Fordyce Maxwell: We’d never made a big deal of anniversaries, but Paris was the last straw
ISUGGESTED to Liz that we mark our wedding anniversary by watching the Dream Team at home to Clyde. Our brief discussion of that suggestion recalled a recent exchange with granddaughter Ebba when walking back from nursery.
“There’s the lake,” she said.
“No, that’s a river. “
“It’s a lake.”
“No, a lake stays in one place. A river flows from one place to another. That’s a river.”
She was patient: “Look, there’s two choices. And I say it’s a lake.”
Welcome, Lake Tweed, and I plan to stick around until she goes into politics. Meantime, with my tongue-in-cheek suggestion about supporting the afflicted getting the treatment it deserved, we spent the day at the Alnwick Garden.
It was a happy few hours. Given our track record for anniversaries, it was one of the best. On our first anniversary Liz had flu. On the second I was sowing barley until midnight. On a dozen subsequent ones we were usually lambing, had sows farrowing or I was out late on a tractor.
On one when we weren’t working and managed to arrange a meal at a recommended local hotel. We were the only diners apart from a sales rep who coughed and drank in a corner of the cheerless room. It was laugh or cry. I’m pleased to say we laughed, only slightly hysterically.
The final blow was our 25th, a romantic few days in Paris. That was the year of the foot-and-mouth epidemic and in the six weeks before we flew to Paris I’d averaged 90 hours a week reporting on slaughtered animals, distraught farmers, panicking politicians and funeral pyres.
The pain in a shoulder that I attributed to an insect bite as we drove to the airport turned out to be shingles. I spent five days in Paris taking painkillers to keep me upright for half the day then sleeping a feverish 12 hours, when we had imagined dining out and strolling by the Seine in moonlight.
I’d almost forgotten – the Seine was flooded and the boat trip we’d planned was also off the list.
We’d never made a big deal of anniversaries anyway – strange, that – but decided Paris was the last straw. Since then we might decide to go out on the day itself, if we remember or, more usually, have a pleasant meal in.
But Alnwick Garden was a good idea. It’s an early stage of the gardening year, but the recently planted cherry orchard was just coming into bloom, and in the walled garden a mature white cherry – called, touchingly, The Bride – was in stunning full bloom and worth the visit on its own.
I took a photograph of Liz beside it because the same applies to her.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
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Wind direction: North east