It seems hard to believe, but Evilstevie and I have been married for an entire year.
Truth be told, the year, while not tragic, has not been a terrific one either. His work schedule has involved a level of "out of hours" work rather higher than we had expected and this extra work tends to crop up at extremely short notice - we rarely know in the morning whether we will be having an evening meal together. His workload over the last twelve months has been so heavy that it was January before he was able to take time off work for our "honeymoon" and he is still accruing "time off in lieu of hours worked" faster than he is getting a chance to actually use it. For my part, chronic illness does not respond well to such chaotic routines, so my pain and energy levels are no longer as well controlled as they once were, which in turn means the carefully balanced dominoes of my overall health and ability to Do Things (work, socialise, eat properly, manage disability bureaucracy) have crashed. It's all a bit of a mess, really.
On the bright side, we're very much still hanging on to each other and making each others' worlds that little bit nicer. This is definitely a more positive outcome than the alternative, which would be each of us yelling at the other "this is all your fault!"
And on the even brighter still side, at the beginning of May, Evilstevie came home with the biggest grin I'd seen in a long time and proudly announced that he'd booked the week of our anniversary off work, and we both squeaked and hugged each other and began to make plans.
On the morning of our anniversary, we had a quick photo-session to try out an idea I'd picked up via Ravelry. This was to take a picture of the two of us holding a picture of the two of us from our wedding. We took several - this is one of my favourites, although you can click through to see the others:
Then next year we print off one of those pictures and do the same thing again... you get the idea.
Photos taken, we packed ourselves into the car and set off to use an outstanding wedding gift from some very generous friends - a night at a luxury B&B in Devon. The weather steadily improved as we drove south and by the time we arrived I was regretting my failure to pack sun-cream and sandals. Instead we got a chance to sit in the shade looking out at glorious countryside, with tea and knitting for me, and coffee and camera for Evilstevie. Dinner in a nearby pub/restaurant was delicious and falling asleep in a beautiful room under crisp, fresh sheets felt like the holiday had properly begun.
The following morning, after guiltily declining most of the humongous breakfast spread on offer in the B&B's dining room, we loaded back into the car to go to one of my favourite places on earth - the Eden Project.
We first visited the project in January, and if you GiftAid your entry fee then you can get a year's pass to return as often as you like (or at least, as often as you can, because I think I could go every week for a year and not get bored). A brief stop to share the joy with Twitter, and then we spent the morning trekking up and down the outdoor areas, the idea being that if it started to rain, then we could head for the indoor biomes. Of course it didn't rain at all, and by the time we'd decided to stop exploring outdoors and head for the Link, my shoulders were about ready to drop off. We had a break for a late lunch, but I felt that I wouldn't manage much more pushing and that I'd like to just go into the smaller Mediterranean Biome to relax, instead of trying to hike around the larger, steeper, hotter Rainforest Biome. Evilstevie agreed and we made our way across.
That was where we found "the Back-rub team" offering 15 minutes of reiki back massage for £10, which to my burning shoulders and floppy exhausted arms seemed like a wonderful idea.
It really was. I mean, I didn't leap up and dance my way around the citrus grove or anything, but after a bit more of a rest and stretch I was able to not only get around the Mediterranean Biome but in short bursts I managed the Rainforest as well.
That night we crashed out at an unremarkable Travelodge in Bodmin, with the idea being that in the morning we'd be able to head home or elsewhere as the fancy took us. I'm sure nobody will be surprised to hear that in the morning, despite being shattered, we went straight back to Eden - we didn't find the back-rub team but we caught the Storytelling and had a lovely lunch before reluctantly heading for home and a couple of days to recover.