To celebrate this auspicious occasion (and because her therapist has suggested that it is healthy to allow others to have input in her blog...) I (the long suffering husband) have been granted VERY temporary administration rights to this site. I am sure the password will be changed in a few minutes, so I'd best write my post quickly...
In the 12 years I have known and been in love with my wife, I have always been in awe of her artistic talents and abilities.
We met when we were both teaching in a school in London. I was a geography/IT teacher. She was the Australian import who was given whatever classes no one else wanted.
Our first date was at the Tate Modern. Believe it or not, I suggested the location (admittedly a brazen attempt to impress her with my broad knowledge of all things arty). As the day went on, we went for lunch in a pub in London, and stayed to watch a football game (proper football: round ball). She assured me that it was ok, that she "liked football". I guess we both told little lies that day...
Since then, we've moved to Australia, got married, had a little boy (whose artwork, I believe also graces this blog) and seen some emotional highs and lows. Not once has her steadfast belief in the solid family unit and the importance of talking, sharing and working things out wavered. Philippa, you have taught me to appreciate, talk, think, express myself and know when to just listen. It has taken 12 years, but I think that's more to do with the idiot student, rather than the teacher.
Our houses have always been full of art. Not the "traditional" art: landscapes, busts and ducks on the wall, but stuff that comes from her heart. We've had pottery, macrame, West Germans, crochet, tea pots, various IKEA bits and bobs, art deco, plates, bowls, cacti and books, magazines and other paraphernalia on all of the above. Despite my dislike for "knick knacks" on every shelf and vacant space, I must admit, she does seem to make it look quite good.
I recall several times we've been to house inspections, and she'll say "we'll put x over there and y in that corner". All I see is a blank wall and a frustrated real estate agent. For the life of me, I cannot picture stuff that isn't actually there. That's why my role in the house includes picking up cat poo, and she's in charge of decorating...
And so there's this whole blogging, macrame and online stuff. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of Philippa for the professional, intelligent and proactive way that she's gone about this whole part of her life. The whole tech angle has never come naturally to her, she was a late entrant to the world of smartphones, never really saw the appeal of blogs and wikis and certainly wouldn't be checking her iPad for new mail EVERY morning over the first cup of tea! So whilst I love that she has an engaging, productive and (hopefully!) profitable enterprise, I also want to thank you, the guys and gals that support her through this, share your stories, lives and interests with her and give such loving and positive feedback to the artworks that she spends hours and hours creating and leaves the living room full of little bits of string and thread.
I can assure you that every ouch flower original comes with a small piece of Philippa's soul.
Thanks for reading, it'll probably be another 12 months before I'm allowed to darken the iMac keyboard again..