Sunday, 24 June 2012

Getting Engaged... Take Two

Take two is not a reference to the fact I had to ask Elli twice to marry me, but that I hit publish on this post before I meant to. For most, ney all of you, that fact won't make a blind bit of difference to your life, but it did briefly appear as a ghost post on a number of people's blogrolls and on Facebook.

I had planned to propose to Elli in the half term holiday. She twigged that I must be up to something, I had proposed (informally) regularly up to that point so it was only a matter of time.

After some detective work and help from trusted female colleagues, I bought the ring and formulated a fairly fluid plan of action.  The Friday of half term week, we went to my parents' house for lunch. On the way, we stopped at the little village church where my parents met during a wedding, after 5 years of moving in different worlds and where love sprung into life for them. Elli knew this and was visibly excited - but no proposal was forth-coming. I admit, it was a deliberate tease.

Not another word was spoken for two days. Then on Sunday, we went for a picnic at Bramshill plantation, a favourite walking place of mine, not because it is the best ever per se, but because I discovered it for myself whilst studying an OS map years ago, and apart from the odd dog walker, you get a fair amount of privacy.

The picnic was an interesting affair. After eventually finding a spot where thorny things didn't come up and poke you in the bum, we ate. (I know what you're thinking - this guy knows how organise a classy location! ;-)

But again - no proposal was forthcoming! Until finally, we headed out to Rabson's Rec, a free park near my house, behind which, a hill rises up to such a height as to give you a half decent view of some of Reading. It took us a while to find a secluded bench as a number of Whitley love birds had decided to come out for a flutter that afternoon!

But eventually we did, I looked out over Reading and said to Elli: If I were a king, this would be my kingdom. Would you be my queen? I don't remember her response at this point (she probably groaned at the level of cheesy cliché).

What follows will only make sense after I tell you that many years ago, Elli visited a place called Baboon viewpoint, in Kenya. Looking out from there feels like looking out over the Garden of Eden, beautiful, tranquil and yet awesome at the same time. On that spot, she expressed a wish that the man who proposed to her would do it there.

A few years later, I was standing on that same spot and could not get her out of my head - she was invading my thinking and it was more than a distraction. It was the mental equivalent of someone standing in front of you, talking at you with a megaphone. It was an especially painful experience, given that 7 months earlier she had rebutted my advance and only wanted us to be friends.

But how times have changed! What I didn't understand then, I understand now.

And given that I have neither the time nor the money for such an extravagant proposal location, I did the next best thing! Mr Token Gesture to Baboon Viewpoint himself, Geoffrey the Giraffe (£5.99 from Toys'R'Us) joined us to bare testimony to the fact that I then went down on one knee and asked Elli to marry me.

She comically paused in an attempt to reciprocate my wind ups from the last 48 hours - but soon caved and said yes!

The ring fitted perfectly. We hugged (for a long time), prayed and then headed our merry way down the hill, picking wild flowers as we went.

To our joyful surprise, we later learnt that it was on the 10 June 1972 that love sprung to life in that little church above for my parents (where my dad was best man to my now godfather.) Forty years on and the 10 June 2012 has proven to be a significant day for their son!

What can I say?
  1. God is good. All our days are in his hands. 
  2. Nothing will ever be the same again.
  3. I am utterly delighted.

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