How we met

21st March 1981. The minister is my Dad.

It was our wedding anniversary last week. I celebrated in Glasgow, and John celebrated by flying to China on business. Oh well, we’ve celebrated a few anniversaries already (36 of them, mostly together) and hopefully have quite a few more to come, so I’m not complaining. Too much.

Last year I mentioned our anniversary in my March Gallivanting post, and had originally included a section on how we met. As the post grew longer and longer, I had to cut it out. I think this year’s March post might be a long one too and, as I have nothing else written for this week, here’s that section now.

How we met

Anabel and John, March 81

In autumn 1979 I went to Sheffield to do my Masters in Librarianship. I moved into a student flat in Victoria House which I shared with four other young women: two more postgraduates and two first-year undergraduates. We felt quite sorry for the first-years, who seemed to have nothing in common, and decided they needed more friends. We were thinking female and their own age (18 – we were looking down at them from the lofty height of 22). Between us, we leafleted all the flats in the block inviting people to meet in our kitchen to set up some social events.

What we didn’t know was that our flat was not typical and, apart from us and two women downstairs, the occupants were all men. Postgraduate men. As our kitchen filled up with them I answered the door to the last arrival. Readers, I would have been astonished to know it, but this was my future husband. However, I can report that my very first thought was “Oh no, not another old man!” Not a promising start.

After a bit of discussion, our large group of men and a few women hit the nearest pub then dispersed in smaller groups to various other destinations, the local curry-house in my case. I didn’t see John again that evening and, apart from the odd hello when passing on the stairs, didn’t speak to him again all term. He admits to a flicker of interest but noticed that I had a boyfriend already.

By January that relationship was over. One evening, my flatmate and I returned from the cinema to find John and his friends had tied climbing ropes to their balcony and were abseiling down the building. (This photo of me on the balcony outside our kitchen gives you some idea of how it worked. There were three floors, we were on the middle one and John was immediately above.) Conversation ensued, and we were invited to a concert the following night for which John was doing the “on-stage visuals” (remember this was 1980, it meant he was operating the slide projector). We became friendly as a group,  John and I soon became a couple and we got married the following March.

Romantic? I think so! Let me know in the comments if you have a better story.

97 thoughts on “How we met

  1. Pit April 13, 2018 / 19:25

    What a great story. Reminds me of how Mary and I met: we were both looking for email pals for our students, she in the US in Karnes City, I in Niederkassel in Germany, and on March 5th, 1998, both of us sent an email to a mailing-list at St. Olaf’s University in Minnesota. Well, I answered hers, and … the rest is history! 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh April 13, 2018 / 20:15

      So you were still in Germany when you met – I hadn’t realised that. Moving country is very romantic! And my highly developed arithmetic skills (😉) tell me you have recently had the 20th anniversary of that meeting.

      Your blogs have gone very quiet, I miss them!


      • Pit April 13, 2018 / 20:26

        Yes, I was still in Germany when we met. And we “dated” for 11 years, before we married in 2009. I came over here to the US “for keeps” in 2008.
        Re my blogs: it was more or less accidentally that my blog pause started in December last year and then went on and on. But it’s been a good experience. Yesterday I started to write a post about it, and maybe I can finish that this weekend.
        It does good to know that I am missed. 🙂 Let’s see when I return to “full-time blogging”.
        Have a great weekend,


  2. Lynne Rickards April 3, 2018 / 11:30

    A belated happy anniversary! I’ve been away in Canada celebrating my Dad’s 87th birthday, but I wanted to get back to your How We Met post so I could comment. It’s a lovely story and you both look so sweet in that wedding photo! Congratulations and all the best.


    • Anabel Marsh April 3, 2018 / 12:22

      Thank you very much, Lynne. We look so young, but I suppose we were! I hope your Dad had a good birthday.


      • Lynne Rickards April 3, 2018 / 21:09

        We all were! Yes, I think my Dad enjoyed his birthday. A quiet gathering of old friends, including many I remembered from my youth. Great to see them all again after 35 years or so!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Birgit April 2, 2018 / 22:08

    I love your first picture…we have no grey hairs and look so youthful but we still are young in our hearts. Your story is sweet and love us7ally hits when we are not looking for it. I wasn’t when I met my hubby and he wasn’t looking either but we knew pretty quick that we were meant to be warts and all


  4. Su Leslie April 1, 2018 / 11:57

    Happy Anniversary Anabel, and many more to come.


  5. Marcia Strykowski March 31, 2018 / 22:12

    Oh, I love seeing these pictures and hearing how you met. Happy Anniversary Anabel & John!


  6. Liesbet @ Roaming About March 30, 2018 / 02:59

    I love it, Anabel! Romantic, meant to be, cute. Too bad you don’t have any photos of John abseiling from the floor above you. How did it feel to have your own dad as a minister? As far as the story of how Mark and I met… that will be described in my memoir. And, yes, it is an incredible story. We have told it to many people (the owners of our newest house sit yesterday, for example), and each time, their jaw hits the floor. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh March 30, 2018 / 08:01

      There are some abseiling pictures but they are in a box in the loft – one of many boxes of photos which used to be tidy but have got muddled over the years. It seemed like too much effort to look for them! The pictures I used were my mum’s. It was actually quite distracting having my dad there – apparently I looked at him when saying my vows instead of at John! I look forward to reading your story some day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. edgar62 March 29, 2018 / 23:09

    We met at a Sunday School Teachers Retreat at Carberry Tower. I wasn’t going as I had been to several and decided to miss this one. The minister decided otherwise and picked me up in the morning. That’s where I met Annabell. When we were married in August of the following year, both Ministers, the Rev, Alex Keith and the Rev, James Curry conducted the Wedding. We have been married now for 45 years..


    • Anabel Marsh March 29, 2018 / 23:32

      Well, that was lucky that your mind was changed for you! Thanks for a lovely story.


  8. Joanne Sisco March 28, 2018 / 21:43

    There’s no such thing as a ‘better’ story … only a different one 🙂

    I love the story of how you met and obviously it’s been a good things because you’ve now celebrated 37 years of marriage!! This year we will be celebrating our 35th, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder how all that time went so quickly!

    Congratulations and best wishes for many more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh March 28, 2018 / 22:16

      Thank you, Joanne! I don’t know where the time went either – although sometimes I look back at pictures of those two young people and it seems like another world.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) March 28, 2018 / 13:58

    Happy belated anniversary! I like hearing how people met, and you have a nice story (I especially like the abseiling down the building part!). I guess Marcus and I met sort of similarly, in that we were living the same building, but we were actually housemates (with three other people). We started dating about two months after I moved in, and luckily it worked out, otherwise finishing the tenancy would have been awfully awkward!


    • Anabel Marsh March 28, 2018 / 15:54

      Thank you! That could have been really tricky if you’d fallen out. Hopefully you will go happily on and on like us.


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