Twenty Seven Years of Uncelebrated Bliss

Twenty seven years ago today the pre Union Homestead union of The Milk Maid and The Bean Counter was made official making today a thing we, as a couple, are not particularly gifted in the art of celebrating: an anniversary.


It’s not like we didn’t want to be like our contemporaries and mark this momentous occasion in the time accepted, late ’80’s, kiwi couple way (soppy cards written by someone unknown to us both who pens those horrendous rhymes for a living, a bunch of flowers delivered to the workplace, and gifts based on some list everyone else seemed to know by heart), we were simply unable to. Something in our couple-psyche made the whole deal impossible;  we just couldn’t keep from giggling at the cards, blanching at the cost of floral tributes plus delivery, and becoming indignant at the whole predetermined gift theme thing.

Fate also had its part to play in derailing things.

Our first anniversary was celebrated, and we use that term loosely, with a 20p bag of candyfloss and a couple of  mugs of instant coffee.  Two weeks into our big OE, we were living in a caravan in the backyard of a family friend in a Whitley Bay, Northumberland waiting for our hard earned savings to arrive and the adventure to begin.  This was still the era of travellers cheques and telegraphic transfers, a supposed 24 hour process. However four days into waiting, we were still getting an emphatic shake of the head from the lovely folk at the bank. As the days marched by and our desperation became more apparent, the bank staff’s demeanor underwent a process of change: brisk impersonal to impatience, exasperation, slight embarrassment until, on the fifth day (anniversary day), The Milk Maid cried. Like a magical key, those tears unlocked Action (with a capital A). London was rung and those lofty folk confirmed that our funds had indeed arrived four days earlier and were currently “in transit”.  In transit? Yes, a cheque payable to the stipulated bank account had been drawn up, signed, placed in an envelope and posted to, first, Newcastle and then on to our wee branch.

“Can you come back here tomorrow? Say 10am?” the poor man relaying this information asked us. We pointed out that tomorrow was Saturday, a fact he assured us he was aware of.  As we walked towards the bank the following day we could see it was firmly closed. Was he having us on? No, there he was, almost unrecognisable in his civvies, getting out of a slightly battered Austin Princess. In short, he handed us an envelope containing a hundred pound in cash, told us to go and enjoy our weekend and he’d sort it out on Monday. We had a lovely weekend in Carlisle courtesy (we think, but it was never properly explained) of the social club of the Monkseaton branch of Lloyds Bank.  This is a story that gets funnier the further away we get from the experience.

We only tried one more year and then gave up for good. The flash, expensive Italian restaurant in downtown Christchurch took our booking for a table for two celebrating an anniversary with enthusiasm.  What they neglected to mention was the remainder of the restaurant was booked out for the  pre-Christmas knees up of a renown, leery media organisation – okay, it was Television New Zealand. Even the guy with a violin playing (for some inexplicable reason) Lady of Spain, a free rose and box of chocolates didn’t redeem an evening spent watching inebriated minor celebrities dropping their trousers.  

Tonight things are continuing according to tradition.  A text from The Bean Counter talks of a day turning to custard and outlining a collection of medium sized disasters sure to delay his departure homeward.

“How bout I pick up fish and chips on the way home?” he concludes.

Sounds damn near perfect.


14 thoughts on “Twenty Seven Years of Uncelebrated Bliss

    • I was at first humiliated by my tears and then astounded that they so effectively got things happening. If only I had broken down a couple of days earlier our whole anniversary outlook may have been different 🙂

  1. Happy Anniversary…what a story of your first anniversary. I do not miss those days of banking at all. But, still, Northumberland! You went all the way to the UK? That’s fabulous.

    We were too broke to do much for our first- we borrowed my parent’s 22 ft sailboat to go for a few days sailing to a quiet cove, except that the outboard motor died about 10 minutes out in a flat calm. So we paddled back to the dock and I settled down to make tea while hubby took the motor to a shop in the nearby town. Two hours later, having had to leave the motor there, he came back to tell me the bad news only to discover that I had managed to set the propane stove on fire while boiling the kettle, on a fibreglass boat, mind you. My Navy training had kicked in quite quickly and I had adroitly applied the fire extinguisher to great effect, putting the fire out and filling the miniscule cabin with chemical foam. When he arrived, I was in the process of trying to use cold water and a sponge to get the foam and soot off the bulkheads. We went camping instead. And it rained. Maybe first anniversaries are just like that.

    Nothing really beats fish and chips, in my opinion. With your fingers.

  2. Happy Anniversary 🙂 (we too had f and c for tea)
    What a blast that photos is. I can remember standing out and watching the new Mr and Mrs. I remember the honeymoon cruise story each time I look at the clouds. You have given us lots of fantastic memories over the years….soccer, raspberry and lemonade after soccer training, your leaving party, FA Cup finals late nights, soccer trips to Picton and the West Coast and much much more. Best of all you have managed to weather everything life has put up to you, remained a loving couple and raised a fantastic family and are still our wonderful friends, just wish we were living a bit closer.

    Wishing you a further 27 years of fantastic living together xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • I’m still partial to a mug of raspberry and lemonade and a peanut slab when the going gets tough. And you two hit the same milestone in a couple of weeks so I send all that love back to you both wrapped up in memories of firewood gleanings, raucous boardgames and way too many slices of ginger crunch. xxx

  3. Oh how lovely the two of you look. Aaand Mr. walker and I were married in 1988! Aaah, the gold old eighties…
    Well you can look back by now to a lot of great stories, and a full life so far ad indeed lots of love

  4. oops, pressed send a little to quickly..all these modern contraptions indeed;0) Well happy anniversary and enjoy the fish and chips!

    ps: Yes, Woman’s Tears…a secret weapon we all fall back on when needed indeed! Well done!

    • Thanks for your kind words. Yep, the 80’s were certainly an interesting decade; The Bean Counter’s mullet hairstyle is a sight to behold 🙂 Oh, and the tears…I was humiliated and also astounded at how they changed the situation!

  5. Happy 27! I agree sounds about perfect…kind of reminds me of valentines day:I think fish and chips just about perfect for that day, too. We were celebrated 34 this year + mine might not of been fish and chips, but pretty darn close-lol

  6. We are still working hard at getting another anniversary organised after a really good ceilidh for our 25th but we find it difficult. Still we should be able to manage something for our 50th.

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