And on to the next part of the story: the proposal. Last week I filled in the background to how M and I met but more excitingly I expect, here are some details of the moment when I agreed to be his wife.
For me, it was just another surfing weekend in Cornwall. It was fitting that we were in Cornwall, looking back, as the first time M said the words “I love you” were whilst we were on a surfing trip to Cornwall, with our university surf club, lying together in an uncomfortable double bed in the attic of a guest house. This time though we stayed in a little hotel, nothing too fancy but what it did have were enormous beautiful views of the beach. I would show you a photo, but I forgot to take my camera battery charger and there was only enough battery for about three photos. And the view wasn’t one of them!
The first day of the weekend the weather was horrid and no surfing could be done but on the Saturday morning the sun woke us up early. M had brought a bottle of champagne with him and asked the hotel to chill it, saying to me that he needed to taste it as he was selling some to someone the next week and as he is a fine wine merchant this is a common occurence, so I thought nothing of it, save that it would be nice to have some champagne on the beach. We went surfing and then I lay down on the beach to dry off. After a while M joined me, bringing champagne, glasses, fish & chips and a newspaper. We settled down to eat lunch and suddenly M started to behave oddly. After a few minutes he sat up on one knee and asked me to marry him. I couldn’t respond straight away as I had a mouthful of chips but my heart missed a beat I was so happy, “are you serious?!” I gasped. He indicated that he was, so I hugged him (well, threw my arms around him) and said “yes, of course”.
And then he produced a ring, hidden in the pocket of his shorts. A beautiful, stunning, aquamarine and diamond ring, which fitted me perfectly, and, he had chosen the stones and helped design the setting himself in collaboration with a man named Neil Duttson of Duttson Rocks. We drank champagne and abandoned the rest of the fish & chips, instead ringing my parents on my mobile phone to tell them the good news and to allow M to ‘ask’ my father’s permission for my hand in marriage.
And now, some more practical things about engagement rings: You really can find people who will sell you the stones, help you decide on the setting and then get their jeweller to make the ring for you. M managed to get my ring made in a week, from choosing the stones to collecting the finished product. He found that it was also excellent value for money: instead of giving his money to the middle-man, M’s money went to Neil for the stones and for the commission and to the jeweller for putting the ring together. This means that in insurance terms, my ring is worth more than twice the amount M spent on it. In other words, buying a ready made ring would have meant that more than half of the money went to the seller in profit. It also means that I know just how much thought went into the ring: he chose my favourite colour for the stone and thought about what setting would suit my hand.