There are several beautiful, rousing quotes about love and marriage.
Take Martin Luther King’s, ‘Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave’. Which, I can’t help but think, is slightly hopeful, especially when they’re having a row about whose turn it is to wash out the empty yoghurt pots and take them to the blue recycling bin.
As quotes go, I think I prefer Billy Connolly’s observation that ‘marriage is a wonderful invention, but then again so is a bicycle repair kit’.
I am writing about marriage because mine has finally happened.
Mrs Canavan and I tied the knot the other Saturday in a country pub near Clitheroe (chosen because it was dirt cheap and had Boddingtons on tap).
I’d like to say it was all hugely romantic and the best day of my life. And, as the in-laws read this, then of course it was.
But, in truth, it felt like a big family party, just with everyone dressed a bit posher.
I found the whole day very odd, not least the bit where you exchange vows.
These are meant to be the most powerful and hugely significant words you will ever say, about how you will love and cherish, for richer for poorer, and to always be faithful and true.
Yet all you’re concentrating on is repeating what the registrar says without stuttering.
You don’t take in the gravity and seriousness of what you’ve just uttered until much later, by which stage it’s too late to back out.
We had all the usual wedding things – vastly overpriced food, a DJ who thought he was a local radio star, an uncle dancing terribly – but despite my usual cynicism about these types of occasions, I must admit it was nice to look around the room and see everyone you know, from all walks of life, gathered at the same moment, for you.
Well, nice for about 30 seconds, then the DJ played Agadoo.
I had to do a speech at one point, which gave me the opportunity to recall how Mrs Canavan and I met.
It’s quite a slushy, romantic tale, so forgive me for recounting it here, but we met in a bar in Blackpool.
I remember seeing this beautiful face on the other side of the room and feeling my heart jump.
Before that moment, I’d never believed in love at first sight. I’d thought it a pathetic cliche.
But it happened.
This woman, to my eyes, was stunning and even now, nine years on, I can recall everything about her; pale, delicate skin, the way her hair flowed over her shoulders, the curve of her body. She was absolutely perfect, the most lovely thing I had ever seen.
And, sat just to the left of this girl, was Mrs Canavan.
I went over and asked the beautiful woman to dance, obviously. She said no, so as an afterthought I asked Mrs Canavan if she fancied a drink.
Fortunately she wasn’t as picky as her mate and, hey presto, now we’re married.
A beautiful story I’m sure you’ll agree.
Since the wedding, friends have been asking if married life is any different and of course the answer is yes it is – we are about £12,000 worse off.
We could have travelled the world with that money, redecorated the house, bought a central midfielder for Blackpool FC, but instead we squandered it on a buffet.
Mrs Canavan seems quite pleased that our relationship is now legally official, especially the ‘what’s mine is yours’ part.
At the risk of doing her a disservice, this could be something to do with the fact that she now gets her hands on my three saving accounts, lovingly accrued over many years, whereas her contribution to the partnership is an eye-wateringly hefty student loan she’s yet to pay off.
I’ll let you know how married life goes.
In the meantime, a final favourite quote on the matter, courtesy of Woody Allen on why his marriage didn’t work. ‘Basically, she was immature,” Allen said. ‘I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.’
Desmond put a right old dampener on it
Our honeymoon was, there is no doubt, a splendid success.
Mrs Canavan had wanted to go to Mauritius, Goa or the Bahamas. I argued, on the grounds of finance, that it would be much better, and just as lovely, to have a few nights in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
Incredibly, for the first and possibly last time as a married man, I got my way.
I must admit it slightly backfired, mainly thanks to some chap called Storm Desmond.
If I said the weather was dreadful, I’d be looking on the bright side. Between Sunday and Friday there was one seven-minute spell (I counted it) where it didn’t rain – and this was in the middle of the night, so we couldn’t really take advantage.
When it rains so much, of course, finding things to do becomes quite difficult.
One day we were so desperate that we visited a cheese factory.
Here we sat in a small room, with one other couple in their late 80s, and listened to a man in white overalls tell us about the history of cheese.
“The earliest ever discovered preserved cheese was found in the Taklamakan Desert in China and dates back as early as 1615 BC,” he said, while fondling a chunk of Wensleydale.
I glanced at Mrs Canavan. She was staring at me with a look some way beyond hatred.
I treated her to a three-course meal on the final evening in an attempt to make up for it, though even this went wrong when she got violent diaorrhea from a prawn.
They say all marriages will be tested at some point, though it doesn’t normally happen in the first week.