Sunday, February 27, 2011

Home Alone

Saturday evening, October 23, 2010
Car in the drive and the front porch at Cloudhouse, Pullman WA
     Arriving home Saturday evening from Jesse and Ben's, I pulled into the driveway and sat looking at the porch. Beyond the burnished golden rays of the late afternoon sun I could see Les standing there the previous evening in his jeans and sweater, rolling a smoke and thinking as he leaned on the railing looking out at the sky.
     He was the calmest person I'd ever met. His was a mind that took everything in and stopped to consider consequences and choices, questioning everything and seeking answers. Dear Sir took time to honor the process and didn't get his knickers in a twist over anything. By the same token he could suss out a situation and make wise split second decisions if required. He was a strong, kind, thoughtful man. His absence left an emptiness in my heart and I knew it would feel the same in the house.
     Wee Man streaked out from underneath the neighbor's steps to greet me. Opening the front door, I stepped inside and the cat shot in past me.
     I used to tuck Wee Man up under my chin on my left side when he was tiny, and it was his favorite spot to cuddle. As W. M. grew he still thought he was small enough to settle in there.  He had a habit of launching himself up gently from floor, to knee, to chest, draping himself over my left shoulder whilst snuggling in under my jaw--all without the use of his claws. Once perched, Wee Man purred contentedly while kneading my neck. He had taken to Dear Sir, following him around and riding on his shoulder. Les wore the little tabby most of the week like a furry corsage on the left side of his chest.
     Closing the door behind me, I was engulfed in the scent of Dear Sir's aftershave lingering in the air. As I hung up my coat Wee Man sailed down the hallway to the guest bedroom, tail held high in anticipation, calling for Les. I followed and stood in the doorway. Dear Sir had made the bed and tidied up. The only clue left that someone had stayed over for a week was the scent of Joop! in the air, mingled with Les' personal scent.
Looking into the front room from the dining room, Cloudhouse, Pullman, WA
     Wee man jumped off the bed and went room to room calling for Les with his squeaky, mewling voice. I began to cry again. Sobs shook me as I followed the cat around the house. In the guest bath the pink and white striped towels hung neatly on the towel bar. I reached out a brought one close to my face, inhaling. It was drenched in Dear Sir's intoxicating scent.
     Finally I sat in one of the swivel rockers with a box of Kleenex. Wee jumped up to my lap, looking in my eyes, calling out in his squeaky meow. I gathered him up and tucked him under my chin. Even Wee Man smelled like Les. We sat bereft together in the gathering dark, missing Dear Sir.
     Eventually I blew my nose, scrubbed my face with a hot wash cloth, and made a cup of tea. Looking at the clock I realized Les was sitting at O'Hare Airport in Chicago for his four hour layover before boarding a United flight to London. Gathering my cup of tea and the cat, I strolled down the hallway to the office, turned on the computer and sent Dear Sir an email:

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Missing you
Date: Sat 23 Oct 2010 0700 PM (Saturday, 10/23/2010, 9 PM in Chicago)
     It is 6:55 pm my time. You are in Chicago, waiting for your plane to Heathrow. Pulling into the driveway at home I feel and see your presence leaning against the front porch railing, rolling a smoke, looking out at the sky. Wee Man comes out from the neighbor’s porch and calls to me. Inside we both wander around looking for you. He calls for you forlornly and I cry. I can smell your aftershave in the bath, on the bed sheets, and even on Wee Man. Looking out the back window I see you leaning there as you did the first morning after we arrived home, your lovely bare back gleaming in the light. I almost came undone when I saw you standing there like that. I can hear your rich, wonderful laughter echoing through the house.
     I’ve had the best week of my life just knocking around with you. I knew we’d be friends but I never expected to fancy you—and I do. 
Jaqueline X0X0 

Master bedroom, Cloudhouse, Pullman, WA
    Finishing my tea, I showered and crawled into my bed with the periwinkle sheets. The cat began calling through the house again for Dear Sir. I rose, padded down the hallway to the guest bed, and Wee Man and I fell asleep together, wrapped in the grey flannel sheets permeated with Les' scent.

