…I was taking a bath when Pete popped his head around the door to check on me.
I wasn’t having a mini-breakdown, I wasn’t ill, I wasn’t upset (all suitable reasons for having a bath).
He was checking that I hadn’t fainted and slipped below the water.
His concern was well-founded. I wasn’t drinking but I have low blood pressure and a love of hot baths.
The two don’t always mix.
I have a history of fainting in the bath. Or at least when I go to get out of the bath. On more than one occasion Pete has found me draped over the side of an empty tub passed out.
This is the reason to get married isn’t it, really? To have someone find you when you end up sprawled out on the floor. Either from sickness or a too-hot bath. Someone to call the ambulance or, at the very least, get you up off the floor in the toilet and into bed. Someone to ensure you don’t choke on your own vomit after a night of heavy drinking.
Never mind all that lovey dovey stuff. Getting married means someone will find the body.
Another perk of marriage, I find, is having someone to watch your luggage in the airport so you can run to the toilet without having to drag it all with you so as not to sound the ‘left luggage’ alarm.
This is not a modern aspect of marriage. I was privy to a preview of the National Maritime Museum’s new Caird library/archive. One of the items I was privileged to handle was a journal by one Alfred Withers documenting his ‘honeymoon’ journey from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1854.
The journal was finished in 1857 complete with beautiful hand-drawings. The journal begins with a description of the ‘immense quantity of luggage, pyramids of boxes, cases and baskets.’
It seems Alfred and his wife Maggie missed the first boarding of the ship and had to wait four hours in the rain for the next boarding. He includes a sketch of his wife sitting, covered in blankets, with the luggage. While he ran about trying to figure out what the hell was taking so long, I presume.
On the flip side, the archives also pulled out an item illustrating a potential downside of marriage. Going under together. Not just finding the body, but ensuring you don’t go into that dark night alone.
You may have heard of the Costa Concordia and it’s capsizing. This particular archive item told the story of the 1782 loss of the Royal George in harbour. The boat was in port receiving repairs and family members of the crew were on board visiting when the ship suddenly capsized and sank. 900 souls were lost, 360 of which were wives and children.
It is a bit heartless of me to call it a downside, isn’t it. I’m not making light of the lives lost in the Concordia incident. Pete and I were discussing the Concordia and its initial evacuation procedure of ‘women and children first’ and the passengers refusal to part ways with family members. We whole-heartedly agreed. Of course, we were discussing this while walking to a movie and not on the deck of a sinking cruise ship, but I think the outcome would be the same.
I do hope we never have to make such a decision outside of the hypothetical.
All joking aside, knowing Pete is looking out for me, in the bath, airport or sinking vessel, is one of the perks of being married. The fact that Pete repeatedly finds me in ridiculous situations in the bath just makes it all the more fun for him.
With that, I will wish you a glorious weekend. This weekend our little corner of London officially becomes a Royal Borough. The bunting is hung, the street signs replaced and firework displays are scheduled for the next three nights. A very disciplined and dignified time will be had by all.
*The images presented here were taken with permission by the National Maritime Museum. Please do not copy, ‘pin,’ or reproduce. The Caird Library is the largest Maritime collection in the world and open to the public with a membership. Anyone can join, just visit the Library website and follow directions to create an aeon account.