Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The B word

Until this evening it had been a quiet few days on the sites, which has suited me as my focus is currently on Johnie who has been texting daily and telephoning each evening when we speak for 30-45 minutes.  I find him very open, quite serious and, I imagine, very lonely since his 2nd wife, of just two years, has left him and they are divorcing.  I suspect she was financially motivated and I think probably deep down he thinks the same, and it must be a huge blow to his ego, confidence and bank balance.

We've had some quite serious conversations and have exchanged photos of our homes.  We do have very similar tastes and colour schemes, both of us choosing to live in homes which have character and history.  His is a large converted barn; mine a draughty old baronial pad, but I love it, just as he loves his - some 300+ miles apart

He has mentioned his holiday to Barbados in March which he booked a year ago (to reserve the First Class seats) while still married, and which he is undecided about cancelling or going alone.  Apparently when he last went out to his home in Florida alone, he was so lonely, he enticed his daughter and sister-in-law to fly out to join him by paying them to travel First Class.  He is obviously a very generous man, and possibly easily taken advantage of, if wife #2 is anything to go by.

Back to the B word.  Not bi***es, but Barbados.  He has spoken about his holiday at length and says he regularly goes to Barbados and knows the country well.  At the moment, while waiting for his divorce to finalise, he feels he needs some winter sun but doesn't want to spend 15 nights in a villa alone.  Understandably.  But neither does he want to lose the cost of two first class seats with Virgin Airlines which are apparently nonrefundable.

During Monday's phone call he jokingly said if I wanted a holiday in Barbados, to let him know.  How I laughed!

This evening he mentioned it again and I said I really hoped he wouldn't have to cancel and I was sure there was still time to find someone....

After our call, he texted to say that he is loving our telephone conversations and finds me very easy to talk to and "is Barbados in your mind at all?"

I replied that it was and I had even checked my diary to see if I am free during the dates he mentioned and I find that I am, but that a luxury holiday like that was out of my budget, especially at short notice, so I was resisting the temptation to offer to step in

He came back with "the cost really wouldn't be that much as obviously the first class seats are all paid for, so maybe chipping in a small amount towards the cost of a villa would be the only cost??"

So I've asked to sleep on it and we will discuss when he phones again tomorrow.  We both agree that we need to meet first, and I have offered to drive half way to the Lake District to meet him, to save him the cost of flights, hiring a car and a hotel.

I think I probably need to do this as there are too many people I need to send postcards to from a sunny, sandy beach in Barbados.  Q, the Galloping Major and Christmas Elf are at the top of my list

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A mixed day of messages

Today I am feeling like Sally.

Johnie telephoned again today, after texting to ask if we could speak again.  We spoke to 46 minutes.

He told more about his home and sent the photos he had promised to send yesterday.  There were 5 in total, a photo of his home gymnasium, his luxury car, his large stone converted barn home, his garden and his billiard room.

In return, I sent him one of my Christmas tree ....

He spoke at great length about his 2 year marriage which has just ended and I asked how he met this wife, who was his second, hoping he would tell me they had been introduced by friends.  Unfortunately not.  He met her on the same dating site, and said he was under some pressure from her to marry.

He is also stressing about two first class seats he has booked with Virgin to the Barbados in March after discovering he cannot get a refund.  He apparently booked them over a year ago while still married, and now finds himself with a luxury holiday booked and paid for and no-one to go with.

He asked if I had ever been to the Barbados and, while flicking through my diary to check if I was available for those 15 days in March, I said no, but I would like to 😛

When I replied to his text attaching the photos of his home, I said I hoped he wouldn't have to cancel his holiday as a lot could happen between now and March.  He hasn't replied.

But Q has.  A text at 9.15pm this evening which took me by surprise, saying:

"A week since we met and apologies for not being the gentleman I think I am.  I found our afternoon together was so good, and despite the parallels and coincidences of thought and action I feel there is little chemistry between us. I truly hope things work our for both of us.  Lovely to have met you.  Q X"

I am unsure how much chemistry a 65 year old man can detect in three hours of frog-marching a slightly younger, and more able bodied female around a damp field in the middle of January, looking at shapes of metal , so I am deferring any reply.

I am torn between responding with

a) "I totally understand Q.  I usually go for younger, taller, fitter blokes anyway" or
b) "No worries Q.  I guessed when you accepted my offer to split the bill.

Perhaps I should hold off replying altogether, and message from Barbados......