Sunday, October 24, 2010-America 
     The phone woke me at 4:20 A.M Sunday morning. It was Les calling from London. I knew he hadn't had time to check his email, so I said nothing about it.
     "Hi Jaqueline, it's Les. I am here in London, and calling you as I promised. Bev and the kids are taking me to her house."
      "Hi Les. It's so good to hear your voice. I'm glad you are back in England safe and sound with family."
      "You got teary in the car park didn't you my dear." 
      "You weren't supposed to see that."
      "Oh but I did--I's okay, I'll come back Jaqueline...I'll come back--I promise."
      "Okay Les, but you invited me to come to England for a visit and to stay with you on the boat. Is your invitation still good?" I hear his muffled voice say, "Bev she wants to come to England. What you think--should I let her?" The phone fills with the sound of hysterical laughter and Dear Sir says, "Bev told me 'Yes you fool, tell her to come over now.'" We laugh together across the phone lines.
     "All right my dear. I'll call you later."
     "Okay Les. Take care and say hello to everyone for me."
     "Good bye Jaqueline...good bye."
     I spent Sunday in a fog, wondering when he would check his email and what he might think about my message. I cleaned house, did laundry, made bread, and prepared for another working week while considering our conversations which often lasted into the late evening hours.
     Wednesday evening after Women & Wine, we sat up until three thirty in the morning talking about friendship and relationships.
     I knew from having read research about men who are widowed after a long and happy marriage that they often don't do well on their own. Dear Sir had endured ten years after losing Val, finding his way in the world without her love, laughter and companionship.
     Instead of coasting through the rest of his life, Les built a new one. He tried dating, hoping to find someone with whom he could be happy. He loved life on the cut and on NB Valerie and he wanted to share his life and his home with someone who accepted him for who he was.
     Val's shoes would be incredibly hard to fill--not that Les wanted a woman just like Valerie; we both knew there is no one like her. Their's was a wonderful marriage grounded in mutual respect and great happiness. They were soul mates and that is not something that can ever be duplicated; but having had a happy marriage, Les knew what it felt like to love and be loved unconditionally and he didn't want to settle for anything less to assuage loneliness.
     We had this in common, for opposite reasons.
     I had never experienced true domestic happiness--as a child in my family home; living with a man I loved beyond reason for two years between the ages of seventeen and nineteen, or married for five years to someone totally unsuited for me--and me for him. I'd had some really happy times raising my children, but that is a different happiness all together.
     After the horrible things I witnessed my mother, father, step-mother and step-father doing to one another in the name of love and matrimony; after surviving the brutal fallout from all four of them as the unwanted witness victimized by their alcoholic fueled cruelty, compounded by enduring the unhappiness of my own marriage, I would rather live alone forever than settle for less than I believe I deserved.
     I was an all or nothing woman. I wouldn't settle for half measures and close calls. I lived alone but I'd created a life of miraculous joy, and that is a gift I'd given myself. I would never risk it for a maybe or settle for the status quo because society or family expected me to do so.
     I'd done that already as an ignorant girl when I married under the pressure of my family, for whom my pregnancy out of wedlock was considered a sin. I was told by my mother that if I didn't marry I would not be welcome at family gatherings anymore. My eldest sister--a devout Christian--was offended by my pregnant, unmarried state. She considered me an unfit person for her three teen aged daughters to be around. My mother had already suffered the loss of relationship with her granddaughters years before when her alcoholism became an impediment to her relationship with their mother. Sober now, mom would not risk losing them again. Pregnant, scared, and totally unprepared for motherhood, I felt I needed a mother more than I ever had.
     So I married and we attempted to play house--two lost kids who came from similar homes and backgrounds--drawn together by our mutual neediness, circling our wagons against what threatened outside in the darkness of night.
     Our marriage was doomed before it began. Still we tried. After three years, he would say to me, "If you leave me the way my mother left my father, it will kill me." And I would think to myself, "If I stay it will kill me." I endured two more years, walking a very thin line, nearly losing myself and my sanity, knowing he wasn't any happier with me than I was with him--but at least we weren't alone--we suffered together.
     I finally made the choice to stop holding up the world for four people and decided to cut my losses and hold up the world for three. Still, divorce is not a victim-less choice. We each suffered, and I wept for the pain it caused--especially for our children. It's one thing to make stupid choices in which we alone suffer the consequences; it is something else to make poor choices that wound others. I would never again make a choice that might cause such pain to someone else; I would also never again allow myself to be blackmailed by family ties. I would find a way to cut them first and not look back.
     After a dinner of baked potato and tossed green salad, I finished up the laundry, watched a bit of BBC television and decided to check my email:

