How did we come to be (part one)

Well, John and I actually met some twenty five years ago. We were attracted to one another and had a snog after much eye contact, in a very well known and notorious gay bar in West London, the Coleherne in Earls Court. Thinking back to those days now, they seem a world away from where we are today! The bar did boast a multitude of gay celebrities that frequented it over the years, not necessarily at the same time of course. To name a few that I am aware of, not necessarily in chronological order, Kenny Everett, Mark Almond, John Paul Gaultier, Michael Barrymore, I even saw Evan Davis from newsnight in there one afternoon. There were many more, even the long term suffering boyfriend of Freddy Mercury spent his latter days at the bar! Finally, I can’t forget the notorious serial killer, Colin Ireland frequented the bar, not so long before John and I met there. Those certainly were interesting days. Moving on, after that first stolen kiss, that was it for a couple of years. We later met up in 1995 and decided to become an item. Three years later we moved into our first home together in Hammersmith. Now that was almost twenty years ago to the day. A few years passed, as they do. We were both working very hard, having started our two separate businesses. The hankering for the patter of tiny paws was brought up! We would have gone for it, but it was just before Christmas and my sister in law Louisa brought us one of those Disney soft toys and gave it to us. The present came with this advice ‘you guys are so busy, dogs are a responsibility, almost as much as children, are you sure you can manage a needy puppy as well as cope with the day to day stress of running your own businesses’? Of course she was right. So the soft toy took on the name already chosen for our spotty puppy, Remus. Now don’t laugh, but we didn’t just put the soft toy in the cupboard, come on, we had named him after all. The Disney toy called Remus came to bed with us each and every night. Well this was a practical reality that we could live with. But the thought of a real dog, to start our family remained and in 2008 we travelled out to Fittleworth in West Sussex, to a breeder of Dalmatians named Mrs Bennet and we chose our puppy. He was one of two boy puppies from a litter of twelve. Well there we have it, After officially being a couple for thirteen years at that point, we had finally become a family. There is a significant story here about Remus’s early years, though I’ll leave that for another time. But will conclude that just like the soft toy Dalmatian, Remus ultimately managed to gain access to the bed and the bigger he got, the more we were pushed to the sides. Now Gracie, our second Dalmatian came along three years later. She was not acquired through a breeder, rather gifted to us as ‘pick of the litter’ after Remus had joined a dog studding website and started bringing in a small wage for himself. We called the puppy Gracie as that was the name of the mother. By calling her the mother’s name there would be no emotional attachments, well we had to call her something while we looked to find a new home for her. And look and look I did. But to no avail. John always said that I didn’t look hard enough as I secretly wanted to keep her. Well in my favour, I did try to rehouse her but it wasn’t to be. So she became part of our slowly expanding family. That’s all for now, part two tomorrow folks.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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