They say a little forward planning can work wonders, and that was certainly the case last weekend. 25 and a half years ago, when Olley proposed to me, we decided on a September wedding because it is a month when the weather is often beautiful in many parts of the world. We hoped that, over the years, we may benefit from some sunshine if we managed to 'get away' on our anniversary.
Never has that been more true than for our Silver Wedding celebrations. We decided against a luxury hotel, a romantic city break or a lavish party. We had found something we'd been hankering after for the last few years, and bought it as a gift to each other – a motorhome. At 17 years old it is the same age as our youngest child and has done a fair few miles, but to us it represents the freedom to explore the countryside together.
As the children become adults we have a little more time to ourselves and plan to put it to good use! We spent our three week long honeymoon driving at will around Italy, stopping when we saw somewhere we liked the look of, and moving on when we felt the urge for something new. This would bring back those wonderful carefree feelings.
We are looking forward to taking the 'van to foreign shores, but for the inaugural trip we decided to keep it domestic. We wanted Barney the dog to join us, and he doesn't have his passport yet. So we headed west – pretty much as far west as you can go, in fact, to the beautiful coast of Pembrokeshire.
We enjoyed the most magnificent weather, with purple-blue skies and constant sunshine. We found a couple of delightful campsites that were literally perched on the coastal path and spent the weekend walking almost deserted beaches, swimming in the bracing but stunningly clear water (well, I swam while Barney paddled and Olley watched!) and relaxing in our new 'home'. We cycled to the pub for dinner, but had just as much fun cooking for ourselves in the 'van.
Waking up to witness a stunning sunrise over the sea from our 'bedroom' window was memorable, and so was the friendliness of other people doing much the same thing – whether under canvas or over wheels. It was also lovely to realise how much Barney enjoyed being with us. He laid claim to his favourite seat, lying there as though he owned the motorhome – there were moments we felt that WE had gate crashed HIS holiday! As he's getting on a bit now at 13, it's lovely to have him with us when we go away. We celebrated 25 years since the exact moment of our marriage by drinking champagne in plastic glasses, sitting in deck chairs in the middle of a field. And I wouldn't have had it any other way!
We feel very lucky. Next time I write I will belatedly show you some photos of my Olympic experiences – and tell you about the latest sporting exploit of one of our children. Until then, take care.