My Darling E
Drove up to Yorkshire this morning for Nicola’s wedding and stayed last night at Wood Hall Hotel in Linton, where the reception will be held tomorrow.
The wedding is at 1.30pm. Didn’t feel it was worth chancing coming up tomorrow morning in case of traffic problems. It would also have meant driving up 'suited and booted'. Remember how I hated that.
As I set off I was trying to remember the last time we made the journey north on the A1.
Think it must have been that weekend back in April 2007 when we went up to spend the weekend with June and Geoff.
Just as we were about to set off we heard the M25 was shut both ways around J28 following a serious accident.
So we cut across country to join the M11 at Harlow. The only problem was that thousands of other drivers were doing the same thing.
When we reached the M11 junction at Harlow we spent over an hour and a half edging our way around the roundabout over the motorway before we could get on our way.
This morning there were hold-ups on the M25 again. So I gambled going the Harlow route again. This time I breezed through and on to the M11 without a problem.
After that is was straight ahead.
And when I say straight ahead I mean straight head. All the way until I turned off at Boston Spa.
Since that last trip together up the A1, they have bypassed all the roundabouts we used to have to negotiate.
As I drove - on my own on a long journey for the first time in several years - I could not help thinking about how it used to be with you there beside me.
The moments shared; the private thoughts voiced; the caress of your hand on my arm; or the soft touch of your fingers stroking the back of my neck.
Sadly all gone now. Never to be repeated ever again; but never ever forgotten either.
When we were living in Guiseley, the A1 was always our preferred route up and down when heading to London, Norwich, later Hindlesham, or London and the south.
Among those dozens of journeys, two stand out clearly in the memory.
The first was that Saturday morning - now ten years ago - when we left Guiseley to begin a new life down south again. The car packed full of 'bits and bats', as they say in Yorkshire and both of us heavy with emotion.
No home to go to and only the prospect of rented accommodation lay ahead.
But how well it all turned out - just as you were confident it would all along.
The other journey?
It's a sunny Friday morning in early February. We were on our way up to Lincoln for Charlotte's wedding.
We were making good progress up the M11 when your phone rang.
It was Charlotte, on her way to Lincoln with Ivan.
'Mum, you did pick up the dress, didn't you?
'Yes we went and got it this morning. It's behind me in its box on the back seat. Just relax.'A few more miles passed before your phone rang again.
'Mum. You're sure it's the right dress?
'Yes. They showed it to me before they put it in the box. It's your dress.'We drove on in silence, the radio turned right down.
I sized the moment to go over my speech which I had pretty well memorised.
I was nearly at the end of it, at the place where I was quoting from the lyrics from 'The Way You Look Tonight' when you decided to the radio up.
And there, right on cue, was Sinatra singing 'The Way You Look Tonight' and he was at the exact point I had reached in the lyrics.
We both looked at each other, laughed and you said, 'That's spooky.'
After that we knew the next day was going to be all right.
Which it was. But there were a few twists and turns still to come.
The song lyrics were of course for Charlotte on her special day.
But they apply now just as much to you, my love, as I think back over our life together.
'Some day when I’m awfully low
And the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight'
And, yes, I do get low at times. But I also get the glow thinking about you and all the glorious precious moments we had together.
Will never ever stop loving you.