I posted multiple parts to Facebook in the run up to our 25th wedding anniversary in 2022 and thought it was time to save it onto my blog.
I won Angela Hang Fong’s heart in the summer of 1987.
On first sight, across a pub called the Ivy House, she told her friend she was going to marry me when she started her nurse training up in Sunderland. We wrote to each other whilst at Birmingham Uni and met back up again after my return.
Her friend came back from travelling the world and ended up in Bournemouth Hospital too, not knowing we were here. She looked down at Angela’s name badge and said, you bloody did marry him!
35 years since we met and 25th wedding anniversary this year. See you on the beach in on Friday August 26th for a picnic and fireworks .
She said it was always meant to be and kept that candle burning until we finally did hook up. Always her number 1.
I know she has loved me from day 1, and even from day -1, but that’s another story.
(Part 1 - ships that didn't pass in the night)
This is probably my saddest ever diary entry from 1988 and serves as a reminder to us all to seize the day and live our lives to the full.
Yes, Angela and I met at the Ivy House pub in Sunderland back in ’87 (that whole I’m going to marry him at first sight story that she loves telling everyone) and we wrote to each other during ‘88 but I moved student digs in the summer, she kept writing to the old address at Birmingham Uni. This was before mobile phones and Facebook !!! I was hoping to just bump back into her in Sunderland, just like that.
Studies, work and life got in the way. She even applied for a job at the hospital by Birmingham Uni and our paths didn’t cross then.
It took a few more years until ‘92, but we got there in the end when she gave her details to my karate instructor Frank G Miller. She kept that candle burning for me. Sorry I was delayed, thank you for waiting. Men are a bit slow but as she says, it was always meant to be
It’s OK to reflect not dwell on the past, but even better looking to the next 25 years of marriage.
#sentimental #fate #meanttobe
(Part 2 - a long distance relationship to contend with)
Ah, another trip down memory lane with Angela Hang Fong . This is the nurses home, well was, in Leicester.
We started off seeing each other in Sunderland but she moved away to Leicester after about 9 months for family reasons. We did make the long distance relationship work .
She wasn’t going to let go of me this time, no, no, no!
One ring on the payphone in the stairwell meant it was me. I would then ring back and hopefully she would pick up. Her bedroom was right by the front door too, which was handy to listen out for our secret code. Yeah, no mobile phones for us yet.
Holiday breaks to the Lake District, Scotland and Skegness kept things going until she moved back to Sunderland.
Then……… I moved to Bournemouth . That’s the next instalment….
(Part 3 - The story continues down to Bournemouth...)
This little beauty chased me down to Bournemouth . Soon after she moved back up to Sunderland from Leicester to be near me, within months I dropped a bomb as I decided on a move to a new job in Bournemouth. (We did discuss it beforehand, I wasn’t that brutal )
Angela would follow me in two months down to the beach in 1996. This whirlwind romance meant within 3 years we had started, moved apart and then moved in together, into a cosy flat in Westbourne.
When she decided I was the one , there was no escaping . Nothing would get in the way this time round.
Moving down to sunny Bournemouth was the second best decision I’ve ever made. Moving in together with Angela was the best.
The start of a brand new chapter in our lives.
(Part 4 - Ring ring…)
It seemed that moving away and moving in together down in Bournemouth was so natural to Angela. I must have ticked all the right boxes and who am I to argue.
Within a few months we knew that we ended up in a great place. The sunny weather and beaches certainly helped. We both started at new work places (4-Sight) (Bournemouth Hospital) and made friends for life and now making friends with an ever increasing bunch of loveable mofoes around where we live .
It’s a different world isn’t it, coming home to and waking up with your soulmate every day.
I could hear Angela’s mind ticking . How could I resist? It all seemed right . We did face some challenges from the start , but when she knows, she knows .
I asked her to marry me in ‘96 and she said…….. YES, within 0.25 micro seconds.
Well, that’s one more step closer to her prediction from 1987 . #ivyhouse #loveatfirstsight #engagement
We’ve moved from one ring, on the telephone at the nurses home, to one engagement ring on her hand.
(C) Mills and Boom
(Part 5 - Pre-wedding banquet, wedding banquet...)
Chinese weddings are a different kind of affair. We don’t get much say really. The parents sort it all out and it’s more about the parents showing off.
Both sets of parents hold a banquet for their family and friends circle. We kinda turn up and fumble our way through. Shake hands with people that we only see at weddings but supposed to remember the family tree structure to every branch. We just nod and smile .
