January and February pretty much passed us by in a blur. Before I knew it February 23rd was coming around again and it would mark one year since Lara and I had gotten together. I only remember the date since the number 23 seems to hold some significance for me, things just tend to happen on that date, oh and we’d celebrate it every year for a while after this one.

I hadn’t made any kind of fuss to date about time passing, it had been nice to notice every so often that it had been another month of happiness. Yet when it came to the one year mark I wanted to do something special. It wasn’t something that I was used to, since in my first relationship we were so on and off I don’t think we ever made it through one year without a breakup.

The lady liked football, and had a soft-spot for Portsmouth FC, since Portsmouth was an old stomping ground of mine I arranged an overnight stay and tickets to watch Portsmouth .v. Sunderland (they were in the Premiership at the time) and while I was at it I’d see if any of my old Uni friends were still in the area.

It was all booked and ready to go then shortly before we were due to go, my poor beautiful car Leo got smashed. The poor little beast was taken by surprise one day. I was staying at Lara’s when there was a knock on the door, people on the street were trying to find the owner of the blue Peugeot parked outside. I could overhear them from Lara’s bedroom and I hastily dragged myself out of bed to investigate.

When I emerged out onto the street I could see what all the commotion was about. An old VW Golf’s handbrake cable had snapped and gone rolling down a hill straight into the side of my car. The passenger side doors on my car were buckled from the impact, the VW didn’t even appear to have a scratch on it.

There was a little anxiety from Lara and her family about how angrily I was going to react to this spectacle. I just looked at the cars and I remember the only coherent thought going through my head was ‘this is why they make us take out car insurance, I hope the owner of that car is insured’

Before long the car owner in question appeared and confirmed that insurance was in place. Since the accident had happened due to a defect with his car he was happy to claim liability to speed things along, this helped immensely and in a matter of days I had a replacement hire car and my little Leo had been taken away to the garage for repairs. It would be almost a month before I’d see my car again.

I coped with the separation well by completely rinsing the Fiat that they had given me, it was only a couple years newer than my car but the breaks were amazingly responsive and it took me the better part of a week to stop catapulting myself towards the windscreen every time I wanted to slow down. Ah the joys of a new car.

With the quick resolution of all these shenanigans we were free to be on our way for the weekend. We sat in the freezing cold at the football match but had a good time. I gave Lara a bit of a tour of the places I used to hang out, we had a quick drink with my friend Debbie who was still living in the area while she was out with her rugby teammates. We swapped cards wishing each other a happy anniversary and enjoyed the hotel room before heading home the next day.

It started a bit of a hobby for us, since I supported Reading FC I signed us up to get our membership cards and we’d aim to go to a match about once a month. It was quite nice to have something that would take us out of Somerset for a day and that we could enjoy just the two of us. Sometimes when we’d make the trip up we’d fit in a visit with some of my family who still lived in Reading.

So a year on and we were doing Ok , things were going great, or so I thought. In a few short months we’d be shaken, the trust would be broken and things would never be the same again, no matter how much I wanted to pretend they could be. More on that tomorrow, for now I’m happy to continue on remembering the good times and not the bad.



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