From: les biggs
To: Jaqueline
Subject: RE: Missing you
Date: Mon 10/25/2010 5:21 AM (9:21 pm Sunday evening in America)
Jaqueline my friend, my hope for the future:
      I just thought i would throw a few quick lines across the pond and find you have already sent to me what i also feel. The short time we spent together could as far as i`m concerned have gone on for ever. Not for a long time, 10 yrs in fact, have i had the feelings that seemed to be bouncing back and forth between us and was in fact just this morning complaining to Bev that i`ve met someone who means so much to me but there are 4/5 thousand miles between us.
      I went to bed at 9:30pm, awoke at 5:30am and made a cup of tea, and sat watching the moon and stars, thinking of you until the daylight strengthened and made the stars fade but you were and still are in my thoughts, that will never fade.
      Bev has just come in the door and we will be going to see Kev and Jo now, so with my heart beating a little faster than usual l`ll end these few lines by just much l want to say, could say and will say when we meet again at a time i feel won`t be too far in the future.

     YES!! Dear Sir feels the same way! While I was sitting here at home missing him, Les was halfway across the world, at his daughter law Bev's, thinking about me. I was overcome with euphoria and amazement. After rereading his email response a half dozen times, I washed up for bed, and slept once more in the guest room, in the sheets bearing his scent.

Monday, October 25th, 2010
    Monday morning dawned bright and early. The alarm was set for five A.M. I had to pull myself together and return to my everyday existence. I put on the kettle, tuned the radio to NPR's Morning Edition, started a small pan of water to boil for steel cut oats; showered, dressed, and eventually headed into town for work.
     As I entered the advising suite, my friends Chrisi Kincaid and Maria Greaney asked me how I was doing. I stood there with a huge, cheesy grin on my face and leaned against the wall for support. Maria laughed and said, "Oh Jaq! Come on, tell us, tell us. Something's happened. You are glowing like the sun! You look amazing!"
     I told them about the airport, my email and his response. Maria grinned at me and Chrisi said, "I'm so happy for you Jaq. He's a really nice man--a good egg and so are you; Les is the kind of man you deserve. We sure enjoyed getting to know him over dinner last week. So what's the plan? Is he coming back or are you going over there?" I told them I didn't know yet but I would keep them posted.
     I somehow got through the morning, lunching as I always do with my best friend Cheri Curtis. "Oh Jaq, that's wonderful news. I wish I hadn't been sick with the flu while he was here." Of all my friends and loved ones only Little Bear and my daughter Sparky did not get to meet Dear Sir.
     "You are just glowing Jaq. Really, you look beautiful, and so happy." Bear rolls her eyes towards the ceiling and declares,"Thank you God or Goddess or Grandpa Harvey, for reaffirming my faith--I just knew there was someone out there for you. You are such a wonderful woman; I just knew there had to be a man somewhere on this planet who could see you for who you really are and love you the way you deserve to be loved Jaq. When is he coming back? I really need to meet him now."
     Somehow I managed to finish my working day. Arriving home I raced inside, gave Wee Man some love while I put on the kettle and dashed down the hallway to the office. Firing up the computer I sent Dear Sir an answer to this morning's message.

