Although I have only been married to my current husband for a little over two years, I have known him a long time.
We were students together at Bristol University back in the eighties, where he lived on the floor below mine in the first year Halls of Residence. There was never any romantic interaction between us (with the exception of a half hearted attempt to plant a drunken kiss on my equally drunken lips after my 19th birthday celebrations - a kiss which I expertly deflected with a sharp turn of my groggy head) but we had a special connection.
He was a guest at my first wedding.
He bought me a wedding present from my list - a galvanised steel dustbin. Inside was a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne.
We lost touch for many years. I went about being a wife and then a mother while he sailed the Atlantic finding work in exotic locations and eventually settling in the Caribbean where he ran a successful business, married and became a father.
I never forgot him. I often wondered where he was, what he was doing and if remembered me.
With the introduction of wheelie bins in the late eighties, my galvanised steel dustbin became redundant. I could not bring myself to part with it. It was too strongly attached to a happy memory, not of my wedding itself, but of my tall, bearded, gangly friend arriving late and looking like a dustbin man in a suit!
Over the years, my special dustbin accompanied me on many house moves and performed many different 'containment' tasks including storing chicken food during a brief period of chicken keeping.
When my dustbin giving friend and I found each other again and fell in love at the turn of the millennium, he was quite surprised to see that I had kept his wedding gift to me - this small connection to him that had silently witnessed my journey through motherhood, depression and divorce.
The dustbin is part of our life together now as husband and wife and has continued to prove its usefulness. When we used it to collect moss that we were raking from our lawn, our little girl could not resist the temptation to climb in and make herself a cosy nest in the soft springy green stuff. I did what I always do since starting this blog - I got my camera.
As she made herself comfortable in the battered old bin, it was hard not to think of that brand new, shiny, un-dented dustbin from some thirty years previously with its bottle of Moet hidden inside.
My husband has said that he loved me then and never stopped loving me. I feel so blessed that we are together now and the love we have for each other can flourish. We have shared many bottles of champagne since our reunion.
He also told me, as we watched our daughter's dustbin games (with our son supplying her with more moss), that if he had been granted a glimpse into this future back when he presented me with my unusual wedding gift... a future in which the dustbin he carried would hold our beautiful, mischievous child... he would have been a very happy man.