Making a Date
Even though Es and I have been married less than a year, we have agreed to make a concerted effort to work on our relationship. There is no such thing as a relationship which just happens, and the challenge in a marriage is to keep the romance alive. Despite what you may believe, relationships don’t have to dwindle into comfortable friendship, you can keep the passion alive forever, but it takes work and dedication.
Part of this is never taking each other for granted, which is very difficult when you are around someone day in and day out. It’s like the beautiful scenery we see every day from our bedroom window, it starts to become the ‘norm’ and as a result you forget to fully appreciate the privilege of living in such a stunning part of the country. Once upon a time I looked out of a bedroom window onto a concrete yard, a back street and another bedroom window. Now I look over rolling fields, mature trees and valleys and hills. It is important to be mindful and fully appreciate where we are and each other.
As a result we have agreed to make time for each other, each other only, at least once a week. And that is all it takes. It may sound unromantic and forced, but happiness is a habit, and so is a happy relationship. We therefore have agreed to a date day/night once a week. They don’t have to be anything special, they just have to be uninterrupted, Facebook/Instagram free, dedicated time and attention.
One of these dates involved an ad-hoc drive-out on a stunning autumn day. Es had been told about a thatched church, which was actually very local to us. So, never one to turn down an Instagram worthy photo, we went out to find it. I have never seen, nor do I know of, another thatched church. We found it down a small country lane, set back from the road, and sat in the prettiest plot of land. It was a lovely little church and still operating as a church with a regular Sunday service. The photo opportunities were abundant, although we did struggle with the lower angle of the November sun. After spending about 20 minutes taking photos, nosing around and saying hello to the horses in the field behind the church, we got back in the car.
Not ready to go back home just yet, Es suggested we go for a drive. I suddenly remembered that I have driven through a lovely little town on my visits in this area and had made a mental note to visit properly one day. “I know where we can go” I exclaimed excitedly as I set off in earnest for Bradford on Avon.
Set in the Avon valley and not far from beautiful Bath in Wiltshire, the town boasts both a canal and a river. Add to that a multitude of differing architectural styles and decades and you have a cornucopia of visual delight. We parked just outside town and walked in. As it was a Sunday the traffic was relatively light, the town itself, due to its age, has a number of bottle necks with sections of very narrow road widths. In my experience of travelling through during the week the traffic in the area can be horrendous and particularly during the summer months.
The town itself is full of bespoke and independent retailers with perfect little shops selling items you can’t find on a homogeneous high street. We also came across a little Sunday market with small producers and growers selling anything from cheese to breads to hand creams. Despite being small, there was still a lively vibe with a fair amount of people making purchases.
After mooching around the shops and market we headed for a bar which was sat right on the river. We chose to sit outside and we ordered two large platters of Spanish Tapas. A very salubrious lunch, lots of laughter and cheery hello’s from passers-by made for a perfect Sunday afternoon together.
We decided to walk off our rather large lunch with a wander around the town. Some of the pedestrianised areas and narrow streets housed cute little thatched cottages which were quite honestly picture perfect. We followed a sign posted walk and found ourselves down by the river and at the Tithe Barn. A huge 14th Century barn with a convoluted history and surrounded by a number of small stone buildings within a small country park. There are a number of quaint little antique shops, art shops and a lovely large Christmas shop full of sparkling baubles and twinkling lights. If anything was going to get you in the mood for Christmas, that was it. I fell in love with some glass baubles and have made a mental note to return and buy a handful for our second Christmas together.
Once again, the area in which we now live didn’t disappoint. Another day creating joyous memories in pleasurable surroundings and cementing our already precious relationship. After all, life is just a collection of moments each one unique and each one precious.