I’d first met Jess speed dating at a bar in York, and was surprised when we actually reached another date. I remember the second occasion very well because we had a few bottles of the Moroccan Syrah: Tandem, which had a nice picture on the label of two people on a tandem, with a large palm tree in the background.
Inevitably, the medium-bodied red wine had relaxed us both, and our conversation became much freer and eventually hysterical. It was at that specific point I realised just how long it had been since I’d shared that kind of laughter with another person.
‘I’d love to visit Morocco’ she’d said.
‘I’ve never been to Africa; India yes, but that’s a completely different ball game.’
At that time neither of us were thinking seriously about travelling – Jess was engrossed in her work at the University, and I didn’t have enough for a plane ticket. Still, it was good to dream of exotic souks and uninterrupted desert landscapes; and while the wine still flowed there was always hope of further intimacy – to put it politely.
Our relationship developed quite quickly after that, and there always seemed to be plenty of alcohol around, and we didn’t listen much to any health-related messages coming from our esteemed Government. We were just a fairly young couple wanting to live life to the full, and falling in love at the same time.