Showing posts from April, 2012

Henry and Me

It’s entirely likely that I would have wriggled out of marrying Henry if I’d been given the chance. But Fate — or Destiny — would have it that he and I were both serial travellers for work with enough ready-booked destinations to ensure that we were hardly together again until the date we had booked for our wedding. 
Even so, I suspect I would have managed it had Henry not cunningly arranged to visit my mother while I was in South America for a six weeks. I’d decided, while I was away with both my father and brother, chasing steam engines, that I couldn’t go through with marriage to this virtual stranger. But by the time I got home Henry had got his feet firmly under the table with the entire family, all of whom were shocked, thrilled and amazed that Maggy had managed to find someone nice who was actually willing to marry her (after such a long time – they’d given up hope, really they had...) and had all gone shopping for hats.
So, at the age of 32, I got married for the first time to a…


Another memoir from my Life of Miracles - this time how I met and married Henry Barley.
Henry married me because of a hedgehog. I married him because of Steve Winwood. I had long been cunning in my resistance to marriage, while believing all along that I wanted it. With middle-class angst, too much puppy fat and enough training in not showing off to make me dull as ditchwater, I believed no one worth having would want me. I didn’t realise that my strategy of falling in love only with those who were unavailable was also an effective defence. I can’t say the men I languished over were commitment-phobes; most of them were seriously committed — committed that is to steam engines, amateur dramatics, their own reflection or their wife. And yet, one day, at the age of 32, I found myself in the far reaches of China, being proposed to by an ordinary, unassuming, perfectly pleasant grey-haired man, nine years my senior, whom I’d met just seven days before. He had never even kissed me and I’d not …