London Love Stories: Simon and Amanda Duncan

Jobs: Founders of Ealing Distillery

Ages: Both 52

Live: Ealing 

Length of time together: 30 years 

Status: Married 

The meet-cute

Amanda: We met aged 22 on a residential course for graduates working in PR. A few weeks after the course Simon moved into a new bedsit in Ealing. Weirdly, it was the same house where I had a bedsit. It was a complete fluke! We started hanging out (Simon had a colour TV, I only had black and white) and progressed to going to the laundrette together. After a month or so we were sharing a dryer.

The first date

Simon: We went to the end of the road for a curry, drank a couple of bottles of their cheapest wine then stumbled home. 

First impressions

Amanda: On the course I thought Simon was fun, down-to-earth and uncool — in a good way. He had no idea what cool meant which, of course, made him cool. 

Housemates with benefits

Amanda: We lived together before we even got together which was fab because we didn’t have to go through all that dating, calling, not calling stuff. We’d already seen each other at our worst in the shared bedsits. In fact Simon had held my hair while I was sick in the loo after a heavy night out — truly dedicated housemate behaviour. 

Popping the question

Amanda: Simon asked me to marry him while drunk in the middle of Ealing Common after a night at the pub. It was dark and cold and he got a very muddy knee. We went to celebrate at a Greek café that was still open. The owner was very sweet and went upstairs to his flat above the café to bring down a bottle of cheap fizz for us to drink and share with the other random customers. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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The big day

Amanda: Our wedding was up north in Geordieland (where I’m from). Simon’s “posh” southern family mingled brilliantly with my working-class northern family. We danced until the early hours and were the last to leave our own wedding. Simon bumped my head on the doorpost as he tried to carry me over the threshold of the hotel room.

Opposites attract

Simon: We’re both definitely glass-half-full, very sociable, outgoing people-people. But while I’m a whirlwind Amanda’s more calm and measured. We’ve always both been quite entrepreneurial and excited by the possibilities of life.  

Couples who work together

Simon: We’re good at different things work-wise so the work flow falls very naturally between us. We sometimes argue but we always agree on the big things like when we decided on the final recipe for Ealing Gin and the design of the bottle. We want to make the brand a big success — we are donating 20 per cent of profits to good causes addressing loneliness and social isolation.  

The Ealing feeling

Amanda: We’ve lived in Ealing since our bedsit days. It’s brilliantly diverse with great bars and restaurants, it’s got great cultural heritage and a very strong community.

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