"When are we going to be featured in one of your 'inspiration behind the story ' posts?" my lovely step-daughter, Emma, and her equally lovely husband, Phil, asked.
It was just after I'd told them that another one of their stories had been published in this week's People's Friend magazine.
They were quite right to ask, of course, as from the day they told us they were getting married they have provided me with a grand total of four stories... all of which have been published in The People's Friend.
The first story, 'These Foolish things' was about a wooden spoon. A very important wooden spoon, as it happens. From the day Emma and Phil moved in together, they have had monthly 'meetings' to discuss any niggles or things that have been bothering them. The great thing about this is that only the person holding the wooden spoon can speak. What a great idea! (You can tell Emma's a teacher).
On the day they got engaged, Phil presented Emma with a spoon on which he'd had engraved, 'The Morris Family Spoon'. When a surprised Emma asked why he'd given it to her as she wasn't a Morris, it was his cue to ask her to marry him... how romantic is that? I just had to write a story based on it.
Two years later, at their wedding, my husband was presented with his own wooden spoon, which came in very handy for his speech!
The next story I wrote for them was, 'The Sailor's Waltz.' This came about after Phil confided to us that he was worried about their first dance as he wasn't much of a dancer. As it happened, after a few practices, they danced perfectly well but it gave me a story idea. My couple were also worried about that first dance but it was because the bride's late mother had been a ballroom dancer, they wanted to dance to the same music her parents had chosen for their wedding dance and it was really important that they get it right. What would help the groom to learn the steps?
The third story was called, Dinner at the Majestic. On the night Phil proposed to Emma, they stayed at Amberley Castle in West Sussex. It was a beautiful romantic place but they decided to forgo dinner in the smart dining room for fish and chips in their room. I thought that was brilliant and just knew it had to be immortalised.
So that just leaves this week's story, 'Marriage vows', which is probably my favourite of all. One day, Phil confided to us that the only quiet place he could find to practise his speech was the local churchyard. I could just picture him walking up and down between the gravestones, his hands behind his back, with an attentive audience who wouldn't interrupt him! In my story, in this week's Friend magazine, the young man has gone to the churchyard to write his vows, rather than practise his speech, but the sentiment is the same.
So a huge thank you to Phil and Emma for providing me with such wonderful material... I'm expecting many more years of inspiration to come!