5x5 Fun Friday: Five great Sylvi memories for our wedding anniversary

Today is/was/would have been the seventh anniversary of getting hitched to Sylvia Hermann, if she hadn’t been so suddenly taken away from me in 2015. I thought it would be nice to mark the day with five photos of special memories from our 18 years together.

1 Our Wedding Day, 2009 Technically it’s August 28th, but I always think of it as the Friday before the bank holiday weekend. We tied the knot at Southwark Registry Office in Peckham, in front of our family and friends. Sylvi looked wonderful in a dress she’d made herself, I’ll never forget the way the rest of the world seemed to drop out of focus around her. That shining smile never seemed to stop, even when the driver of our champagne double decker took a detour that turned a 30-minute drive in 90 minutes. And then there was the dancing…but sadly there are no photos of the MC Hammer pants.

2 Severn Valley Railway, late 1990s The Severn Valley Railway didn’t know what hit it when we joined Bobby, Martin, Chris and Ian for a leisurely chug through through the Shropshire countryside. I’d say this was an early shot before the train ran out of Bathams and we moved onto cider. Ah, she loved a pint. And Bobby, they were besties from the moment they met.

3 Halloween, 2013 Eddie and Laura’s doorstep in May’s Landing, New Jersey, was the venue for a very American Halloween experience, complete with a maize maze and terrifying haunted hayride. Always setting a high standard, Sylvi picked the hard template to carve out a smiling goblin’s face, but it was worth the wait. And then there was Atlantic City and New York for her 39th birthday. But that’s another story.

4 Norway, 2010 We raced the sunset along perilous cliffs to reach Nordkapp for this photo, the apex of a wonderful but challenging drive from London to Talinn in our troublesome Austin Aggro. Sylvi had previously demonstrated a talent for driving without reference to the sleep habits of puny mortals, which was put to the test as we caught up with main group of Northern Lights rallyers following some last-minute engineering. She also invented the glovebox picnic, creating delicious sandwiches on the road as we drove around the fjords and across glaciers. But the best part of those trips was the long drives, chatting away for hours as the scenery drifted past.

5 Belgian Grand Prix, 2014 Our last wedding anniversary together, as it turned out. We travelled to the Spa circuit in the Ardennes with Becky and Murray, just four months after Sylvi’s stroke, and she seemed to be on the mend. Good wine, nice smokes, and as ever, she worked her arthritis to get us great parking and visibility. No-one turned a disability into an advantage like Sylvi. I don’t remember who won, but when the skies opened with torrential rain and thunder after Third Practice, Sylvi opened our spacious hire van to a man stuck in the downpour with two frightened children. Always a giver.

Five moments hardly scratches the surface of all my happy memories, and I think it was more sensible than a 10-bar pub crawl from the cemetery to our old house. She’d demand nothing less, apart from the walking.

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