Twenty six years ago I reluctantly went along with my flat mate to a party in Putney. 'Come on he said, it'll be full of BA air hostesses; what is there not to love? Oh and as you don't want to go anyway, you can drive.' I drove then from Islington to Putney to a party I didn't want to go to and met the one girl there who wasn't an air hostess. Well, that's not quite true. My attention was captured from across the room in one of those, 'Some Enchanted Evening,' moments by a girl who was holding court with five boys. With some difficulty, (actually, I ambushed her when she was leaving, mumbled something about the ballet and got her phone number), I managed to organise a date. The rest as they say, is history.
So, on this weekend 25 years ago said girl organised a cracking surprise 30th birthday dinner for me at Fredrick's in Islington. It was just a lot of fun and a great start to a memorable weekend. The next morning I disappeared to go and have a chat with her father who was very gracious and in the evening she had again organised a surprise dinner, this time for just the two of us, at Mossiman's. At the point in the epic tasting menu when I said, 'now, I've got something to say,' and she thought I was about to do the break and run thing, I said something different and before I could finish the sentence, she said yes and made me the happiest boy in the land. I still am. I was though, somewhat perturbed when the bill arrived. It was too small. The food was very reasonable but there was no charge for drinks. It transpired that her father had phoned ahead and instructed that the drinks be charged to him. Unfortunately, I'd hit the wine list with some endeavor and somewhat embarrassingly, had unwittingly stiffed him with an improbably large bill for just two. He took it well I thought but oddly, hasn't felt the need to subsequently repeat the exercise.
The next morning we headed on air for a celebratory brunch at Joe Allens with any friends who happened to be at a loose end. Without doubt, the best weekend of my life and the start of something good. Apart from some early marriage threatening moments, mostly when we ran out of ice in the freezer or when those 'this map doesn't match the road,' moments came along, its been 25 years without argument or rancor. I'm a lucky boy and still walking on air. This then, is for Mrs Flashbang, my special girl;