Angela’s parents held their banquet in Leicester the week before our actual wedding day. A hot day at Man Ho Restaurant, booked out for our bash.
A lot of red and a lot of noise.
After that we ended up going to a rock nightclub in the centre of Leicester, totally inappropriately dressed for that kind of place, as explained by the bouncer, who let us in anyway, as it was our “wedding day”. For the most part, we stood in front of a giant fan, hoping to cool off .
That ended off the first of many wonderful “wedding days” to come. All will become clear.
We are close, but not quite there yet. Be patient everyone. It’s took 10 years from 1987 when we first met and my fate was sealed to get here, although 4 from a running start in reality and Angela cracking the whip.
Another week or so won’t hurt… her wish will come true.
(C) Pills and Boom Publications 2022
(Part 6 - a thank you to those that introduced us together)
Penultimate instalment: How I met my wife (or how she met me)
Just a final recap, about the people involved. Doesn’t have to be too many seasons to this drama series, as opposed to the TV series How I Met Your Mother. You get to know in one post.
Pamela Das is in the middle of the top photo and Angela was out with her at the Ivy House pub ,Sunderland, in the summer of 1987. Ange looks across the bar to me and tells Pam that she will marry me one day. Pam knew someone in our group and then proceeded to bring Angela across to her surprise .
In the bottom photo is Frank, my karate instructor from Sunderland. A life mentor and one that has always given me a nudge.
After we met, we did write to each other whilst I was down at Birmingham University into 88 and she even threatened to visit me, but that letter went to the old flat and then life got in the way.
While I look upon the time in between as the Wilderness Years, especially when I returned to Sunderland and did my Masters degree 1990-91 and every lunchtime I would hope to bump into Angela again down town , I’ve come to accept as I write these posts, that we met at the right time in our life’s journey.
Although, I don’t know why I didn’t just ask for her number when I bumped into her at Finos nightclub in 1992. No mobile phones again!! She was on the dance floor as always. It was Angela that gave her number to Frank to pass on. I’m not used to asking women for their numbers.
There were ups and downs and other challenges in our first four years but it all came to this day. The day that Angela had predicted 10 years ago…
(Part 7 - Angela’s 1987 prediction finally comes true. She did marry me in the end.)
The actual wedding ceremony was held at Sunderland Civic Centre.
Before that though, there was the question of the family ritual from my mother’s side, that of a fishing village dance , although it was more like cosplay with the wooden oars and colourful clothes. Banging gongs on a South Shields street very early in the morning was a surprise , but hopefully a welcome surprise, to the neighbours.
Our tradition is, the groom goes to the house where the bride is staying to collect her, and there are some games and teasing that goes on at the front door before you are allowed to enter the house. There was a collective groan as I was let straight in after ringing the doorbell . The groom is supposed to be delayed for quite a while, for the entertainment of those that have come to support.
We did a short-form tea ceremony, presenting small cups of Chinese tea to the in-laws and also close friends/family of theirs in this instance. Job done and off to Sunderland.
It was literally 10 years since she saw me across the Ivy House pub in the summer of 1987 and told her friend Pam that she was going to marry me one day.
Then it was onto the wedding banquet. A feast of plenty : suckling pig , duck , scallops, lobster , abalone and the list went on to about 14 courses. There was even a special order of takeaway chicken curry for someone.
Me and Angela barely ate. We had to go round toasting 40 tables, 400 people over two floors and they had TV relaying what we were doing from downstairs.
We were starving so afterwards we went down to Newcastle Quayside for a steak and chips and drinks into the night with friends.
Wasn’t even finished that day as the next morning was go karting and evening after was a night time party for everyone else.
Then off to the Lake District for our honeymoon. I could hardly drive as my arms were stiff as hell from the karting. One night halfway through dinner, as our stay included gourmet dinners every night, I went upstairs to our room for a lie down just after the main course and fell asleep. Angela and the waiter saw the funny side as I came down in time for dessert.
We won’t dwell on the fact that the drive back down to Bournemouth as a newly married couple, as Mr and Mrs Fong, was the day a Princess Diana had a bit of an accident in a tunnel. The radio was a bit crap that journey and I didn’t have many tapes in the car!
Thank you Ange for saying yes to me, for choosing me, and here is to the next 25 years!
Hasn’t she looked amazing in all the photos?
Our on the line live silver wedding anniversary celebration will be happening on Friday 26th later this money. Follow the event - Angela and Gordon Silver Wedding Anniversary on the line video call
(C) Pills & Moon Publishing