Me and Mr Grump go back quite a long way (30 years to be precise)! We first met at a small Army Barracks where we were both stationed. I had literally just got out of  basic training and was still quite a shy and quiet 18-year-old (One of the reasons I joined the Army was to ‘come out of my shell’ a bit). He was a cocky and confident 21-year-old Army chef (definitely a good start there, he loves to cook, I love to eat)!

Anyway, I didn’t pay that much attention to him at first, preferring to concentrate on the food he was dishing up. I had not been on the camp that long, and it was still a bit of an ordeal for me going into the cookhouse as it was always packed, and I didn’t know many people yet; however, if I wanted to eat I had to go in…simple!

I had made a  couple of friends in basic training who had gone before me to this posting, and I ended up sharing a room with one of them,who went on to become my best friend (we are still in contact today) Karen, (this friend) and I decided to take advantage of the private strip of beach that we had on this camp, and headed off for a paddle in the sea.

We ended up going for a proper swim as it was a gorgeous, hot day, we had a little time to kill, and wanted to make the most of it. what I didn’t mention is the fact that, as it was an ‘off the cuff swim’, we hadn’t dressed for the occasion, and were just wearing shorts and t-shirts. Mr Grump, (actually back then he was spiky haired, and very lean and fit) and a friend of his had the same idea and were also having fun in the sea, swimming and splashing about.

They got out a little before Karen and I, and were just hanging around on the beach. As I came wading of the water, Mr Grump came over to me with his jacket which he thoughtfully wrapped around me. I thanked him for his kindness and we eventually went on to have a rather tempestuous two-year relationship.(oh, and he  later told me that he knew exactly what was in store for him, as my yellow shorts, white top, plus underwear,  had gone completely see-through in the water AND he had a bloody good look before bringing me the jacket to spare my blushes)!

We did get engaged during the two years, but were much too young and immature really, plus Mr Grump was being posted elsewhere and was a bit of a Jack-the lad in those days! We ended u going our separate ways, and although Karen and I both left the army after 3 years, Mr Grump continued to serve.

I came back to my home town, and life moved on…I did occasionally think about Mr Grump, and at one time, went to visit his mother in Wales for a few days. I didn’t see him at that time, as he was off serving abroad somewhere. Anyway, I ended up getting married, and much later  I had my beautiful daughter . He of course also went on to have children and marry.

As I mentioned, I was still in touch with Karen, and one day she told me that she had seen Mr Grump on Forces Reunited, and that he would be pleased to hear from me. I was really shocked  after all the time that had passed, but was so curious. After all, I had thought about him many times over the years, so anyway I bit the bullet and contacted him.

We sent messages back and forth for a while but then finally decided to meet up. I had been single for a few years as Miss Hap’s father and I had split when she was a very young baby. I had arranged to meet him in a local Supermarket car park, but he got lost as had to drive for a couple of hours to get there, Finally he made it there and seeing him was like the years just melted away (well aside from the fact that he had put on a few stone and his  hair was bald on top and long at the back which he put into a pigtail)! That was it for both of us…. after a few weeks, he moved in, and six months later we married! (By this time I had got at him with the hair clippers, he lost a load of weight, I put a load on), but we were happy

Karen and her family of course came to the wedding, and she was one of our witnesses;  Miss Hap was our gorgeous bridesmaid and  we had a small, intimate ceremony (so intimate I didn’t realise the room would only hold 4 people (and the huge dress that I had chosen), so a few of our family stood outside the window looking in at us exchanging vows!! We did have a reception at the local pub though for everybody and it was a wonderful day.

It just goes to show, how unpredictable life is! I never would have guessed, that after being apart for 25 years, Mr Grump and I would not only meet up again, but I would eventually become his wife, even if it took me 30 years to do it!!