Saturday, 20 January 2018

I'm Diana, fly me

Smallbouy, Onlysemisenile (79years) and autumn shades (who in his profile photo looks to have half a dozen sticking plasters on one side of his face.  He was either unlucky when shaving, or he has the sun shining on him through venetian blinds) have viewed me.  As have Redrum, podge and someone calling himself solumflacid....WTF?!

Johnie has actually messaged me twice and because he is a premium member, I am able to reply to his messages, without renewing my membership.  He lives in Cumbria but doesn't think the distance is a problem because he likes my profile and photos....

And Q has been online every day this week so far, but hasn't viewed me since Monday.... Stuff you, Q.

Johnie is still messaging and offering to send me his phone number and also some photos.  Of his long barn conversion in the Lake District.  Phew!  He's also said he is due to go to the Barbados in March but is having second thoughts about going alone.  Oh dear.....

Someone using only numbers as his user name sent a brief oneliner saying I could be his perfect match.  When I went on the site to reply 2 hours after receiving the message, there was a notification saying "this member has chosen to hide his profile" Bizarre!

Johnie has come back with another message telling me about his day and giving me his landline number.  He's asked me to phone him as soon as possible.

So I did.  We spoke for about 20 minutes and he told me of his two marriages, the 2nd was a mistake apparently, was very short and he will soon be extricated from it.  Meantime he is unhappy living in a very large converted barn, and having to fly first class to and from his home in Florida five times a year on his own.  He thinks from my profile that we would be very well suited.

He's checked the distance between Cumbria and my home and reckons it is a 300 mile drive by car and will take three trains if he comes by rail.

Silly me, suggested it was probably quicker and easier to fly and a few hours later I received an email via the site telling me he has investigated flights, and there is one from his local airport to my local airport, and if I can suggest some local hotels, he will hire a car and drive to see me.  Eeeek!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

To pay or not to pay

And it has all gone very quiet on the site......

I can see that Q looked at my profile on the site again on Monday, yet he hasn't replied to my text, acknowledging his brief one on Sunday thanking me for a nice afternoon.

Fearing that this was yet another case of 'mismatched chemistry' to quote the Christmas elf after I'd rumbled him for double dating, I went back on the site to update my profile and to add a new photo, which was when I noticed Q had viewed me again - a day after what I thought had been a perfect date.

There is an additional feature on the site where friends can give a recommendation so I have asked my safe friend who has given such excellent advice on my wardrobe, styling and star alignment if she would write me a recommendation and she has kindly agreed.  I don't think I can do any more except sit tight and wait patiently either for the next bite of interest on the site, or for Q to re-emerge from his cave.

My subscription on the site, quite coincidentally, expired yesterday and I haven't renewed it.  Along with the new photo and updated profile text, and now the bonus of a very generous recommendation from said friend, I went a step further and changed my username too.   Because 50 Shades of Grey is sooooo last year 😛   The profile will now have to do its stuff without me throwing any more money at it.

Talking of the cost of dating.   I once joined a local introduction agency which was a very amateurish operation.  I had to visit their offices in a grotty part of town where the lady behind the desk opened a filing cabinet and took out a camera to photograph me with, and a scruffy folder with A4 sheets of paper containing a photograph of the male members, and their biography, which she admitted in some cases she had had to write for the members.  She gave me the folder to flick through and I was allowed to choose 3, who she would then email with my details.   It was so long ago that I cannot remember prices, but I think I had to pay between £10 and £20 for each introduction.  The woman also organised occasional supper parties and I took my sister-in-law along to one of the meals at a local Chinese restaurant.  My sister-in-law found it quite an education! 

The Christmas party was something else altogether and I went alone, although I was supposed to meet the date I had paid £20 to the agency for to be my escort for the evening.  I arrived at the hotel where the black tie gala dinner was taking place and was greeted by my date for the evening who was wearing jeans and a black dinner jacket.  He was nothing like his profile photo, and greeted me with the words "I've got a room upstairs and need to go up to brush my teeth.  Wanna come up with me?"  I politely declined saying I'd find the cloakroom to leave my coat and freshen up.

He did do me the honour of sitting next to me for the first two courses of the meal but by the dessert course he was sitting on the lap of the woman opposite who had been giving me the evil eye throughout the meal.  Friendly bunch!  I left after coffee, and never returned to the agency.

But 10 years have passed since that ghastly experience and as a result of a pop-up appearing on Facebook about this time last year, I did contact an elite London introduction agency who pounced on my interest with great enthusiasm, telling me of their vast portfolio of eligible gentlemen, and guaranteeing they could find me a suitable partner, using their reputation and discretion.