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Missing you
Date: Mon 10/25/2010 6:50 PM (2:50 AM Tuesday, in England)
     Today has been very trying. Half my head is here and half in England with you. You totally took the USA by storm you know. My friends who met you were very impressed by your handshake, your gentleness, your sense of humor, your demeanor—everything; especially the way you treated me. No less than seven people mentioned the wonderful commentary you provided to the video show at W & W. One friend said you were obviously proud of your boat but not boastful; rather you were humble and knowledgeable--and happy to share what you knew with those who wanted to listen. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed hearing about it, and of course they had words for me. Almost without exception everyone says I glow like someone has turned on a light inside me. That someone is you. 
     I realize how unfair it is that my friends have met you, and your friends and family only know me by anecdote. I know you will represent me well—“crazy American woman” that I am. :) Still I will be thrilled down to my socks to meet Bev and James, Jack and Jordan, Jo and Kev, Nicole, Lena May, Kiera, Kiernan, Steve and Oslem, Battu and Teo; Andy and Tina and whoever else is there in your life for real.
     I am moved to tears by your words, “Not for a long time, 10yrs in fact, have i had the feelings that seemed to be bouncing back and forth between us…” I am so touched Les. I feel euphoric and melancholy by turns!
     While I believe it is important to meet the right person—I think it is even more important to be the right person. I’ve never been treated by a man the way you treated me this past week—with such kindness, respect, and thoughtfulness. You saw me for who I really am and you like me—you even get me. I am not the person I was a week ago. Your presence blessed me and made me feel like a flower whose time has come to blossom—at last.
     My friend Cheri is determined to find a way to move England and the U.S. closer together without disturbing the cosmos too much! LOL! For my part I look out at the night sky and know “somewhere out there…” is one to whom my heart and thoughts fly. 
Jaqueline XOXOXO
From: les biggs
To: Jaqueline
Subject: This is i`m sure the start of something good
Date: Tues 10/26/2010 4:51 AM (8:51 pm Monday evening in America)
Hi Jaqueline,
     Sitting here in Jo`s kitchen with the little ones demanding my attention while i check train times for my return to the good ship Valerie--not the best place to answer your e mail but i feel a burning inside to hug you and this is the only way to ease the pain of the miles between us.
     As i say time is not on my side at the moment as i will be leaving here shortly but just to show briefly how i feel about us my priorities over the next few weeks are to re-new my passport and check out flights that will deposit me in your arms sooner rather than later. i know we have only had close contact for less than a week but the vibes flowed it seems both ways and i felt like a part of me had been removed when i sat in Bev`s that first morning looking at the moon & stars as we did from your rear deck.
     Time it`s said is a great healer but that is not the case with how you have affected me, i will never stop missing that warm, cozy, loving feeling that i felt in your company. Lots to talk about but not now as i must catch the train so all i can say for now is can we work on one day being together forever; not easy as it takes commitment from us both but i feel the foundations have been laid so let`s build the future from them.
Have to go now. Lots of love,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
     I overslept and raced through my morning ablutions, showering quickly, throwing on some clothes and racing into work. I didn't have time to check my emails. The day flew by in a blur. At home I peeled off my work clothes, showered quickly, slipped into baggy flannels, a cotton T-shirt and fluffy slippers. Tea in hand, I strolled into the office with the Wee Man and deposited him on the desk. Opening my email I found: 

