ON THIS day, April 3, in 1895, the libel trial instigated by Oscar Wilde began. He lost the case, leading to his arrest, trial and imprisonment for having relationships with men, and we can only marvel at how much has changed in nearly 120 years.

Gay couples now legalise their unions and produce or adopt offspring.

The bone of contention currently is whether same-sex partners should be able to marry, rather than just seal their coupledom with a civil partnership.

However, the most significant change I would like to see would be for all weddings – never mind the gender of the couple – to return to being about new starts and bringing families together, not just about bling and cash.

I went to a lovely wedding ceremony last month, which included only family and a few friends, and was followed by an intimate dinner with no formal speeches.

The couple wrote their own wedding vows and, forget the romantic stuff, my favourite bit was when the bridegroom said affectionately that he would always love his bride ‘no matter how batty you become!’

It reminded me of Professor Heinz Wolff, at Brunel University recently, producing a jar of marbles to show that, in his 80s, he still has all of them.

On this day last year, Mr F and I set the alarm for 5am to get photos of the sun rising over Istanbul on the last leg of our world cruise.

It was beautiful, but surprisingly chilly, and we moaned and groaned and blew on our hands as we snapped our shots to the sound of the Adhan (Islamic call to prayer).

Later that day, we enjoyed boiling hot temperatures as we visited Turkey’s Blue Mosque and the grand bazaar.

Hopefully, by the time you read this we’ll have had a few warm English days to warm our bones, after the arctic conditions last week.

Far better to worry about melting chocolate eggs than coping with the White Easter we were promised.

I’m off to Brighton on Friday – wish me luck.