x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Love is… words and music

A weekend taking in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and Mozart turns out surprisingly beneficial for romance - even at the cost of attending a rock concert some time in the future.

I had bribed Mr T to let me pick and choose exactly what we would do this past weekend. The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair was in town, and my husband does not count reading among his hobbies, so I had to resort to bribing him with dinner at the buffet haunt of his choice in order to get him to tag along.

The crisp smell of printed paper masked even the spiced aromas wafting from the fair's show kitchen. Before I knew it, three hours had passed and Mr T was weighed down with four shopping bags full of my book selections.

Strangely enough, he never complained, nor did he appear bored. Between flicking through manga books, browsing material on guitar chords and staring in wonder at the images in a large coffee-table-style book on Islamic art - which later came home with us - Mr T found plenty to amuse himself. His attitude was impeccable, and we enjoyed one another's company more than I had expected.

Which is why I felt a slight twinge of guilt when I began preparations for yet another bribe. The Abu Dhabi Festival was opening on Saturday night with a performance of Mozart's masterpieces, and I planned to be in the audience. Mr T was one step ahead of me. With a flourish, he presented me with two tickets to the concert and did not laugh at my suggestion that he forgo jeans and trainers for the event.

Without even realising what was in store, the two of us found ourselves experiencing a night of pure magic. Dressed up and feeling incredibly grown-up to be among an audience of such elegant concertgoers, we settled into our seats and into an evening of such musical excellence that even Mr T, who lists Nirvana as his favourite band, was waving his rolled-up programme like a conductor's baton in time to the music.

It was incredibly romantic to watch and hear a concert of such beautiful music with my husband, to feel so cultured, and to see him enjoying it to boot.

Mr T's readiness to partake in what I enjoy, to provide me with opportunities to while away hours browsing through book shelves and spend an evening listening to the genius of music by one of the 18th century's greatest composers, were great points in his favour. What turned out to be a weekend of true romance in a city I once thought did not afford couples enough opportunities to have uniquely romantic moments left me quite starry-eyed.

So much so, in fact, that I barely heard him when Mr T turned to me at the end of the concert and said: "This was great, but next time there's a rock concert in town, you owe me tickets."

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