It was our anniversary on Friday. Can you believe, it’s been five years since he took me down off the Lonely Shelf?
Where would you like to go?” asked Bloke. “We can do anything you want...”
How sweet. How romantic. How incredibly naive. You’d think, after half a decade, he’d have learned not to offer me the earth.
For that was exactly what I wanted. Not dinner in a fancy restaurant. Or a Marks and Sparks Dine In for £10 in front of the telly. “I want to do something wild,” I said. “Let’s head for the garden and be at one with nature...”
He raised one eyebrow, grinned lasciviously and began planning hanky panky behind the hydrangeas and rumpy pumpy in the rhododendrons. Before he rushed off for the Deet I swiftly explained: ”I’d like to camp. In the allotment. We can take a campus stove and cook what we pick. It will be an adventure; We can watch the sky go dark and look at the stars. It will be romantic...
It wasn’t just his eyebrow that drooped. He couldn’t foresee what I could, only damp and discomfort. But he was trapped by his own six words. Husbands, if you have a wife who is a bit “different”, don’t ever tell her: “We can do anything you want.” Not unless you really mean it.
So it was that on Friday evening, under a darkening sky, we loaded up a wheelbarrow with tent, bedding, iPod and battery speakers, bottle of wine, stove, frying pan and a nice bit of Aldi steak and trundled off.
Our allotment is in a verdant, walled communal patch and as pretty as they come, with box hedging, raised beds and espaliered fruit trees. I’d noticed a space in the centre was just big enough for a two-man tent. As it was spitting with rain, we stashed bedding and dog in the greenhouse and while Bloke dealt with tentpoles and muttered “Now is the winter of our discount tent” under his breath, I dug up ‘tatoes and set them to boil. There was just time to dine among the beans and broccoli, exchange cards, spot bats and owls whirling and get a bit drunk before a craze of lightning and a crash of thunder sent us and a quaking dog under canvas. Even more romantic!
The three of us were lulled into a strange half-sleep by the rain’s rhythmic drumming. Around 4am, just as the tent reached saturation point, it stopped.
Sometime after, the birds began their dawn chorus. Each sang their own utterly unique song, but the result was harmonious.
A bit like us two, really.