Let's set the scene. I'd been a fully paid member of the sad lonely men's club for a couple years; that's a couple of years that I now describe as being "between marriages". For those two years, apart from working, I'd spent most of my time doing bloke things: umpiring cricket with the Limpley Stoke Cricket Club, playing darts (badly) for The Hop Pole Inn; having regular steak and chess nights with my mate Geordie John (with whom I'm still in touch, but nowhere near often enough).
In fact it's more than four years since the Geordie was last seen in these parts, so I'll digress slightly and publish a shot of him; here he is playing chess with a very young Dozybean whilst Mrs The Millbrooker looks on and I perform armchair gymnastics next to the gramophone.Digression over, back to the narrative of ten years ago. Only a few weeks before that fateful evening, I'd bought my very first house all by my own. Quirky, odd shaped, wreck of an unevenly built thing it was. I quickly realised that I wasn't going to meet any women umpiring cricket and living on my own in a small Georgian building site; I don't do clubs or "chatting up" - believe it or not I've simply never had the confidence. So an advert in the local free rag it was.
How I wish the story of those being the words I had printed were true (Mrs The Millbrooker claims she would have answered it). I honestly can't remember exactly what the ad said, but I got two replies; the second was too late because the date at The Old Globe had already taken place and there was no going back. Sorry, Sarah of Radstock with the pink note paper and inability to dot an "i" without drawing a flower, but it probably wouldn't have worked anyway.
The future Mrs The Millbrooker and I spent an evening in rapt conversation at a corner table in the Old Globe followed by a hand-holding walk back through one of Frome's parks and the rest, as they say, is history.We honeymooned less than a year later astride our lovely old Honda CBR1000F; we adventured our way to Millbrook not long after that.
And so, on last Monday evening, we marked the occasion of ten years of being joined at the hip by cracking open one of the good bottles kept slightly apart from the everyday quaffing stuff. Speaking of being joined at the hip, Dong has been known to comment that we're so closely joined that when we're apart we walk with a limp. Dong's about right.The Chateau Guerry 2003 (you'll need to follow the links through, but it's a terrific wine, so if you want to know more click here) was scrummy to the point of silliness and well worth its price tag. A worthy slurp to celebrate a great ten years; let's not wish our lives away, but here's to the next ten...