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How we met: ‘My lasting reminiscence is of him scrubbing purple sick off the carpet’

Vivien Grey was 17 years previous when she reluctantly attended a Boxing Day drinks celebration together with her father in 1973. “I didn’t actually have a alternative about going. I used to be dragged alongside by my dad and mom and didn’t have anything to do,” she says. Whereas she was there, she was invited to a New Yr’s Eve celebration by Kelvin, the son of one in every of her dad’s colleagues. “I used to be at a women’ college so I used to be wanting ahead to the prospect of assembly some boys.”

The celebration was being held at Mike Wiles’ home, a superb good friend of Kelvin. “We used to take it in flip holding events at our dad and mom’ homes,” says Mike. “I used to be a very shy teenager.” When Viv arrived they exchanged pleasantries, however didn’t have a lot time to speak. “My lasting reminiscence is of him scrubbing purple sick off the carpet,” she laughs. “One in every of his mates had been ingesting Pernod and blackcurrant.”

Two weeks later, there was one other celebration. “This one was being held by the man who’d thrown up on the ground,” says Mike. “I plucked up the braveness to go to Debenhams the place Viv labored at her Saturday job within the report division.” In addition to shopping for Grave New World by the Strawbs, a report he nonetheless has to today, he additionally managed to ask whether or not she wish to be a part of him on the celebration. “I hadn’t had any girlfriends earlier than and thought she appeared very nice.”

Once they arrived on the celebration, Mike was apprehensive. “I confirmed my ineptitude by telling her that her jewelry appeared like an egg timer,” he says. However Viv was impressed with the purple wire that Mike’s mum had sewn into the underside of his trousers to make them extra flared. “I additionally seen his knees trembling when he was nervous.” Regardless of this, they talked and slow-danced all night. Mike walked her dwelling and requested if she wish to go on a second date to the native youth group.

Within the Lake District in 2020.

On the time, each have been busy learning for his or her A-levels, however they began seeing one another each weekend to go to events or the cinema. In 1974 they’d summer time jobs in the identical workplace of their dwelling city of Chelmsford, Essex, earlier than heading off to completely different elements of the UK. Mike moved to Leicester to check property administration at a polytechnic (now De Montfort College) whereas Viv went to coach as a home science instructor in Gloucestershire. “We visited one another, however he was by no means allowed to remain at my all-girl halls,” says Viv. Then Viv’s dad and mom determined to go to the US for a 12 months and requested if she needed to hitch them. “I couldn’t be distant from Mike so I made a decision to remain in school, and moved in with Mike and his dad and mom through the holidays.”

Viv and Mike obtained engaged in 1975, and married two years later after ending their research. The couple continued to stay with Mike’s dad and mom in Essex earlier than shopping for a spot of their very own a 12 months after their marriage ceremony. That they had three youngsters in 1980, 1981 and 1983 after which moved to Somerset in 1989. “Mike discovered a job as a bursar in a faculty and we’ve been right here ever since,” says Viv.

They share a ardour for stay music, and often go to native occasions, in addition to taking journeys to London. “We’ve seen the Rocky Horror Present about 10 occasions and we at all times gown up,” laughs Viv. “We additionally love strolling and take common journeys to the Lyme Regis seaside.”

Once they first met, Viv was impressed by her husband’s peak. “He was actually tall and a terrific listener, which is nice as a result of I like to natter.” She loves his data, his sense of journey and his open thoughts. “A number of years in the past I requested him if a younger Ukrainian teenager from college may come and stay with us when his mum may not afford boarding charges. Mike mentioned sure instantly and so he had a spot to remain whereas he completed learning.” Mike loves his spouse’s compassion. “I feel she’s attractive too, in fact. She’s additionally a terrific mum with good rules.” The couple have seven grandchildren, whom they see once they can. “We’ve grown up collectively and acknowledged the modifications,” says Mike. “We’ve had powerful occasions however we’ve at all times recognized we needed to be collectively.”

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