Following a truly awful marriage break down, my Canadian relatives clubbed together to fly me over to stay with them for some rest and recuperation. With no mobile and no emails in those days, hard as it is to imagine now, I came home to over thirty messages on my answerphone.
I listened to the first one: “Jan, it’s Ann from the Chamber of Commerce, the President’s Ball is next week and we’ve secured a place for you.” I was writing and designing the Chamber’s magazine at that time and working closely with Ann, who knew all about the ending of my fourteen-year marriage.
The next message was from Ken at The Rover Group whom I knew well because his company advertised in the magazine. “Hi Jan, just to let you know, we’ve fixed up for one of our directors to accompany you to the President’s Dinner. I hope you had a good holiday and you can make it.” What they didn’t know was that I had decided to give up men for life and this was not a good start. The third call was Ann: “Just so you know, Ken has arranged a chauffeur driven car, to collect you.” Well, thought I, that upped the game, I began to crack. Message four: “Ken here Jan! Just so you know our director will pick you up from home, it’s black tie.” Still, despite their enthusiastic messages, I was very reluctant. I was convinced that I would be spending an evening with some lecherous old soak who would bore me to death. Fifth message: “Ann here Jan, when you get back can you confirm you can make the dinner, did I mention champagne? There will be champagne.” She had me hooked.
In total, there were 18 messages from Ann and Ken awaiting my return and 48 hours later, still a little jetlagged, I was being picked up by a very handsome man in a dinner suit, driven by a chauffeur to a glamorous gala dinner and, frankly, I had the time of my life. Very quickly we both realised we had been set up on a blind date. Ann and Ken had been working very hard behind the scenes for months to get us together. They believed we were perfect for each other.
As for my date? Well he was truly wonderful; a real gentleman and we shared all the same interests. We talked late into the evening, when the other guests had drifted away from the table.
The end of the story? Well, it turned out far better than I could have imagined and I will always be grateful to Ken and Ann for their perseverance. Ultimately, I’m pleased to be able to say; “Reader, I married him.”
December 2020 – January 2021