Author Anthony’s light-hearted relationship advice causes a stir

Anthony and his wife Vicki. (s)

Anthony and his wife Vicki. (s)

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A Ribble Valley author is enjoying life in the spotlight after the publication of his book caused somewhat of a media furore.

Anthony Blackie, of Piggery Cottages, Great Mitton, has appeared on “Good Morning Britain”, “North West Tonight”, “Granada Reports”, “The One Show” and many more TV programmes to discuss his new book “The Squashed Man Who Married A Dragon” – with his wife Vicki being the “dragon” is he referring to.

As reported in last week’s Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, Anthony’s new book is a light-hearted guide to men on how to negotiate their way through married life.

Described as a unique and true story of how “one man has survived 50 long turbulent years of marriage”, it contains more than 100 tips and pieces of advice gleaned over decades of “being in the wrong” with Vicki.

A regular contributor to the Advertiser and Times’ The Valley with his features about buying a property and living part-time in Spain, Anthony was born in Blackburn, but moved to Wigan at the age of three where he subsequently met his wife Vicki (69), who is originally from Wigan.

“Vicki is a very clever and beautiful girl, but she has this big fault,and I didn’t realise this until after we were married,” said Anthony.

Vicki is a very clever and beautiful girl, but she has this big fault,and I didn’t realise this until after we were married

Anthony Blackie

“She can go from normal to absolutely ballistic in a number of seconds over absolutely nothing! I never come back home with lipstick on my face or come home drunk, but I tell you if I put my empty coffee cup by the side of the sink or leave a tissue in my shirt pocket or jeans, well, all hell can break loose.”

He added: “Every man can find his perfect woman, but it is only after you get married that you realise that they have teeth and breathe fire!”

The 75-year-old retired salesman’s book takes a tongue-in-cheek look at marital life and how it’s the everyday issues that can cause the most upset between man and wife.

Anthony recalls in contrast how the couple have pulled together when some rather major dramas have played out in their lives.

"The Squashed Man Who Married A Dragon poster". (s)

"The Squashed Man Who Married A Dragon poster". (s)

One such example was when a fire broke out following an electrical fault on a kiln at their holiday home in Spain.

The fire was “Vicki’s fault” of course, Anthony explained. “She had switched it on and then came to bed after me,” he said.

A state of total panic ensued which would test the couple to their limits.

“There was fire lapping at our wooden bedroom door and when we opened it the oxygen made the flames flare up. There were 17 wooden beams on the ceiling and we had to fumble around in the pitch black, stark naked, getting buckets of water from the kitchen to put the fire out. We were covered in black smut, we were totally hoarse and our eyes and noses were streaming, but we saved the house,” he recalled.

“There’s been a few incidents like that during our marriage, but it’s always the little things that we dwell upon and cause the most agitation and they’re the motivation behind the book.”

Married to the “dragon” for 50 years now, Anthony met Vicki, who used to work for a fabric importer, when she was 16 and he was an “immature” 23.

Anthony recalled: “I was walking up the old arcade in Wigan and a girl I knew had a card shop there and when I stopped to talk to Barbara she said after a while ‘Do you know Vicki Fearn’ and I said ‘No, should I?’ and she said ‘You are so like brother and sister, you are both so good looking’. I asked her where I could meet this girl and she said that Vicki went for drinks at the White Crow on a Tuesday night.”

Anthony subsequently went along to the pub and, as they say, the rest is history,with the couple tying the knot a year later on June 29th, 1963.

“She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen,” he reminisced.

The couple, who have lived in the Ribble Valley since the early 70s and bought an old farmhouse on top of Longridge Fell down sized to a house at the Piggery Cottages near Great Mitton after deciding to buy a house in Spain.

Proud parents of daughters Angela and Katie, the couple also have four grandchildren, of whom Anthony could not be more proud.

In fact, Anthony has dedicated one of the chapters in his new book to his granddaughter Lola, who he describes as “the best in the world”.

Anthony said: “I can always rely on Lola to say it as it is – if I look good in Lola’s eyes I am 10 feet tall.”

He added: “Here’s hoping the book can knock JK Rowling off her number one spot.”

l “The Squashed Man Who Married A Dragon” is published via ebooks.com. To order quote eISBN9781785894305 or go to: www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=3666