The worst of times and the best of times

What a way to end 2016… a fantastic Christmas with Tracy’s family followed by a trip to Gretna Green to get married and then on to Inverness for my first Scottish Hogmanay and a super honeymoon in the Highlands.

Yes, of course Sally has been on my mind a lot recently. It is the first Christmas without her and it has been difficult at times, but with such a lovely new partner (now wife!) and her family I have been able to get through with a massive smile on my face and I am certain Sally would have approved.

Christmas was a bit surreal for me. As I have said, the first without Sal but more importantly, the first Christmas I have had since I was a child where we actually celebrated. As you know, Sally and I did not have children and so we hardly celebrated Christmas. We used to have Christmas dinner, sent cards and sent a present or two to close relatives. Most years, but by no means all, we would even put up the odd decoration or a token tree but I always left it so late that it hardly seemed worth it. This year could not be more different! It was like I had stepped into a Christmas fantasyland… but in a good way… a very good way! All of a sudden I had a family atmosphere, lots of buying of presents and the anticipation of receiving on Christmas day. Santa existed again! I hadn’t felt this for 30+ years and it was good. I did find it a little difficult to get into the same Christmas spirit of the others but I didn’t do too badly and I wasn’t the Christmas Scrooge I could have been especially given my circumstances.

So with Christmas Day done it was time to think about our wedding. Not a great deal to think about though… “don’t forget the rings” was the most I needed to concern myself with as everything else was booked. The drive up was uneventful. The hotel was literally 100 yards from the Old Blackmith’s Shop which was our wedding venue so we would be able to walk there. Hotel was good. The ceremony itself was lovely… just us, two witnesses (supplied by the hotel), the registrar and the photographer. The Old Blacksmith’s Shop is open to the public but they close the doors for the ceremony so we didn’t have public peering in while we did our “I do’s”. We also got “handfasted” just to seal the deal a little more – as if it was needed!!!

What is “handfasting”?

More about Gretna Green as a traditional marriage venue

The following day… as Mr & Mrs Moxhay (see previous posts on name changing)… we headed north. We had booked 6 nights in the Palace Hotel, Inverness for Hogmanay and our honeymoon. Hogmanay was nice but I have to say that it was a lot quieter than I had imagined. We do New Year in the south every bit as well in my opinion! The rest of the stay was pretty quiet and that is exactly what we had planned. Tracy did a bit of research for her studies and we visited the Tomatin distillery but apart from a bit of shopping we spent the time relaxing around the hotel.

The trip back was broken by a stopover in Ambleside and was uneventful.

All in all we had a wonderful time and we have both fallen in love with the Scottish Highlands. Of course, as the place of our marriage and honeymoon it will always have a special place in our hearts and I am certain we will return regularly… we certainly plan to return to renew our vows in a few years.

So now on with married life. What has changed? Well… not a lot really. We both have our respective homes to run for now and we both have our studies. Of course, we want to spend as much time together as we can and we want to set up home together just as soon as we can… and we will, but we both have priorities that override that at the moment and so we will be continuing as we have been for the past few months and only really spending time together for long weekends, either at hers or at mine. We see each other in the week though as we only live 6 miles apart (but in different counties – she in Cornwall, me in Devon) which means we can touch base midweek for coffee or the occasional shopping trip. But on the whole we spend the midweek studying apart but very much connected by online messaging, phone and video calls when we miss each other or have important stuff to discuss. It isn’t a long-term solution as we both want to live together as soon as practical but it kinda works for now.

Now on with changing my name with everyone I am registered with… passport, driving licence, utilities etc… it is a mind-boggling task!

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