|31st October 1996 - Richard & Adele's wedding.|
Eighteen years ago today, Richard and I got married at Brougham Terrace in Liverpool.
These-days the Register Office is located within St George's Hall which is far more grand, or people can opt to make use of a whole host of fun places as their marriage venue. Brougham Terrace was previously the site of Britain's first mosque, opened in 1887 by William Henry Quilliam, a solicitor who converted as a seventeen year old after having been sent to Morocco for his health. Rich people used to do stuff like that back then. Now they just go to rehab then do the TV chat show circuit.
Ten minutes before our wedding was due to take place, everyone was still sitting in Richard's mother's house. "The cars are a bit late," someone said, echoing what everyone else was thinking. This was when we discovered that the bridegroom had forgotten to book any cars. So Richard and his two brothers ran to the nearest main road and began flagging down taxis, this being in the days before there was a centralised taxi-booking phone line. The drivers got on their radios, and pretty soon everyone was speeding (literally) to the venue.
We had chosen an informal wedding, with an option of fancy dress. My two little nieces, who desperately wanted to be bridesmaids, arrived dressed to fit in with the Wild West theme. Many of the other guests had joined in, too, and even the Registrar wore cowboy boots. For our 'walking in' music we had the romantic wedding scene piece from the Braveheart soundtrack. Richard was so nervous he signed his name as 'Richahard', which has been one of my pet names for him ever since.
On leaving the building afterwards, everyone huddled in the porch while torrential rain pelted down - and of course there were no cars....
That was eighteen years ago, as incredible as that seems. Time flies, hmm?
Our marriage today is stronger than it ever has been. We've had our ups and downs, good and bad - and gosh awful - times just like every other married couple. We've got on each others nerves and laughed ourselves silly, we've had rows and we've had fun too, and certainly we've faced some daunting challenges over the years. We are facing big changes now, too, but we're both feeling optimistic and are looking forward to a new cycle of life - such as selling this house and buying another.
Also, on Monday 3rd November, Richard starts a new job. Richie Tattoo Artist will be no more. We've battled through this seemingly endless and on-going recession, and watched while long-established businesses around his studio have died as Liverpool's shopping and tourism focus has swung over to Liverpool One. We've coped with Richard's health problems, too, which mean he's currently reliant on 24 tablets and 2 injections every day, plus an oxygen mask every night - and he's still worked full-time in his tattoo studio for six days every week. He finds himself, after tattooing since he was eleven years old and after running his own studio since 1993, bored with his craft.
Tattooing was not his first career choice. He wanted to be a photographer, and graduated from college with a City & Guilds qualification in this subject and a graduate ranking as 3rd in the country. It was due to photography that we first met. Now he will have more time to pursue this interest, which has got pushed to the background due to lack of time. Now he'll only work five days a week and he'll have paid annual leave - five weeks' worth - for the first time in his life. And once he's had time to adjust, I'm sure he'll start creating art again, albeit of a different and more personal kind.
In plain English, he'll have his life back.
And that's no bad thing, hmm?