I’ve often said that, within reason, I’ll do requests on this site. There are some things that I won’t ever write about, even if someone asks me to. The overriding criteria for anything to go on here is ‘does my son really need to know that about his dad?’ and always will be. Reasonable requests, however, will always be entertained and this story is one that I was asked for
The story begins six weeks after Helen and I had decided that our relationship was at an end. For various reasons, it also begins only about eight days after Helen and I had told people that our relationship was at an end. This has proved to be a little controversial for some people, but sometimes you cannot help how life turns out.
Caro and I first met at a wine tasting. We had actually been trying to meet up for either a couple of weeks or about eighteen months, depending upon how you time it.
We first came into contact through an internet discussion board for lawyers. We spoke about ways of transferring cassette tapes to mp3 files (yes, that geeky!) and tried to arrange to meet up for coffee to talk about it. We failed. We’re still a bit hopeless like that.
The second meeting came about because by that time, thanks to that website, we had mutual friends in common. Moreover, since the split with Helen I had begun spending more time on the site in the evenings, simply to have someone to ‘talk’ to.
One night, Caro and I got into a conversation. It began with a fairly innocent comment about a letter in Private Eye and ended with the two of us talking into the wee small hours.
After that I emailed her again and again suggested that we meet up. I had nothing on my mind other than meeting someone with whom I had something in common. At that time, I had my sights set on becoming one of those sad middle aged men who lives off takeaways and spends his nights in watching football.
Meeting up wasn’t as easy as it should have been. We were both busier than I thought that we would be, especially as Caro was at college every other weekend. It appeared that, for weeks ahead, whenever one of us was free the other wasn’t.
Then we had a breakthrough. I was going to a wine tasting with a friend, Jo, who had just separated from her husband. With around three hours to go, Jo bailed out. I knew that this was one of the nights when Caro had been free and so, on the off chance, I emailed and asked if she would like to come. Within half an hour she had accepted.
Perhaps shockingly, one of my abiding memories of that night doesn’t involve Caro at all. I took a train into London from where I was working. As it trundled over Richmond bridge I looked down at the Thames below. As I did, I saw a pair of Crested Grebes, courting (well, it was March, prime mating time for many birds). I didn’t take this as an omen, but it is the only time I have ever seen it so it stuck in my memory.
What happened when I met Caro? Well, I’ll tell you later