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Donkin's World: Marriage - Not All Plain Sailing

Richard Donkin tells of a fraught anniversary.

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Gill and I recently celebrated thirty years of marriage. I don't have a good head for anniversaries and had arranged to go sailing that day. This was work, not pleasure. I was writing a piece for the Financial Times.

Since it turned out that it was our wedding anniversary and since Gill was doing nothing special that day I thought she might enjoy coming along with me. "Fancy a day out in Poole?" I asked. "Sounds good," said Gill, thinking about the shopping in nearby Bournemouth.

"You could come sailing with me."

"It's OK I'll be happy shopping."

"But I've asked the sailing people and they're very happy for you to come along."

"Must I?"

"Well I think you must now. Besides, the experience will be good for you if we're going to try a sailing holiday in future."

Gill had been thinking of the shops with dinner afterwards at the West Beach restaurant in Bournemouth. It seemed a little bit expensive but I really shouldn't have said so.

"OK, forget it, we'll celebrate some other time," she said huffily.

I tried to salvage things, making a joke about having a sardine but she didn't see the funny side. Meanwhile the wind was getting up but it was not as stormy outside as it was in.

"Thirty years. People don't get that for murder," she said.

I tried a different tack. "I have plenty of other women friends who would just love to go. I should have asked one of them."


Perhaps we should have gone fishing.


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