It was our wedding anniversary last week.
For those of you who are not married, wedding anniversaries area time to dread. They are a minefield more deadly than any in Africa or Bosnia. One wrong step, and the poor husband can expect months of misery ahead.
Of course the biggest mine that any bloke can step on is to forget the damn thing altogether.
I did remember a couple of weeks ago, and made a mental note to Do The Right Thing. The Right Thing is to buy something ludicrously expensive and to make a big fuss of Herself on the day. Usually what I do is to find something at the bottom of her jewellery box and polish it up. If there is nothing there, I usually nip down to the Pound Shop or Oxfam.
Of course, making mental notes at my age is fatal.
The day dawned and I remembered.
There was that horrible sinking feeling – that sword of Damocles hanging over my head – when would she remember? I tried some damage limitation by rifling through her jewellery, but she had been to the pawn shop again, and the cupboard was bare. Bollox.
It was a long day, as any minute I was expecting the explosion.
But it never happened.
I realised that Herself had forgotten too, so I relaxed and enjoyed the evening in peace.
As the days subsequently passed, I knew I was completely in the clear. She couldn’t accuse me of anything, as she was just as guilty.
I mentioned it the other night.
‘We forgot our anniversary,’ I said breezily. [Note the use of the plural]
‘Did we? When was it?’
‘Oh! I forgot about it. How long are we married?’
I whipped out a pencil and did some calculations. ‘Thirty four years,’ I said.
’Is it that long?’
‘No,’ says I. ‘Much longer.’
She gave me one of her looks.
‘Who needs anniversaries anyway?’ she said. ‘Don’t I know that you love me without any fancy gifts or anything?’
‘Yes. Sure, aren’t you letting me sleep indoors while the snow lasts?’