Damon and Graham, Croatia 2016

Blind date: 25 years later

Who says blind dates don’t work? Damon and I are in Carcassonne this weekend celebrating our 25th anniversary – and we first met on a blind date.

A photograph of a group at a party was what led to my finding the love of my life.

It was January 1995 and my boss was sharing some pictures taken at her birthday party a week earlier. “Who’s that?” I asked, pointing to a stylish young chap in a striped waistcoat.

“That’s Damon,” she said. She paused before adding, “You’d like him.”

(I don’t have the picture she showed me but I do have one of Damon in the waistcoat, taken a few months later…)

Damon and Graham 1995

Later that morning, my boss emerged from her office triumphantly – and passed me a Post-It note with Damon’s number on it.

“I’ve told him all about you,” she faux-whispered. “He’s expecting your call.”

We met soon after… and then again a few days later.

Now, here we are 25 years on. A lot has changed in the meantime – including us both – but, I’m pleased to say, that we’ve changed and grown together.

We moved in together in September that year and bought a place together a year later. Then, in 2000, we moved from London to Brighton and lived there happily for many years.

Along the way, in 2007, we had a civil partnership ceremony (the gay equivalent of a wedding at the time). Here we are outside the venue, the Pavilion in Brighton, on our big day.

Damon and Graham, civil partnership 2007

In 2011, we visited south-west France in mid-winter and fell in love with the place. Slowly, we began to conceive of a future there, turning our passion for cheese and wine into a business.

It started as a bit of a daydream. Then, after the disastrous Brexit vote in 2016, we began to wonder if we would still be able to do it at all.

A chance job advert proved a turning point. It offered a role at one of the world’s largest holiday reservation websites, based in Lille.

I knew straight away that Damon would get the job – and that this would be the start of our life in France.

And so it transpired.

Now we live in France and are on the cusp of flowing our dream by opening a cheese-and-wine bar in one of the country’s most beautiful villages.

This weekend, though, we are in Carcassonne. It’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to come.

We’ve treated ourselves to a stay in the five-star Hôtel de la Cité Carcassonne. The restaurant has a Michelin-starred restaurant and we’ve booked a table for tomorrow evening, our actual anniversary.

Today, we’re off exploring the city – and, ahem, possibly trying a glass or two of the local wines. If you get a chance, please raise a glass with us.

This entry was published on Sat, 25 Jan 2020 at 09:20. It’s filed under Places and people and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

31 thoughts on “Blind date: 25 years later

  1. Congratulations to you both and have a fabulous time in Carcasonne, such a beautiful city especially out of season as its much quieter.
    Kev and i celebrated our 23rd anniversary last summer, so a little behind you guys.
    We too are living the dream in South West France near Albi.
    All the best for the next 25 years.
    px

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have a wonderful time! Are you wearing…your waistcoats! …take care ..and Bon vacance!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, quite the journey! Happy anniversary and long live romance!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulation! We’ll toast 🥂you tonight! I can highly recommend the tradition of Michelin-starred anniversary excursions. We’ve been doing it since 2014 when we first moved to SW France. The last one, nº42, took us to gorgeous Bilbao in December.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your bit of happy history made me smile. Tomorrow my guests and i will raise a glass to your anniversary (and my -not 25th!- birthday).
    Have a wonderful time and be more than happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eduardo Lopez on said:

    Congratulations! My best wishes of hapiness for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Best if luck indeed

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary. I hope you enjoyed your trip – it’s a beautiful city. Wishing you many more happy years.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy Anniversary. I hope you have a marvellous day and a fantastic meal to celebrate. May you have many happy and healthy years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Many congratulations to you both. Enjoy your anniversary dinner. Hope someday to meet you both at your wine and cheese bar. Our own adventure starts next summer when my daughter takes her girls (now 7 and 10) to France for 7 months to attend school there. I’ll be going to visit at least once for a month or so. She goes over in a few weeks to find the perfect city to live in for that time. Exciting times.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a happy story and happy smiles – which put a smile on my face too. Congrats and many good wishes on the silver anniversary, the waistcoats, the memories and the adventures to come in Belves. Enjoy your special weekend. Corsets….!!? The mind boggles ;-))

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations to both of you!!! Scotty and I hope that Carcassonne has lived up to expectations. And we love the pictures Jx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Christi Carlisto on said:

    Congratulations! Best wishes for many more!
    I’m curious about your project in Belves. My husband’s and I looked at homes in the town last year and strongly considered but a house on the square.It was the house that had a shop in the front that was a bakery.Is that your house? The Dordogne, especially this are is stunningly beautiful! Good luck! I can’t wait to come have some wine!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congratulations to you both! You will have to give a little review of Carcassonne, it’s on our travel list for a future visit to France. Happy Anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Félicitations! What a fabulous post and I can’t think of a better place to celebrate. I am biased, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

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