Such is my belief that there is someone out there for each of us, and while I'm on the dating sites for all the right reasons, internet sites are probably the wrong place for me, I agreed to meet the agency owner in London for a no-obligation interview.

I travelled by train and made my way to a well-known hotel in Kensington, following the instructions I had received, and with the mobile number to hand that I'd been given.  After waiting in the hotel lobby for 15 minutes and wondering if I was in the right place, I rang the number of the lady with the rather grand sounding double-barrelled surname to let her know that I had arrived.  She answered saying her train had been delayed but she had arrived and was now in Boots at the railway station buying a few bits and pieces and would be with me in 5 minutes.  Very professional!

Finally, a lady in her late 60's arrived, dragging a black cabin bag on wheels behind her, which had her notebook in.  She kindly bought me a pot of tea from the swanky bar in the hotel, and herself a large bottle of sparkling water.  At least I think it was water.

She told me her numerous success stories, and also that she occasionally had to turn people away as they weren't suitable clientele for her, in fact she had turned away two gentlemen the previous day.  Damn!

She went on to say, with very little discussion with me, that she could tell that I was someone she would happily accept, but only on the condition that I agreed to accept introductions to her gentlemen in the 70+ year age bracket.  Apparently I need to accept that it is the older men who are looking for younger women of my age group.

Then came the second bombshell.  Their cheapest package, which was the only one I was very reluctantly prepared to pay, was being discontinued and the next one up was several thousand pounds more expensive.  She was quite sure she could find me a suitable match at this new, inflated price.

I was on the next train back home and ignored all the subsequent emails having saved myself a lot of money, but for my train and taxi fares.

So I'm back to reading my Kindle books of dating tips and insights into the 10 things every woman needs to know about men... Did I mention what uncomplicated creatures they are??

Sunday, 14 January 2018

When the stars align...

I am back from my date with Q, having only broken one of the rules because I exceeded the finite first date time limit of one to one and a half hours.  We actually spent 3 hours together and had to be kicked out of the tea shop, half an hour after their closing time.

We had, you see, had a really lovely time at the outdoor sculpture park.  The sun shone so I didn't need to wear a baseball hat or beanie to prevent my hair from frizzing, we had a private tour of the art gallery on site, a tour which is usually by appointment only, but when Q was having an indepth conversation with one of guides, we were offered a private viewing, which we accepted.

Walking around the grounds, I felt Q's hand in the small of my back, gently guiding me to the next sculpture and rather than give him a slight tap, I found myself thinking, 'this is rather nice', but a short while later he actually asked if he could take my hand as he felt we were somewhat disconnected.  I had no objection to having my hand held since he'd asked so nicely, and we continued our walk around the sculptures while he shared with me his knowledge of art and architecture while asking me what I saw in the different works of art.  Gulp!

As we walked back to our cars, he noticed the owner of the beautiful country house (which was not open to the public) walking across the garden after collecting eggs from her chickens.  He recognised her as the gallery owner who he had met some 10 years earlier, so he stopped to speak with her, addressing her by her Christian name.  They engaged in some wonderful conversation about the architecture of the house and parkland and when he dropped my hand in order to shake hers, I slipped my gloved hand back into his afterwards and he seemed pleased that I had done so.

With no refreshments on site, I suggested driving on to the next town which was a 15 minute drive away and as I had satnav in my car but he didn't, he followed me, and for a change I was leading...

I managed to find us two parking spaces one behind the other in the quaint market town, right outside a little Italian deli serving local Italian wines.  Since we are both eating healthily, instead of tea and cake we ordered a sharing platter of Italian meats and cheeses, with a glass of wine for him, and a warming pot of tea for me.

We talked continuously and discovered even more parallels in our lives.  He has a daughter with the same unusual name as mine; we've both been married for 23 years and each had two significant relationships since.

He allowed me to split the bill which took away any sense of guilt on my part, or worse still, that I was in his debt, and I was able to explain my 50/50 policy, while not wanting to offend him, which he accepted.

It really was a lovely day.  Perfect weather, perfect location for an unusual but interesting first date, perfect company, perfect little tea room.

We each had a drive of approximately an hour in opposite directions, so as I kissed him goodbye and wished him a safe journey home, I said I hoped we could keep in touch.  I also mentioned that a friend had said she hoped the stars would be aligned, at which point I saw his eyes begin to roll...... so I waffled about it having been a perfect day. But I think I blew it in that one single comment.

A couple of hours later, and without any prompting, I received a text from him simply saying:
'Back home, thank you for a lovely afternoon'.....................