From: les bigg
To: Jaqueline
Subject: This is i`m sure the start of something good
Date: Tue 10/26/2010 3:52 PM (7:52 AM Tuesday morning in America)
Hello J you crazy lovely American lady,
      Well here i am back on the boat with the fire alight and the rain just about stopped. Have not even un-packed my suitcase yet as it`s full of memories of my visit, the clothes worn when dining out with you...never in my wildest dreams did i think before i arrived that i would depart thinking so much of you, it was just to be a visit of someone who i felt to be a friend sharing a common interest in canal boats but you knocked me sideways after just a couple of days and i felt i could easily spend my life with you.
     Now realising you are perhaps having the same feelings i regret not having taken a chance and held you close and gently kissed you to see your reaction but if it had backfired on me i would have been embarrassed that you felt you were being used by someone invited to your home as a friend. On reflection i believe i made the right decision in sticking to my usual style of showing a lady respect but be aware that your lips have no hiding place when next you`re in my arms.
     When you`re in my arms is something i`ve already thought about and have been checking flights but the jet lag is still affecting me and i find it hard to concentrate on dates with winter fast approaching both sides of the ocean. My thoughts are early next year but your vacation allowance and the weather (snow) might dictate dates. Even if i come over before next spring i do hope it will be possible you can visit me in the summer but unlike me i do realise you have commitments in the states so we shall have to see how things turn out.
     How nice your friends were impressed with me, it was the real me with no acting i promise. They were without exception a very nice group of people and a pleasure to meet. The meal at Keith & Chrisi's was superb as was their company, and breakfast with Jesse, Ben & the boys a delight during which i kept watching the clock trying not to face the fact that time with you was now down to just hours. i so so miss you Jaq.
     My 3 girls here know what has developed from our short time together and are all very happy for us both. How it will all pan out is what i find intriguing but as Bev says "a relationship has to start somewhere and don`t let the miles get in the way." Well i have an idea it will be a happy ending after overcoming a few obstacles but i don`t give in easily to the potholes and bumps that life throws my way so if you feel comfortable join me on the ride to happiness.
     Joanne is very intrigued and excited about your being a witch so why not surprise her with an E mail about your views on the religious side and everything else, in fact `lock stock and smoking broomstick`. Believe me she is very interested and has mentioned Pagan & Wicca--all beyond me. i just love you (i said it) for yourself, Jaqueline Almdale, lovely, warm human being.
     J won`t you miss your little people when you live on the canals, of course you will; why am i asking; so another expense will be our/your trips home. Still a best selling authoress will naturally travel 1st class.
     It`s now 11.30pm so having managed to stay awake longer tonight perhaps the jet lag is wearing off although i confess to having a shower half way through this e mail so that i can get this off to you for when you arrive home.
Going to give in to the sleepy head that is getting the better of me now.
LES xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Oh! Sitting in the evening warmth of my butter yellow office, sipping my tea, I am stunned by his revelations. He said he loves me! And more to the point Les had feelings of attraction for me throughout the week we spent together but he put his concern for me before his own personal desires. There were many opportunities during our time together when he could have acted on them, but he chose to be a gentleman and think of me first.

