Emily: Yesterday, I shared Part One of James’ take on our engagement and what led up to it. Today is about the engagement itself – I have rather a lot more to say about this bit, so expect a lot of brackets and italics (Apologies in advance).
This was it.
The deposit was down on the ring. The plan was made, and now Emily had agreed to go away for the weekend up to the Northumberland coast.
(E: rather reluctantly I have to say – it was planned the day after my graduation and all I wanted to do was stay with my friends in Sheffield and not to go to some secluded place in the middle of nowhere. Aren’t I a joy)
Northumberland, for those who haven’t experienced it, is hands down my favourite part of England; ruggedly beautiful shorelines and rolling hills in the most north-easterly part of the country and most importantly, the first place me and Emily went away together as a couple.
Stage 2 was heading to the local French patisserie and stocking the most romantic picnic I could muster; a variety of salads, antipasti and French desserts to enjoy on the beach later that evening. While in town I paid up in full and got the ring I would give to Emily when I asked her to be my wife ( I must have sat in the car afterwards for 5 minutes internally chanting: please don’t hate it please don’t hate it…).
From then on things went fast, I bundled Emily into the car and we were up the A1 (E: saying very peculiar things like “Do you like our relationship the way it is?”) to the familiar stunning landscape and the cottage. Things were unpacked. A picnic was suggested, and we headed to the beach.
I assured Emily that I had the perfect spot in mind, and that the small hike over the dunes with picnic paraphernalia was entirely justified. (E: I can assure you that a ‘small hike’ it was not – I was in flip flops carrying a picnic basket over what seemed like sand mountains)
Just past some grasses I found the spot I had planned on; a beautiful vista of the now deserted beach, sheltered by the dunes and entirely enclosed by reeds and shrubs.
Unfortunately it seemed someone else had recently discovered the spot and, after marvelling at the vista and seclusion, had promptly paid tribute to it by swathing the area in vomit. Although a little disheartened/panicked, I masterfully diverted Emily from the crisis zone and we set up out of range of the vomit and ended up having an amazing picnic, with great food and chat and tea.
Then the time came when all the food had been eaten, desserts devoured and tea drunk. Nothing was left to stall with and the ring box was weighing heavy inside my jacket. Several skillful attempts to bring the conversation round had crashed and burned and I had to work fast before we had to leave (I knew that soon it would either be dark or Emily’s inexorable bladder would betray me).
With the tact and insight I have come to love, Emily then turned to me and said: “You know what, with all this champagne and fancy picnic, I really thought you were going to propose to me for a second”.
Not one to miss an opportunity, I apologised, asking if she would forgive me for the disappointment, jokingly asking whether she still loved me, and then if she still wanted to spend the rest of her life with me.
As she turned to look at me to see what I was talking about, the ring box was in my hand and I asked the question that was 5 years in the making, 3 months in the planning and would shape our future together. A few ‘Oh my God’ and an ‘are you serious’ later, she said yes (!!) and we were launched onto this new adventure, being engaged.
And so ensued a lot of weeks of happiness and joy, telling our family and friends (and a nice lady at Alnwick Castle who asked if we had the same surname – “not yet” was the reply), until Bridezilla arrived and wanted to book everything immediately.
I had no idea that he was going to ask me, despite him saying some very strange things about being engaged. I also now realise that I need to lighten up a little bit, and if James tells me to carry a picnic basket over sand mountains, there will probably be a good reason for it!