a problem, but as there’s so few of them in the UK currently I have to get when one when I can. Sarah had a gluten-free sandwich from Marks & Spencer so that I could indulge. The meal at Browns was lovely, even if the pie I ordered turned out to be beef & vegetable filling in an oven proof dish with a thin filo pastry lid. To me, it’s just not a pie unless it’s wholly encased in short-crust pastry! I had chicken liver parfait for starter, with Sarah opting for scallops (one of her favourites). Her main was a braised shoulder of beef. Another “experiment” I like to do when trying somewhere new is having a burger and fries as my main. The reason being (in addition to really liking burgers!) that it’s perhaps one of the simplest meals you can order at a restaurant and if they can’t get that right, it sounds alarm bells for me. In this case however, Sarah put her foot down and insisted I order something else.
Whilst Sarah treated herself to a few items in the sales, I didn’t buy anything as really, there’s nothing I need at the moment. My Birthday is coming up in a few weeks (something else to look forward to!) however and Sarah let me choose two Blu-ray films in the city centre music, film and games retailer where I once worked years ago as my Birthday gift. I did also wear my Vans sneakers all weekend, having not had the opportunity of going out for a hike over the Christmas break. On the whole, I’m very pleased with them but as I observed previously, whilst excellent for Urban Hiking, I don’t think they’d be very suitable for cross-country walks (which admittedly I get to do very infrequently).
So, as I mentioned, the next ‘little thing’ to look forward to is my Birthday, when I’ll likely post again, but all in all, we had a lovely weekend reminiscing about that first weekend together, now 10 years ago. Happy Anniversary, Short-stuff.