A bit about us
Naomi and I have now been together for over 25 years, and married for 21 of those. I am a retired Police Sergeant in my 60's and Naomi, in her 50's, is now disabled but used to love working for the Social Services Care Pool providing respite care for special needs adults. We have spent most of our married life in and around Manchester but moved to Scotland when I retired and we now live in Newmilns in East Ayrshire, in the lovely Irvine Valley.
Naomi and I met in what was then a somewhat unusual way (fairly commonplace now). Back in the '80's and early '90's I ran a dial-up Bulletin Board called the Pigpen. The BBS was part of Fidonet. One of my interests was messaging in a number of 'echoes' (a bit like Usenet Newsgroups), one of which was the UK non-computer chat echo called 'Common Room'. In Common Room you could chat about anything you liked (science, religion, politics, current affairs etc) as long as it wasn't techie stuff to do with computers.
Knight in Shining Armour
I used to message a lot in Common Room, because I enjoyed the cut and thrust of the debates and the lively humour to be found there. One day, Naomi popped her head above the parapet and put a message in about some topic or other. It was obvious that she was new to messaging on echoes and when one of the local jokers (the legendary Paul Dickie) jumped down her throat (not because of what she was writing, but taking her to task about her grammar, spelling and syntax), I leapt to her defence like a proverbial knight in shining armour.
A few days later Naomi logged onto my Pigpen BBS and paged me for a chat and became a regular e-visitor to the BBS. At the time, Naomi was living in Halewood in Merseyside and unhappily married to someone she had met over CB Radio some years earlier.
A few months later she walked out and returned home to her parents in Scotland but that didn't work out either and she asked me if she could move in with me as a lodger. I said yes and she moved into my flat in Ramsbottom.
One thing led to another and in due course she got divorced from her former husband. Back then Fidonet Net 250 (North-West England) used to hold monthly face-to-face meets at the Barleycorn Pub in Didsbury, South Manchester. The devotees of the Common Room echo also used to meet up occasionally, normally in the South of England, and Naomi and I always made the effort to get to these meets. Some of the friends we made in those days have become life-long friends, even if we hardly ever see each other face-to-face these days. It was at a Net 250 meet that Naomi and I announced our engagement in 1994, and many of our Fidonet friends came to the wedding the next year.