Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Thursday, 17 April 2014

It's only been 38 years .......

38 years ago today, it was a Saturday and it was a sunny warm day in Aldershot and I was sitting somewhere, but for the life of me I cant think where, contemplating the next few hours and what they would mean to me.

It was Christmas two years earlier in Berlin. I was having xmas dinner with a wee bird called Ishbel Scott, her parents Alex and Margaret, her brother David and Robert Mcallister the family's best friend. They lived in a top flat, top flat Ishbel, not ground, not middle, TOP, on Schmidt Knoblesdorf Strasse a two minute walk from the barracks.

We were in West Berlin, Ishbel's dad Alex, Robert and I all served in the same regiment of the British Army posted to Berlin.  I got to know the family as Ishbel's Mum Margaret worked in the NAAFI (PX) shop in barracks and me being the cheeky (read gobby) little git that I was, used to attend regularly to get me fags, cans of tango and chocolate digestive biscuits.  Anyways, one day while I was in there I happened to notice a photo pinned to the wall behind the till register of two kids, a lovely wee bird and a plooky wee guy, only kidding David, you didn't have plooks in the photo, they came later - and being the aforementioned gobby git I said to the wuman ahin the coonter, "Who's the bird in the photo?" "That's no bird" says she, "That's my daughter".

"Fine" says I, "If she's free on Friday, she can take me out!"

Well that's how it started, me an ma big gob!

Of course Ishbel was still a wee schoolgirl at the time so you can imagine the response my attention elicited from her mother and I didn't even know her father, remember a Regiment has about four companies of men and can number up to 500 hundred souls, so you tended to know everyone in the company you served in and at most were on nodding terms with the rest until you had been in for a few years and moved around a bit......

Lord it was hard work, but eventually they relented. But, instead of letting me take Ishbel out and of course Ishbel's mother also knew from my buying habits (other than the tango and biscuits) that I was a bit of a drinker back then and of course a smoker, so eventually I was allowed to visit at home for meals and whatnot.

I don't think that Ishbel was too impressed to begin with but I soon discovered the way to win her affections was to buy her every Osmond Album , see this post (particularly the last four paragraphs), and knock me down with a feather, it worked, and she is still so easily bought ;)

And then of course there was that fateful xmas dinner, 1973 if memory serves, and we pulled a cracker and a little glass ring fell out, I got down on one knee and proposed I WAS DRUNK  what can I say .........

I don't recall too much more of that day and I don't think we set a date but eventually one was set for 1976.  In between Ishbel returned to stay with her Gran in Edinburgh to attend school (but I think it was her parents trying to put some distance between us.... ) and I got on with being a drunk and volunteering for all sorts of things, canoeing down the length of the not so blue Danube , that is one BIG river and having my canoe sink on me, crashing an Army 3 tonne lorry into a tree , oh! and making a drunken phone call to Ishbel in Edinburgh, from a call box in the middle of a bridge when in the middle of the call I fell backwards and disappeared into the river , true story Ishbel will confirm, but as usual I survived and then of course there was the wee parachuting incident in the middle of 74 when it was thought I may not walk again, but hey, I survived that too....

This is a photo of the Waldhaus restaurant on the Heerstrasse.  It was the first restaurant I took Ishbel to for a meal and we revisited it and had another celebratory meal in 2004, 30 years after our first visit.  Ishbel was still under age and so I blame myself for her addiction to red wine as I ordered a bottle of Spanish Torres Red, the bottles came with a little black plastic bull hanging from the bottle, I wonder if she still has it somewhere........

And then in 75 Ishbel's parents had organised an engagement party in Berlin.  Only problem was I was on posting away from the regiment and true to form spent most of my time in a drunken stupor as a fully paid up member of the Boozy Army on The Rhine.  The party was scheduled for the Friday night and I turned into work on the Friday morning when I should have been heading North to Berlin.  My bosses were more than a little bemused but fully understood my confusion as this was a normal state of affairs for me back then.  As luck, for me maybe not for Ishbel there was a visiting detachment from Berlin scouting out the area I was working in ahead of a major planned exercise, and they agreed to take me with them. To cut a long story short, I travelled the 11 hours in the back of a soft top land rover in a snow storm and made the party, frozen and shivering, with a sorry looking bunch of flowers in hand.

Fast forward to 1976 and we eventually got married in the Garrison church at Aldershot, had three brilliant kids, I stopped drinking when Marie was born in 1978, and THAT WAS AFTER I WAS SHOT AND SURVIVED and then Brian came along in 1980 followed by Jennifer in 1984.

Fast forward to 2014 and we have now been together, 38 years married and every day ISHBEL DRIVES ME NUTS, there is a proper way to load the dishwasher you know, I don't need your jim jams in the ironing basket THEY DON'T NEED TO BE IRONED NOR DO YOUR JEANS, PLASTIC DOES NOT GO IN THE BLUE BIN EEEEEVVVVVVEEEEERRRRR..... and the list goes on, Socks, don't get me started on my socks me I never do anything that annoys, cos I'm perfect anyway (apart from continually and regularly locking us both out of the house ....)

And then of course, there was last year when the doctors gave me a year to live but out of spite and because of all HER annoying habits, I refuse to die and I am going to hang around for years getting my own back on her and  to make sure she starts to get things right, even if it kills me doing it.

Hey, Ishbel thanks for 40 years of friendship and love I know I can be a right pain in the **** at times but at least I'm still cuddly........


Oh and by the way HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ALSO to Jules and Oscar our Besties in California who also married on 17th April and have 2 gorgeous girls and a son just like us, Hope you two are having a great day too.


  1. What a lovely insight into your lives. Happy anniversary and good health to you both.

    1. Thanks for dropping in and commenting, why not leave a name next time xxx

  2. Oooooh! You all look like royalty and we look like the royal servants! I love your photos and I love the both of you and your family. I'm thrilled to share this day with you. Now, if Oscar and I could only heal quick!
    Happy Anniversary! I know you'll have many more!

    1. Jules, we have been thinking of you all day. Hoping you and Oscar are having a good day even if you are hobbling about...... Watch this space for next year xxxxxxx

  3. I LOVE the pictures, Tom. Happy Anniversary!

    1. Thanks Marylin, we've set the same date for next year xxxxxxx


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