Sunday, December 30, 2012


Forty years ago today, I married Moira Ann Irvine.
We’d met at what is now Oxford Brookes University. She was a linguist. In fact, at the time of our wedding, I was still in my final year of architectural studies and Moira was working for the Open University (I think I’ve got that right?) – so, yes, I was a “kept man”!
We started our married life in a rented bedsit in Summertown, Oxford and had an understanding that, once I’d qualified (ie. following a year in “profession practice” and taking the required final examination), we would go and live in France (almost certainly in Paris)…
This never happened and it’s one of my abiding regrets (just the one?) that Moira never had the opportunity to utilise her language skills. Instead, we ended up staying in Oxford so that I could pursue my architectural career. It still makes me feel guilty. Who knows how our life would have developed if we’d stuck to “plan A”? On the positive side(!), our three wonderful daughters were all born in Oxford and our family continues to be the most important aspect of our lives and provides us with enormous pleasure.
As you might imagine, over the recent days, I’ve been reflecting on our married life a fair amount. We were young, “in love” (what does that REALLY mean?) and somewhat naive in terms of worldly wisdom. In the event, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed (and to continue to enjoy!) a rich and varied married life. I think we only fully realised how special and important our marriage and our family life was to us after Moira’s mother and my father died in 1992. It was probably a sense of realisation that we’d both been very fortunate to have come from homes where family values were both fostered and cherished.
Moira is the person who makes our family work. She’s our rock and we’ve all come to depend on her at crucial times for her wise counsel (perhaps an over-dependence at times – her “safe-pair-of-hands” characteristics are more dependable than my rather more “emotional” reactions!?).
We’ve never really argued during our married life (although I do have a vague memory of her once throwing a knife at me a couple of years into our marriage… she missed!!?). I can take no plaudits for this lack of quarrelling because, rather than argue, I have been known to sulk for the odd day(s)(yes, I know, difficult to imagine!). Actually, I think I’ve improved quite a bit over the years – which, again, is probably down to Moira’s influence.
I love that she enjoys new challenges and is prepared to learn new skills (unlike me!).
I’ve always thought of Moira as being quite strikingly beautiful (although she would never accept that she was). She’s intelligent (one of those slightly depressing people to sit next to during University Challenge), articulate, sensible, funny (in a serious kind of way), thoughtful, stylish, mindful of others (unlike me), creative and someone who has an instinctive “feel” for what is right.
A lovely, wonderful wife and a truly amazing mother (and grandmother).
Darling, darling Moira.
I feel incredibly blessed.
Photo: these beautiful M+S prints (“Moira+Steve” – not to be confused with the shop!), by Ruth, were a Christmas gift from Ruth+Stu.

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