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: This is i`m sure the start of something good
Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 5:52 PM (Wednesday, 1:52 AM in England)
     LOL! Ah the good ship Valerie….how I wish I were there with you.
     I appreciate that you were a gentleman Les. I’ve experienced men in many different situations and behaviors but I’ve seldom ever experienced them as a gentleman in their treatment of me. That you behaved so while being so thoughtful, kind, and considerate is what convinced me to take a chance and be honest about my feelings for you; because I believe I can trust you, and I am safe with you—my heart is safe with you.
     I’ve had to look out for myself all my life—literally. In order to survive my childhood I had to learn when to be absolutely still and unseen—and when to fight back. By the age of six I had to figure out very quickly how to be smarter than the adults around me in order to survive. I can be very tough—I’ve had to be. I always strive to treat others as I wish to be treated but very few ever see the soft interior of me without a thorough vetting.
     Consequently I have my own code for survival and living. Like you, I try to get on with folks, and some people one has just got to ignore, but I can be deadly to anyone who threatens my home, my family and my loved ones, or who threatens me physically. 
     Sparky says about me, “She may be little but you seriously piss her off by messing with her or her children and she will start at your ankles and work her way up. There won’t be much left when she’s done.” I have a VERY long fuse on my temper as a result because I know just how berserker I can be when my back is shoved to the wall and I have no room left with which to negotiate. I hate it when someone takes me there, so I work extra hard for length on that fuse.
     Our relationship began on the right foot—it has grown from friendship and I think that is crucial for a long lasting and true love. Chemistry waxes and wanes but real friendship—really liking someone—provides the best basis for love to grow with time. When we began emailing back and forth neither of us had any designs on the other—no reason to try and impress one another—we were real and authentic with each other.
     I’ve had the generous experience of getting to know you via our emails and your blog. I know who you are Les. I know you were your authentic self—and so do all of my friends who met you. It is the one thing most often remarked upon by all of them, who of course adore you because they know you too.
     And because you experienced a rich, loving, happy relationship with Val, you know what that is, and you understand the hard work involved in making a relationship live. You are the man you are in part because you were married to Val and I shall always be grateful to her. Always.
     My lips are yours for the taking when next we meet. And your arms are where I want to be.
     You are right about vacation time and weather. Had you left on Monday you would have been trapped at O’Hare airport in Chicago. They had 78 mile an hour winds, all flights were canceled for two days, and Minnesota is now experiencing severe tornadoes and thunderstorms that have closed regional airports across the upper Midwest.
     You saw how the weather changed as Saturday drew near. By Sunday night the temperatures dropped to the low 30’s with the daytime highs in the mid 40’s and roaring winds. The clouds were so low no sunlight escaped and it was as dark as night until nearly one o’clock on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday afternoon. It is truly as though your leaving flipped a switch on the weather. My friend Cheri says please come back and bring the sun with you. LOL!
     Bless Bev’s heart I love her to pieces already. I’m working towards doing everything in my power to come over next spring. Every fiber of my being wants to be there in England with you. I too am a very determined person and seldom give up...I’m glad we share this trait.
     Another reason it is good we were gentle and careful with each other is because it’s important you know I really want you and love you for yourself—not as a means of getting to England and living on a narrow boat. 
     There will be those who think I am an opportunistic American seeking to use you as an immigration scheme Les. I know you realize that my motivation comes from connecting with you deeply although we spent only 6.5 days together as friends.
     I find you totally fascinating, funny, intelligent, thoughtful, and completely real. And you really do like spending time with me and as I said, you “get” me. I could have settled many times long before now to have someone "take care" of me financially, or make life easier for me, or provide me with money and luxuries. Things aren’t important to me—people are.
     I take a bit of pride in knowing I’ve made my own way through this world. My life is a very humble one, but I could never be happy settling with someone who was less than what I thought I deserved or needed. I would rather be alone. I am just that stubborn.
     I had given up ever meeting anyone who was right for me or for whom I was a right fit. They say it is when we finally relinquish the need for something it will suddenly appear—when we are not looking for it and least expect it.
     I’ve lived alone since my divorce because I didn’t want to complicate my daughters’ childhood with a step-father. My step parents were horrible, and I didn’t trust I could choose a good man when I was younger because I didn’t really know any good men...
     I’ve dated sporadically throughout that time but I have not been intimate with anyone since my divorce in 1985 for other sexuality was stolen from me in my childhood and shaped by the adult who took it from me...I have to figure out what my desire is shaped like for me—but it’s impossible to do without the right partner. Because you were a gentleman when you could have been otherwise, I know I can trust you with the most intimate part of me and I can always be real with you.
     I also need you to know that while I have some baggage from my past—which is to be expected with anyone who survives a terribly abusive childhood--I don’t put my baggage out to trip people up with and I am relentless about working on my personal issues in order to gain peace and a healthy spirit.
     I made my decision at age nine not to be like the people who were raising me. I believed if I behaved like them then they won. I chose consciously to be different in spite of who they were. My motto is “I refuse to let other people’s behavior dictate my own.”
     You just need to know that I am a complex person Les—I experience the world very intensely and I am a deeply thoughtful person. I hope all of this has not scared you off or made you have second thoughts but if it has I need to know.
     You really did see the real me too. I delight in taking care of those I love because they are precious to me. I love to cook for them, and keep house, sew, paint, sing, dance, make things grow, sit in silence, and delight in every small miracle that I am privileged to witness every day. I love learning new things, and considering what, how, and why about things.
     Good humor is something I prize highly. I dearly love to laugh; perhaps because I was nineteen years old before I remember hearing my mother laugh. As a result I didn’t think I had a sense of humor at all. Jesse and Sparkala have put the lie to that idea. They think it is especially good that when I’m totally exhausted I become goofy and funny instead of cranky and mean. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
     I like that you are a man comfortable in your own skin, and in your movement through the world. I adore that you believe it is okay to be genuine—as you are--and that your behavior comes from that authentic place. Do you know how truly rare that is in this world?
     I will miss my family dearly, but I will email and Skype them, and send them cards in the mail. I will blog so we can stay in touch, and yes, I will get used to flying across the pond to visit them.
     It means a great deal to me that you believe in my talent and my ability to write—because writing is like breathing for me Les. I have to do it. My truest voice is my written word.
     Because I am holding you in my thoughts and my heart, you travel with me throughout my day and all that I do.
Love Jaq

