In May 2010 I lived in Scotland and I had just finished my PGDE at Strathclyde University and I had almost three months before I would take up my first teaching post.
I was single (and had been for 7 years). I had tried internet dating with little success had almost resigned myself to the fact I was going to be single for ever more.
But a strange set of coincidences actually led to me meeting my future husband at a comedy gig in London, and what followed was, not exactly a whirlwind romance, but it certainly progressed more quickly than either of us ever imagined.
Back in the late-noughties I went to a lot of comedy gigs. I followed Tim Minchin round the country. I went to the Edinburgh Festival and saw 30 shows in two weeks. I saw Alan Carr and Jon Richardson in a tiny room above a pub in Islington, and I made friends with a comedian called Michael Legge who had a successful career on ‘the circuit’ and a podcast called Precious Little listened to by me and a bunch of my friends.
This was in the early days of Twitter, when people actually spoke to each other, and it was easy to find and make friends with like minded people. So when Michael announced he was doing a preview of his first Edinburgh show at a pub in London, I decided to take a trip down to go and see it.
At the same time, somewhere outside Manchester, a guy called Barry was also listening to the podcast and somehow accidentally won a ticket to the preview show too. So he did what all sensible people do and decided to spend a couple of hundred quid on a train and a hotel so he could use a free £7 ticket to a comedy gig!
So there we both were. Barry and I at a comedy gig in a tiny room above a pub. Danny Wallace was there too but that’s largely irrelevant to the story.
We watched the comedy, we drank some booze, and we hung out after in the pub. If I’m perfectly honest I didn’t pay much attention to Barry. But when the pub shut we realised we’d missed the last tube and we were both staying in hotels which were in vaguely the same direction.
So we walked for nearly hour from Highbury to Kings Cross. And we talked and talked – it turned out we were almost the same age, we went to the same university (although not at the same time) and basically had a lot in common. When we got near our hotels we went our separate ways but that wasn’t the end. It was only the beginning.
Over the next few weeks we talked on Twitter, then our conversations moved from public to private DMs. Then we started chatting on MSN Messenger (remember that?). I just found it so easier to talk to him and we got to know each other more and more.
Then I went to America for 3 weeks and while I was away we started emailing each other every day. Because of the time difference I would email Barry at night, ready for him to open when he got up in the morning and he did the opposite for me. As well as the emails we even managed to have a couple of chats on Skype too (voice only though, no video).
We arranged to meet up when I got home and I was really starting to fall for him. There was one small hiccup though – I couldn’t actually remember what he looked like! I hadn’t paid much attention in the pub, and for the time we were walking and chatting I was walking next to him, not looking at him, and the only thing I could remember was that he was tall!
Anyway, I came home from America and went straight to the Latitude festival. And while I was there I told Barry that I loved him. Even though I had only ever met him once and that had been two months earlier!
Not long after that we met up in Manchester and the rest, as they say, is history.
That was July 2010, we spent 6 months traveling backwards and forwards between Manchester and Scotland most weekends. Then Barry got a job in Edinburgh and moved into my flat. In April 2011 he proposed. In July that year we bought our first house together and in April 2012 we got married. By October of that year I was pregnant, Toby arrived in July 2013 and his brother came two years and one month later.
So the way I met my husband was mainly due to a series of coincidences and that date back in May 2010 will stick with me for a long time. It was the day I met my future husband.