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Forty six years ago, about now, J and I were occupied with our wedding, a low key event with a small guest list and a reception at my parents’ home. He nipped out from work at lunchtime to buy a suit. On Monday when his workmates said “Hey J, what did you do at the weekend?” he said, “Well, as a matter of fact I got married.” 

What began that Friday night led, 46 years later, via four children, four grandchildren, a couple of other partners, and deep unassailable companionship, to a glorious summer day rock-hopping at Bingi Bingi Point, not far from our respective homes, to indulge a shared interest in geology. We’re off to visit younger rocks today, volcanic in origin: aplite, gabbro-diorite, tonalite, dacite and basalt. We’re armed with a couple of mappings of the area’s geology, and we’ve already visited under the guidance of a couple of local geologists so we’re feeling unusually confident.

But before we proceed to rocky analysis, we watch entranced as a couple of whales leap and slap and blow close inshore, just off Bingi Bingi Point, defying photography in the glaring path of the sun. Once they disappear heading south, we focus on rocks. I’m acquiring, at last, a nimbleness that allows me to step over mini-chasms and up and down layers of rock that would usually have me bumming it. Everywhere are rocks I recognise and scapes with wonderful aesthetics.

The place is crawling with dykes: the sombre black shine of basalt, the pinky-apricot of aplite, and the astonishing orange angularites of dacite.

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The dykes provide me with metaphors for our long relationship. It too was born out of molten passion and solidified into interweaving and intrusion. Who could have predicted that this …

… would lead to this?

Tentative postscript: A winding trail through the Penguin dictionary of geology suggests that we may actually have been standing on the earth’s mantle.