I first met Gavin when myself and Jo went up to visit him and his family in Scotland one Easter. He was exceptionally welcoming straight away. I was a little overwhelmed by the fact that having only been out of the car for 5 seconds and having only exchanged around 5 words, I was then in his car on the way to pick up some drinks from the supermarket. Whilst I wasn’t nervous about meeting him, I wanted to make a good impression, and emerging from an eight hour car journey probably isn’t the best time to do so. Gavin was great, though. He’s one of the easiest people to get on with and one of the genuinely nicest people that I’ve ever met, and we started to bond instantly.
That first evening he tried to get me to have whiskey. I refused as there have been times when I've had whiskey and it has come straight back out again. He insisted I tried it. I had a sip and then passed it to Jo to finish. I have since got a bit better at drinking whiskey. I can now drink a shot of whiskey sip by sip in under an hour. As he hasn't been able to force whiskey upon me, he has gone for other drinks, mainly red wine which I have been fine with. I think this might be a family trait as Jo is always keen to make sure everyone has enough to drink, whether it is tea or something stronger.
Jo had told Gavin that I loved castles, so on my that visit to see him in, he took me to see four different castles in four days. It was possibly overloading but I loved it. I don't think he's taken me to see a castle on any subsequent visits though. I may need to have a word with him about this.
Some of my favourite times have involved going up to Scotland for Christmas with a whole bunch of board games and having drinks and playing games into the wee hours with Gavin and his friends. They have also been some of my least favourite times the morning after. We seem to take it in turns as to who will be the poorliest the following day.
This mainly started when me and Gavin played chess one time when Downton Abbey was on and we both wanted to be doing something else. I beat him twice. He has not asked me to play since. However, it did lead onto a conversation about other games and so the next time I visited, I came armed with a big bag of board games whist has led to me being known among the Borders folk as the Gamesmaster. It's either because I bring games, or due to my uncanny resemblance to Patrick Moore. I guess it could be both.
Whilst on the phone to Gavin one evening after we were engaged, he said that he assumed that I'd be wearing a kilt. I hadn't thought about it but he suggested that it would be a good idea as I'm marrying into a Scottish family. I said I'd consider it, as I do have Scottish ancestry myself, and my brother had considered wearing one for his wedding. I decided to run the idea past all my other groomsdudes, assuming that at least one of them would say no and I'd have a ready made excuse to back out of it. They all seemed to be really excited by the idea and I didn't feel like I could disappoint them by backing out, so my legs will be out on display next weekend.
Out of myself and Jo, I am very much the planner. I am perhaps excessively so. During wedding planning, there came a point when I was worried that if Gavin didn't get fitted up for his kilt, it might not arrive in time for the big day so I started to remind him on what may have been a weekly basis that he needed to go get fitted up.
On the phone to him one day, he told me that he wouldn't be able to get measured up until just before the wedding as the kilt shop was extremely booked up. This sent me into a mild panic, so I gave the phone back to Jo and went to make a cup of tea. He let me stew (pun definitely intended) about it for half an hour or so before he revealed that he had been winding me up.
I realised at that point that this sort of teasing is what big brothers do, and I really felt like part of the family.