Saturday, April 23, 2022


I have gradually put online a few memoirs of the relationships I have had over the years.  Below may however be the longest such memoir so far.  I kept detailed diary notes of my experiences with Geraldine at the time and below is an extensive extract from those notes.

From my earliest days, I assumed that I would one day meet a highly compatible lady, fall in love, marry her and live happily with her for the rest of my life. It's a common dream but has remained a dream for me in my 78 years so far. 

Along the way, however, I met many fine women whom I spent a lot of time with. They were very good years but none of the relationships proved permanent. I married four times in search of my ideal but after the fourth marriage broke up, I decided simply to accept what came my way. And much did.

I met Geraldine in 1999 when she was 51.  She replied to an advertisement of mine earlier on in February and we got on rather well over the phone but she cancelled two arrangements for a meeting on that occasion.  So she seemed a skittish woman from the outset.  I did however know that she liked Bach so that was a big advantage from my musically-obsessed point of view.  

We remained in some touch so we eventually got together in person in October.  I arranged to meet her at a pavement cafe ("La Dolce Vita") at the foot of Brisbane's mini Eiffel tower in Park Rd., Milton.  

After I made the appointment I realized, however, that I had a problem.  JHM and I were booked to go to a concert that same evening and it was one of the UQ Music Department's "Twilight" concerts -- starting at 6pm.  And to drive to the concert, get parked and walk to the venue all takes time.  So how was I going to fit in both the 4:30pm meeting with Geraldine  and the 6pm engagements?  

I mentioned the problem to JHM.   She suggested the only possible solution.  She would meet me at the Eiffel tower after I had time for my talk with Geraldine and we could proceed from there to the concert.  

So we did just that. I met Geraldine at 4.30pm at the Eiffel tower and sat talking with her there until JHM arrived at 5.15pm to collect me.  So poor Geraldine had the surely bemusing experience of sitting at a table talking to a prospective boyfriend only to have the man's beautiful ex-girlfriend roll up to collect him from her!  

I did explain in advance to Geraldine what my arrangements were so she did not seem put out and when I rang her after the concert (from JHM's place!) and asked her out to another concert on Sunday.  She accepted!  I thought she had a lot of heart in the circumstances.  What I did was certainly not the ideal way to win a fair lady, I would think.  But I did eventually win her.

Geraldine was a Primary School teacher when I met her --  5'5" tall, with an education degree and a diploma. She was at the time aged 51, had steady blue eyes, a slim waist, a nice figure and short brown hair.  She was rather more wrinkled than one would expect at her age -- probably because of her outdoorsy lifestyle and the fact that she was once a smoker.  

She was a very keen bushwalker -- in part, no doubt, because of the endorphins she got out of it.  She was even big on solo bushwalks.  

She was quiet to the point of taciturnity but as I am generally reserved too, I understood that.  She was also a good example for the saying that one should not judge a book by its cover:  Although seeming like a quiet little mouse, she was no mouse in the bedroom.  I liked that!  

Her husband was an accountant with OCD tendencies who had left her for another woman when she was 35.  He had however provided for her and her three children fairly well (giving her quite a lot of money every month) and given her the very pleasant matrimonial home in Brisbane's generally salubrious Western suburbs.

Anyway, I took her to the concert at the Customs House at lunchtime on 31 October 1999 and things went quite well between us. We went for a walk in the Botanical Gardens afterwards and talked a lot.  We had some lunch there at the kiosk and an NCOT at her pleasant Western suburbs house afterwards. She got my strange (very weak) tea right first time!  A clever woman.  I told her that I took my tea at Chinese strength and that is how she made it.  

She said afterwards that she would cook dinner for me on the Sunday but on Sunday morning she rang up and cancelled it.  On the Tuesday after that we had a phone conversation in which she announced that she did not want to see me any more.  Asked why, she said: "Because I feel a slut".  I tried to tell her that there was nothing to be concerned about but I could not persuade her.  There were of course other things about me that were bothering her as well but I had little idea of what they were at the time.  

I wrote her a letter afterwards  but that did no good either.  It was a pity because she seemed to have the basics of what I wanted -- a good mind, a liking for Bach, and a good figure.  She was however much quieter and more reserved than any woman I had ever met before.

Later in the year I sent her a Xmas card with a version of my usual Xmas letter in it.  In the letter I mentioned that an old girlfriend and I had got back together.  I mentioned that the lady had a higher degree in the social sciences and a great figure.

A naive person might think that a paragraph such as that would really hammer the nails into the coffin of any hopes I had for Geraldine.  It did the opposite, of course. Why?  Because: It confirmed that I was desirable, that I did not need her and that I would not be waiting around for her indefinitely.  It confirmed that breakups were not final for me, it showed that problems can take a while to sort out, that I am willing to work on problems for the sake of a relationship and that I was still thinking of her even while I was with another desirable woman.  It also took away any pressure from her to leap into a relationship with me straight away.  I intended it to generate jealousy and it did.

