What makes for a good marriage?

Here’s one suggestion: it helps if the partners don’t both panic at the same time. And Rosemary and I got to test that very early on.

Almost at the beginning, in fact.

We’d already developed something a little more than simple friendship, so I wasn’t too surprised when she asked if I could help drive a minibus to the next White Company event, at Kidwelly Castle.

I wanted to help. And I certainly wanted to make a good impression. But I had to admit that, as a relatively new driver, I was not very confident about driving in London. Especially as I’d never driven anything bigger than a Metro…

So we agreed a compromise. Rosemary would drive the first leg of the journey, out of London. And I’d take the final stretch up the motorway to Kidwelly.

Unbeknownst to me, it was a fateful decision.

When the day came we were all in our 15th-century clothes, ready for action the minute we arrived. As agreed, I drove the final stretch up to the castle – where I found myself in demand almost immediately. Within 20 minutes I was playing music for dancing in the courtyard. And it became a lengthy session.

Until Rosemary appeared and asked me for the keys to the bus.

Which, to my horror, I didn’t have…

One problem with 15th-century clothes is that they don’t have pockets. And – as a complete newbie – I hadn’t yet acquired the necessary panoply of bits and pieces that any seasoned re-enactor takes for granted. Like, for example, a purse…

Meaning that the keys could be literally anywhere.

So. We had a locked minibus (fortunately with all kit removed) in a town with a reputation for light fingers (they’d been filming Robin of Sherwood there, and noticed props having a mysterious tendency to wander away…) What would happen if someone else found the keys?  And how would we get home if we didn’t find them?

Plans and counter plans evolved at lightning speed. The van had RAC cover so we gave them a call, and our man soon arrived. He took the locked van as a personal challenge – he’d get in no matter what. But we still needed keys. And not just for the ignition but for the fuel tank as well…

And that was when Rosemary and I discovered that we panic out of phase. Because as soon as one of us developed the screaming hab-dabs, the other would start to focus on a new Cunning Plan…

Remarkably, our RAC man found a way to unlock the van. Even more remarkably we found someone able to cut new keys once he’d done so. (They needed a serial number only accessible from inside the bus.) I still felt like a twit, but we had at least sorted the problem. Allan, let me introduce you to a very large drink…

And then the original keys turned up. I’d dropped them, unsurprisingly, in the first tent I’d visited, and they’d got kicked under a rug.

Several drinks later we were both very happy, and as relaxed as a pair of newts. With zero inhibitions. At which point it became abundantly clear that – despite my determined attempt to make a complete idiot of myself – the attraction between us was decidedly mutual.

We liked each other. We liked each other a lot, in every possible way. And we definitely made a good team.

One way and another, it looked like a good basis for a long term relationship…