From: les biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: This is i`m sure the start of something good
Date: Wed 10/27/2010 4:16 AM (8:16 PM in America)
Jaqueline my darling,
     In the middle of un-packing i opened my e mail knowing you would have replied. This is just a quick reply to thank you for your honesty and to assure you i am not in any way put off by your baggage. Together we will work around any problems either of us has.
     Jaqueline i love you just as you are so don`t worry about anything; together we will climb above any mountain that tries to block our way. It`s hard to explain but i just know we are right for each other. i will e mail again real soon but felt you needed a quick reply.
All my love is for you alone.


  1. Is there a reason why the posts are dated Oct 2010?

  2. Jon,
    This story began back in November of 2009 and I am telling it from the beginning, in retrospect. Les came to visit me the first time in October of 2010 and after he returned to England we discovered we had fallen in love with one another.

  3. What a lovely story! Keep it up, I can't wait to find out what you are doing now! Have you been to England yet?

    Narrowboat Lucky Duck

  4. OOhhh..Ok Jackie, I now understand.
    Congratulations to you both and have a great life together.
    Remember, get Les to bring you across to Ireland too, wonderful place.
    Good luck from the Emerald Isle,

    Donegal, NW Ireland

  5. P.S if you've not already seen it, please go to Pippin's blog, as John has a message for you! I can attest that he is a thoroughly decent, kind bloke and that his request is innocent! He just has some bizarre issue with his computer that means he can't post comments. If you go to my blog the email address is in a link at the top of the page under Welcome.

    And I would also like to echo his offer of hospitality. You and Dear Sir are welcome to visit the Duck in Cambridge any time!

    Narrowboat Lucky Duck

  6. Jon,
    Thank you for your good wishes! Ireland is a place I'd love to visit so I'll definitely ask Les about a trip over at some point when we are both settled together in England. My paternal grandmother's father was a Dublin man. I'm glad you are following along on our adventure!

  7. Amy,
    Thank you! I am only four months behind the rest of our story at this point and hoping to catch up soon! I will be leaving the North American continent for the very first time on May 21st to visit Les and his family and stay on the NB Valerie for three weeks. Happy to have you along on our adventure!

  8. Hi Deb!
    Thank you, but I cannot take all the credit...Les gives Englishmen a VERY good reputation! His romantic streak is lovely and I am thrilled to be the recipient of such love.

  9. Thanks Amy,
    Will do. And thank you for the invite! It will be lovely meeting you and James, and Jackie and John in person. We look forward to it.
    Jaqueline and LesXX
    P.S. Now I must pinch myself because we have been invited to Cambridge!! :)

  10. I can`t wait for the next chapter,
    Did he come back to the states?
    Did he find those lips?
    Did Joop become an aphrodisiac?
    Does Wee man still like him?
    Is the guest room obselete?
    Ooooh! i got so involved in it all i completely forgot who i am.

  11. Hi Jacqueline,
    Thanks for your lovely comment on our blog - our first
    international reader! We hope the spring reaches you soon, too.
    Chris and Simone

  12. LOL! Yes, yes, yes, no, yes!
    All my love,

  13. Hi Jaqueline I linked to your blog from Amy on Lucky Duck. Puts internet dating on a whole new level!

    I can attest to the fact that it is possible to solo boat as a woman - even on rivers. Although sometimes mooring up to a wall above your head as a solo boater is not easy.

    However it looks as if you will not be solo boating anyway!

  14. Hi Kath!
    Welcome to our adventure. That's still really good to know women can solo boat successfully on the canals. Are you a solo boater?

    You are correct--I will be part of a lovely duet-something unthinkable to me when I started investigating narrow boats and English canals. I've been alone for so many years I really did assume I would always be living alone, and I've never let that stop me from achieving my goals.

    Now I feel double lucky--to be able to live my dream and share it with Les. I can attest to the power of the Internet in linking lives and love!

  15. Hi Jaqueline

    Yes I am predominantly a solo boater because a) I am self employed and can work on the boat apart from Fridays when I have to actually go to someones premises to work. This is a bit of a bind as I have to not only boat alone but cycle back to get the car etc. b) my dearly beloved is still working five days a week and is more interested in motorbikes. However the front deck is designed for his bike so he can meet me load the bike travel with me then unload again and go home. Works in theory - we are still making notes about suitable "getting bike from road onto towpath and onto boat" locations.

    I designed my own boat and in the end had to become project manager (I am officially a boat builder for the next 20 years!) You can link to me from Maffi or Bones if you want to see the build from start to finish. I had a lot of fun for two years designing it using excel spreadsheets. Amazing what you can draw using excel!

    I look forward to meeting you when you finally make it over here. (Maybe you should design a butty to be towed behind Les's boat for when you both need some space!)