Sunday, 2 June 2013

Ain't random grand?

When I first clapped eyes on him half a lifetime ago, romance was the last thing on my mind.

I was newly arrived in Greece, for a six-month stint as a holiday rep on the island of Samos (or so I thought). Little did I know that the bloke with the lop-sided grin of Bruce Willis (who still had hair back then) and a slight glint of danger in his eye like Micky Rourke (this was '89 - don't judge me) who gave me first taste of Greek iced coffee would be The One.

I was more concerned about how my dodgy home perm would behave in the Mediterranean heat, the aesthetic impact of my ill-fitting polyester rep's uniform skirt on my substantial backside, and where the hell I was going to hang the noticeboard for the tourists I was supposed to be nannying through their two weeks in the sun. 

Men were well and truly off the menu so far as I was concerned. Having walked away from an imploded marriage and had my heart battered and bruised by a series of charming bastards since (quite an achievement at the tender age of 24) I was well and truly in "All Men Are Beasts" mode.

And yet, he wormed his way into my heart. And by the time I realised he'd skillfully hidden the fact that he was a good three inches shorter than me, it was too late.

Now, I am about as spiritual as a breezeblock sitting in the corner of a deserted supermarket. I don't believe in love at first sight, or fate, or soulmates. I don't subscribe to the theory of any great universal plan to drag me across Europe and throw us together. But, 24 years later, we're still together and have a beautiful, funny, talented son with a lop-sided grin and a glint in his eye to show for it.

My Ovver Arf is not perfect, but he's mine - and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

There are plenty of other things that he IS: smart, funny, frustrating, demanding, laid-back, quixotic, loyal, confusing, inventive, complicated, creative, generous, cynical, excitable, cool, infuriating, original, kind-hearted, quick-tempered, borderline manic depressive, idealistics, capricious, fun, warm, a right royal pain in the arse, sexy, cuddly, charismatic, abrupt, conventional, odd, neurotic, tolerant of my small eccentricities, clever, charming, hard-working, lazy, talented, a challenge.

But then, I'm no Stepford Wife. My main marital talent seems to be an uncanny ability to make him roll his eyes and sigh heavily when I get up on my soapbox about something (and believe me, it doesn't take much).

Out of the soup of random events that threw us together, love emerged. At first, all sparkly and fresh and exciting. Then, a little tired and less shiny as adult responsibilities arrived - including a baby that decided that sleep would be a really bad idea before starting school. And in latter years, perhaps a little battered, world-weary and sustained by hefty doses of dark humour, manic laughter and lots of music. 

Our union is the result of a random series of events. It wasn't made in heaven, nor showered with kisses by dumpy cupids with wings too feeble to keep their double chins and dimples afloat. It wasn't karma that brought our two worlds together (actually it was Monarch Airlines and a very old ferry boat that took 18 hours to cross the Aegean).

But it works.

It's his birthday tomorrow, and though I can't give him the world he deserves, I can certainly give him all of me and thank the randomness that brought us together. 

Happy Birthday, sunshine. 


  1. This is such a lovely post. Logically I don't believe in love at first sight stars and flowers stuff, but it is extraordinary, isn't it, how two people find each other and a life together. Happy birthday to your other half...

  2. Fabulous blog Mandi - I still remember all of us girls at the office (at our then-notorious "happy-hour" gatherings) singing "Get Her To The Church On Time" before your Big Day!!! I reckon Niko did pretty well for himself when he bagged your heart, but then, I ask you, what girl can resist a lop-sided grin - even from 3 inches down?! Happy Birthday to Niko and congrats to the both of you for riding it out through the thick and thin of life together - may you both celebrate many more happy birthdays together!! Na ton hairese (kai na sou hairete!) kai polla filia x

  3. p.s. Btw, being a romantic at heart, I totally believe in love at first sight, fate and soulmates, although not necessarily believing that these mean everything is hearts and flowers - in fact sometimes quite the opposite! And I also firmly believe in the Universe and its sometimes cunning plans to drag people to the other ends of the world to throw them together - something which obviously happened to you to your Ovver Arf if you ask me! :) x

  4. What a wonderful, fabulous, splendiferous blog and tribute to your soulmate. I absolutely believe in love at first sight, karma and miracles. Happy Birthday to him and congratulations and love to both of you.

  5. There is love in every sentence here.......and like you I don't believe in soulmates or love at first sight but I do believe in thanking the universe for love in our lives. Happy Birthday to Nico.

  6. How lovely! In celebration, you should watch "Shirley Valentine" (a movie which the beginning of this post reminded me of). 8-)

  7. Thanks, Buddy. I have also enjoyed your blog and will continue to check in to read your posts.