When Pete Met Sam (and Santos, Melly and Belle!) With Valentine’s day just around the corner I thought it was the right time to introduce you all to the new man in my life, especially
When Pete Met Sam (and Santos, Melly and Belle!)
With Valentine’s day just around the corner I thought it was the right time to introduce you all to the new man in my life, especially as many of you will have met him at pet shows over the past year. Life is never boring at Tigga Towers HQ and certainly my life is not dull by any means. After a catalyst of life changing events between 2016 and 2017, closely followed by three house moves, Pete rocked into my world at just the right time.
Let’s start from the beginning; online dating. You must bear in mind that I grew up in a world where if when you went out and met a guy you would hand over your phone number and then wait for that all important phone call (on a phone with a cord may I add). Thus, it took a lot of convincing from several friends and hearing about positive online dating experiences, to make me think twice about online dating. In fact, it was thanks to my sister, Lizanne and good friends, Nikki and Louisa that I signed up to a few dating apps. I blame them for everything.
It took me a year to build up the courage up to start using the apps properly. It also took me some time to set my profile up and I quickly learnt that the profile picture I chose of me peeking out from behind a cat tower (with a cat on it), was not the best choice. We are all guilty of stereotyping people according to what we see and that is what people did. As soon as my profile went live the ‘pussy’ jokes came pouring in, plus a lot more other remarks that I dare not repeat on here.
My first experience on the dating apps provided Lizanne, Nikki and Louisa with much amusement over cocktails one evening. They took over my phone (big mistake) and commented on every face that appeared on the app they had downloaded called ‘Bumble’. Unbeknownst to my best friend who had vetted potential suitors on another dating app, ‘Zoosk’, she had managed to swipe off the entire list of potential suitors except for one, Pete. Little did she know I was already talking to him!
Pete was one of the first people on this app that I had spoken to. The ensuing conversation and connection between us was strangely instant compared to the other conversations I was having. It all started with him politely saying the following: “Hi VG a bit too far away but good luck!!”. Me being oh so polite, thanked him and made a passing comment about it being a minefield or something to that effect. We both look back and wonder how fate managed to get us talking after that, but we did and over the coming days we spent hours chatting on the app. Somehow, I had managed not to put him off and a date was arranged. Knowing my background in sports, he decided to surprise me and sent instructions for the first date simply asking me to dress casual and warm.
The meeting point for our first date was Platform 8, left luggage at Victoria station (no I was NOT the left luggage). I was a bundle of nerves, excitement and anticipation. Of course, I had arranged a person as back-up so that I had someone to call if for one moment I felt unsure or needed to quickly escape. As I walked around the corner, with just one photo to use to recognise him, I was met by a cheeky, smiling and confident man. It may be a cliché but he was even better looking (in my eyes) than his photo. He was also the perfect gentleman, as our eyes met he leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek saying, “Lovely to meet you!” or words to that effect! My heart was racing as he grabbed my hand and he simply said, “Come on, follow me!” Now, I always associate the smell of his aftershave with when I first met him. He wore not too much but just enough to make me catch my breath.
On the tube, we found that the conversation between us flowed but almost far too easily as we managed to miss four different stops on the tube, so the circle line literally became the circle line for us that day. When we finally arrived at the venue I was still in the dark about what we were doing and all I could see was a large neon sign which read, ‘Swingers’. Bearing in mind that I was technically meeting a stranger, at that point I started to think that the ‘Find Friends’ app currently linked to Josie’s mobile might come into play a lot quicker than I had expected. I had pre-warned him that I have family and friends in the police just in case he was thinking about any ‘funny business’ but he had totally respected my worries. Once we reached the neon sign Pete joked, “Have you got your car keys? Ever been swinging before?” My mind started to panic and I was beginning to think that I had read him very wrong. As we approached the venue, I cast my eyes over a board and the joke was on me. I soon realised that Swingers was an indoor crazy golf centre with a bar!
Once we stepped foot into the centre, the time seemed to pass in a flash. We talked, laughed and joked as we made our way around the nine holes. The two members of staff were not busy and quickly found out that it was our first date. The competitiveness stepped up a notch as the staff followed us around the course providing us with lots of tips and jokes. Who won in the end? Me, of course! When we finished playing and after a drink, we both agreed that we did not want to end the date and went on to have some dinner. By the end of the date it was safe to say that we had hit it off and yes, we arranged a second date!
Fast forward a month on and I had finally plucked up the courage to talk about Tigga Towers. Initially, I had wanted whoever came into my life, if I was lucky enough to meet someone, to know me as Sam, not ‘Sam at Tigga Towers’ or ‘Mad Cat Woman’ etc. He took it well so I knew that the next step was to invite him down to meet my Mum and my cats! Funnily enough, these first meetings coincided with Tigga Towers’ big Warehouse Sale which he had kindly offered to help at but little did he know about the scale of our warehouse sale!
The first meeting with mum went well but then again, he did arrive with flowers and chocolates so surely, he could not fail. I believe I muttered the words “smooth operator”. The meeting with the cats however, was going to be a different matter. After all, it had just been me and the cats for nearly two years and suddenly someone else was around. I will never forget showing him around my house and finding all three of my Maine Coons stretched out on the bed glaring at him as we walked into my bedroom – if looks could kill! However, Pete took it in his stride and wandered over to make a complete fuss of all three of them. I am not sure if meeting mum or the cats was more important to me that day, but it was a tick for both.
The big question on everyone’s minds is probably how each of my three babies have dealt with the new man in my life! I have to say, extremely well. It helps that Pete loves animals and has owned both cats and dogs over the years. However, he had never met a Maine Coon before and he says it was their size and personalities that hit him first. Belle was a total tart and if you were to ask him, I suspect she is his favourite. She now greets him at the door and loves a belly rub. Santos adores him and if he can get in between us on the sofa, he will. He has this knack of suddenly appearing and then curling up so that Pete has no other choice than to put his arm around him. Woe betide the girls if Santos thinks they are getting attention and he is not. Melly however, has taken the longest to adapt but she is less trusting. After some time, she now loves to wrap herself around his legs. She is a princess and knows it, so Pete treats her as such.
Once Pete had met the gang and handled the Warehouse Sale well, the final hurdle was to see if he was game for a cat show! He seemed to be up for it and took it in his stride. His current job involves working with people in sales so he was perfect for the job. He chatted away to everyone and fitted in like an old friend with the team.
Now, our customers and friends are getting to know him and he is learning about the cat world very quickly. Having a man in my life again has involved adapting as I am so independent but then the same could be said for Pete. He is also a father to three fabulous boys who are almost grown up now. Both of us were at stages in our lives that somehow brought us together. I still say someone was looking down on us – perhaps it was my father and his mother, whom we both lost two weeks apart in 2016 to cancer.
Whilst life is never simple we realise there will be complications along the way, as there are in any relationship. It is almost impossible to meet someone without ‘baggage’. Somehow, we crashed into each other at the right time and we both value what we have found. Life experience has taught us to value the good things when they come along and never take anything for granted. I know without a doubt I have someone in my life whom I love and I look forward to the next chapter together in our lives.