My Darling E
When I was over in Ireland at the end of June, I was given lots of family photographs which people thought might be useful to me for the family 'memoir'.
Among them was this one, which my cousin M pulled out of her archives...
It dates back to our first year or so together and I suppose, as the eldest grandson, it somehow found its way into my grandmother's possession and then it was passed on down.
Since it has come to light, there have been a few sharp comments that 'somebody' looks as if he is posing for the cover of a knitting pattern.
How little they know.
The sweater was from a knitting pattern we had chosen together, when you said you would like to knit a sweater for me. The sweater was wonderful and I enjoyed wearing it for a very long time.
Don't think you repeated the effort of this labour of love, though. We had much better things to do.
And the pipe?
Well that cherrywood one and several others were something I affected at the time. Could never get on with them and, in those unenlightened days, they soon made way for the rare celebratory cigar and, for awhile, the pungent pleasure for both of us, of 'Disque Blue' cigarettes.
Your pregnancies put an end to these, for good and all.
And the photograph?
Well that was taken by Phil M-L, a work colleague of mine in those far-off days in Finsbury Circus.
Phil and his wife (and I cannot recall her name) lived in a flat in Crouch End, just down the bottom from Muswell Hill.
They had a young baby and we were only too happy to volunteer for baby-sitting duties.
Like us, they were on a tight budget, so the question of payment never arose.
We were more than happy just to be able to spend time on our own.
Phil, a keen photographer, wanted to pay us back in some way so offered to take this 'portrait' for us to have.
Phil was one of my then colleagues who had elected not to be relocated to Chesterfield in early 1964. I unfortunately didn't as relocation was a condition of my getting the job in the first place. We lost touch when I moved.
My 'exile' in the depths of Derbyshire didn't last more that six months, though.
As you will remember, neither of us could bear being apart, just seeing each other every other weekend.
So I dumped the job and moved back to London - and to you.
It was one of the best decisions I ever made, apart from what I said to you that first night we met and, later, asking you to marry me.
The move opened up an entirely new career for me and a very different life that we were able to enjoy together for all the years since then.
It's funny how a long-forgotten photograph can stir up such pleasant and poignant memories from the past
But then that's what I suppose I am doing every time I write to you.
Photographs and memories are what I have to hang on to.
Miss you so.
And will do, For Ever