Yesterday was our wedding anniversary so it was ordained that Italian food was to be consumed. Apparently it's a bye-law, or a tort, or something. Quite frankly I'm too scared to question it these days.
So the evening found us heading off to one of the few Italian restaurants in the western hemisphere we hadn't yet tried, Giovanni's in the village of Dickens Heath.
Dickens Heath is a little unusual. It's a new village, which in itself is quite rare given that most of the places round here feature in the Domesday Book. It's not unpleasant, although £350,000 for a two-bedroomed apartment is taking the piss, to be honest. But it seems to have fallen into the trap of property developments everywhere. I couldn't help thinking, as I drove down the main street, slaloming left and right like an automotive pinball, that it looked a little...small. I don't mean it looks compact and bijou - it's no small country hamlet. But it looks like they took a normal-sized village and put it through a photocopier on 85%. Rather a lot squeezed into every square inch. Mind you, if you can charge those prices, fair enough.
But I digress. The meal was very good, but the conversation plumbed our usual depths.
Me: So, nine years then. What anniversary is that?
Katie: It's not copper, is it? No, it can't be - I'm sure we've had one of those before.
Me: Tin? Is it tin?
Katie: Tin doesn't sound too posh. I thought the idea was that things went up in value the longer you were married. What would you get on your tin anniversary - some beans?
Me: I don't think there's too much logic in anniversary nomenclature - I mean it's not like the naming of hurricanes.
Me: Beg pardon?
Katie: Fish anniversary. Maybe that's what the ninth is. Happy fish wedding anniversary.
Me: Have you been inhaling again?
Katie: You've got something on your upper lip.
Me: (removing a piece of aubergine the size of a small child from my face) Thanks. How long were you going to let me walk about with that there?
Katie: It had ceased to amuse me. It had to go.
Me: Don't let my food-related jinks divert us from the business of the day. Fish anniversary?
Katie: I'm bored now.
And they say couples with a few years under their belts don't talk to each other.
I later found out that the ninth anniversary is either pottery or willow. Not fish, apparently. I wiki'd this (is that the verb?) and found that there are different UK and USA lists (year 10 is tin and, in the States, aluminium but with only the first 'i'). But there's also a 'modern' list which has some bizarre entries.
The seventh anniversary gift on the modern list is 'desk sets'. How romantic. "Happy anniversary darling, I bought you a blotter." The tenth is diamond, which says something about modern married couples not being too confident about the whole 60 years thing.
But the modern fourth wedding anniversary is 'appliances'. I know that's supposed to be a white goods reference (nothing says "I love you" like a blender, I suppose) but I couldn't help thinking of items for the discreet gentleman, oft affixed by leather straps.
I suspect that's another type of appliance.