Robbie and I will be married 9 years this December. And though I may bad mouth the boy, I do love him. Enormously. And in my defence, he really asks for the bad mouthing. He likes it. He responds to it. I like it. I respond to it.
Anyway. We were discussing out upcoming anniversary. More like I was asking what we were going to be doing to celebrate it. And I always ask with a hint of suspicion and dread. And no wonder.
For our first anniversary, Robbie decided to surprise me and organised a weekend in Glencoe - a beautiful part in the Scottish highlands. We stayed in a hotel called the Kings House Hotel. He'd taken advice from folk at his work, who'd all said that this place was really romantic, and that it had a big roaring fire, that the staff were lovely and the rooms clean and that the scenery was breathtaking.
Of course, you know that I'm going to tell you that those were all LIES. No... actually - the scenery is beautiful up there. Though when we went, it was the dead of winter, with only a few hours of daylight. So, most of the scenery went unseen.
To put it bluntly, our first anniversary ended up being a bit guff. We drove up to Glencoe in about 2 hours. With no windscreen pump in our car. It had broken just before we made our trip, so it meant that every so often, we'd had to pull over and spray the windscreen with the only 'liquid' we had in the car... de-icer. The roads were muddy and for once, when rain would have been welcome, it was a dry day, so the trips to the lay by were plentiful.
Anyway - we got up there, and by then it was about 3 in the afternoon, so it was already nearly dark. We could just see the outline of the mountains of Glencoe and no more. But we were staying up there for an entire weekend, so we figured we'd sight see then next day.
The first sign that this was going to be a cack weekend was the fact that the Scottish tourist board had only awarded this hotel 2 stars (out of a possible 5.) And yet despite this miserly award, they displayed a plaque with their paltry 2 stars at the main entrance. The main entrance with the broken glass window and the overwhelming smell of dog hitting you as you walked in.
Down a narrow hallway, past glass cases full of dead wildlife, immortalised forever by a seriously unskilled taxidermist. Past a main reception room with a fireplace featuring a poxy little glow of a fire. This was meant to be the romantic roaring fire that had been described by the pathological liars at Robbie's work.
On to the reception where we waited behind some serious mountain climbers. They had all the gear hanging off them - ropes, sleeping bags, walking poles, cramp-ons.. I suddenly felt out of place, as I rocked up to the reception with my high heeled boots on and faux leather jacket and eyelashes primped and lacquered in mascara.
Anyway. Some woman with a knitted sweater showed us to our room. Room. A room. For that was all it was. Oh, and a bed. With some bogging sheets. OK... OK... Let's be fair. We did have an en suite. I mean, I don't want to make out that the room was all that bad. We had a bed, some 'bedding' and a bathroom, which featured a toilet, a bath and a sink. No shower. And no telly. And no shower cap!
We were in for a loooooooong weekend. And it was a long weekend. We actually went in to Fort William the next day, which was the nearest 'town' and tried to find a shop that sold board games and books, so that we could occupy ourselves. We found a WHSmith where we bought a couple of newspapers with lots of supplements and a quiz book. A bumper edition quiz book. They had no board games though :(
We stayed at that hotel for two whole nights. And as soon as we opened our eyes on our day of departure, we got the hell out of there.
That weekend taught me a few things. I'm a girl who likes her comforts. Comforts that include a shower, a clean bathroom (I daren't start on the state of the bathroom), a telly, some daylight, a windscreen pump, a roaring fire and honest work mates.
It also taught me that I'm a miserable so and so, and completely ungrateful. But that's OK. I don't mind :)
But it does concern me that Robbie says he's planning a nice anniversary this year... Hopefully he's just going to treat me with a meal at Pizza Hut. At the buffet. With free drinks re-fills. And an ice cream machine where the ice cream flows as much as my heaving gut will allow.
So here's to 9 years, Rab. This year I'll be grateful. I promise.
As long as it's good.