I've spoken about my german ladyfriend on here more than one once so I thought I'd post how we met.

Unusually my kiddies were with their mother one Saturday. Maybe it was her birthday or something. Either way I decided to nip into Liverpool.

I was in one of those shops up a back street that sells CD's and old vinyl records. I'm a big fan of Enigma (that's one of their songs at the bottom of this blog. So now you know what sort of music I like) There's this blonde girl standing next to me looking at gregorian chants so I said hello.

"Auch, hi" she says.

"Auch? That sounds german. Where are you from?"

"I am from beautiful Bavaria" she tells me.

We exchange a few words and then I leave. I'm building this model hemiola (a Mycenian era sailing ship) and I wanted some figures to put on the deck so I visited a few model shops. Then I went to the library to see if they had any good books to sell. Then off to the Walker art gallery. There's this painting in there which I think is absolutely brilliant. It's a ruined monastry in the moonlight. The picture of it is at the top of this blog. Apart from anything else there was going to be an exhibition of Dante Gabrielle Rossettis' work in a couple of months and I wanted to make sure I'd be able to get in without needing a ticket.

There's this same girl looking at the painting. I stood next to her. In our calf length black leather coats we must have looked like a pair of crows. Turns out she was looking for the Tate Modern art gallery and had been following signs to 'Art Gallery'. You can't describe to somebody how to get to the Tate from the Walker so I took her down there. We stopped for a coffee at an outside cafe since the weather was nice. I'm not going in the Tate Modern though. I like my paintings and sculptures to look like something and not just a pile of scrap metal. I scribbled my E-mail address on a bit of paper and gave it to her. She told me that was glad to have met me again. I didn't get the significance of the 'again' until about a year later.

The next morning I turn my PC on and there's an E-mail from Maria Anna. I responded of course. Mail followed mail and many 'phone calls. Turns out Maria is production manager for a major german electronics company. She'd spend one week in Bristol about once every four or five weeks and go home at weekends. That one weekend she'd got it into her head to go to Liverpool so she hired a car and drove up. That's when we met. The next time she was in England she came to visit me. And every time after that. We became very close.

I got it into my head to pop the question but, how do you do that? You can't just put an engagment ring into her champagne glass and then watch her choke to death because she'd not noticed it. The same for getting down on one knee in a restaurant and having some waiter with a flambe tripping over you and turning you into a ball of flame. Completely ruins the moment.

I had the perfect answer though. There'd been this article in the local newspaper asking for people to do charity parachute jumps. Get five grand together and off you go. I had enough contacts that I could gather ten grand. This would be perfect. We'd drift in absolute silence to the ground and I'd call my proposal over to her at 5,000 feet. Then we'd land and hug while cows stood around admiringly. What could possibly go wrong?

I spoke to the parachute chappie and he asked me if I'd ever done any parchute jumps before. I told him "More than you'll ever know about pal". He asked about Maria and I told him to just put her on a ripcord and push her out. I'm sure she'd be fine. Then I rang Maria and asked her if she'd like to jump out of a 'plane at 5,000 feet and she was alright with that. I admire a girl with some 'get up and go' in her.

I was out of shape though and wanted my tummy looking the way it should. Have you ever tried doing sit ups? Your legs go up and your body stays where it is. Put your feet under the sofa and you just end up with numb feet. I borrowed this frame thing from one of my neighbours that lets you do sit ups. After two days I got this shocking pain in my groin.

I calls Ian (my doctor) and he takes a look at me and tells me I've got a hernia. There's no potion for it so there's another eight inch scar and a piece of mylar holding my insides inside.

I'd had enough. I rang Maria up at about midnight my time and asked her if she'd marry me. She says "Yes, of course" and then put the 'phone down. Could have saved a lot of messing about there.

Well, for various reasons we needn't go into here the marriage couldn't go ahead. Now Maria Anna has passed on to meet her maker and I'm married to Lucija.

"So it goes" as Kurt Vonnegut would say.