So she emailed me with congratulations on my new relationship and an invitation to join her on a Sunday drive up to Montville (an arty-crafty place), which I did.  She brought a picnic lunch with her and we had a nice day's outing, with lots of matters discussed.  From that point on it was clear that she had mostly overcome her reservations and was prepared to develop a relationship with me.

Christmas 1999 was something of a watershed in our relationship.  Geraldine had a custom of going for a week with her children every Christmas over to Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay for a relaxed time and to commune with nature. I went over to join her the Tuesday before Xmas and also on Boxing day.  We greatly enjoyed rambling about together looking at the scenery, swimming etc and also, of course, bedroom activities.  We both developed a marked increase in involvement on those two days.  

As I left after our Boxing Day meeting, she put two "Minties" in my pocket.  What a fine Australian girl!  Such a simple kind gesture so evocative of our shared ethnic Australian culture did endear her to me.  It was what a loving Australian mother might have done for one of her sons going off on a trip.

The relationship between us developed rapidly after that.  New Year's eve (the "Millennial" new year), on 31.12.1999 was particularly memorable. I felt that the occasion was certainly far more fun than a 56-year old deserved, despite being (unbelievably, I suppose) non-alcoholic.  I did abandon my teetotalling long enough to open a 30 year old bottle of "Arealva" Portuguese red wine that was left over from my drinking days but it was (surprise, surprise) off.  So I went back to lemon squash at that stage. 

I was well on the way to monogamy with Geraldine at that stage but had not quite got there.  I was still in transition from the previous girlfriend. It did however give me the most interesting New Year's eve I had had.  Quite Millennial:  

Our next day, the first day of the new millennium, was memorable too.  Geraldine arrived at my place at Forest St at 12.30pm equipped with picnic things.  We drove to the Moreton Bay foreshore at Wynnum and had our picnic lunch under a shady tree on the Esplanade there whilst enjoying the view out to sea.  The bright blue sky, the sand and mudflats in the foreground, the green sea in the middleground and the dark blue Bay islands in the distance made a pleasant scene, withlots of birdlife, some sailboats etc. as well.  We then went for a long ramble along the  foreshore.

We spent the rest of the afternon at her place talking and listening to CDs of Albinoni and other classical composers played on the computer she has in her bedroom.  Geraldine then made us some very good spaghetti for dinner.  We then drove up to the top of Brisbane's very own Mt Coot-tha equipped with a Thermos and drank our tea whilst enjoying the always pleasing spectacle of the multitudinous and many coloured lights of the city of Brisbane spread out all around below us and into the far distance.  

When we arrived back at Geraldine's place, we found that she had not taken her house keys with her.  So I had the unexpected excitement of climbing up on the roof and through a bedroom window to get us in.  Around 11pm, we had some
chocolates to eat and I then went home in a tired state.  We had two trips to scenic spots, two meals, several cups of tea, one swim and a roof excursion all in one day.  Active but very enjoyable!

Shortly thereafter she had a pre-booked walking trip to NZ, during which we corresponded

A little over a week after she got back, however, we broke up!  Her adult sons did not approve of her new relationship so that put pressure on her as she had devoted her life to them after her marriage breakup when she was 35 (she married at 22). 
I did get her back again after only 4 days apart but a week later she broke it off again.  After that breakup (the third), however, I decided that I would be foolish to attempt a full-time relationship with her again.  

Thinking about it at that time, it seemed to me that the major problem between us really was that Geraldine found the relationship with me to be very intense and just did not have the emotional energy to cope with it on a full-time basis. That did not seem likely to change but it seemed possible that we could still see one another on a part-time basis as long as we had both come to accept that developing it beyond that would be too ambitious.  

I certainly accepted that.  Even seeing one-another once a week would however seem to be a pretty good thing and could be an arrangement that would be stable over time.  That, after all, is how it was with JHM and me at the time.  Not that any two relationships are ever the same.  But whatever we did, I saw it as very important to have full disclosure to one-another of our thoughts about it.  I think we gave one-another unnecessary grief before that because of our tendency to hope for the best rather than work together on doubts and problems.  
Shortly after Geraldine and I had built up to seeing one-another four nights a week I stopped seeing other women and began a monogamous relationship with her.  She was really the only one I wanted to be with by that time, despite other lubricious opportunities. It still surprises me a little, however, that I was so romantic about her.  The other women around for me at the time were pretty good catches. In short, I passed over 4 remarkably attractive and intelligent women for a quiet little mouse!  Rather amazing. I just liked Geraldine's mind better.

Her skittishness however did not go away.  We continued to have lots of breakups and reunions and I eventually got tired of that and took up with another lady.  We were together in all for about two years.  We parted finally on 14th April, 2002.

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