It’s been about 2 and a half years since the last update and what has happened since then?
A period of change for everybody really; Kat, Katie and Soph have got married. Jane, Sarah and Rach have had babies, Alison has bought a mansion, my parents have retired and me; well that’s a story. I’m now the proud owner of a Swarovski ring which represents a proposal only and not an engagement. Apparently.
So how exactly did this happen, I hear you ask?
Well get yourself a coffee, set your phone onto divert and have a read of the story below.
As the cohabiting amongst you know, there comes a point in every relationship where people start to ask “So, when are you two going to get married”?
For Mark and I, I suppose this point came when we decided to go to Dubai for Christmas. I think we all thought (myself included) that something sparkly could happen,but nobody was very sure. Despite the flurry of excitement bestowed upon me by various friends and relatives, I was sure that nothing would happen as I’d said to Mark that he would need to ask my father for his permission before any sort of proposal could take place. Given my father is married to my mother (who is worse at keeping secrets than me), I knew that if a proposal was within sniffing distance then the news would somehow trickle through and I would get wind of it. As you know I’m scared of surprises, so I was pretty convinced there wasn’t going to be one.
Sure enough that holiday came and went safely and we returned back to the UK the same way we went – if not a little lighter after the freak vomiting bug that had taken hold of us for 80% of the holiday.
The questions didn’t stop though, so Mark thought the best way to put people off the scent was to put in for a transfer to Angola. Yes, that’s in Africa. Miles away.
For those of you who don’t know, this involves him spending 4 weeks working away and then he comes home for 4 weeks holiday. This month due to social commitments he was allowed to extend his leave to 6 weeks during which he has fitted in 3 weddings, organised a stag do, built a shed (not), and of course our annual Neilson trip to Greece.
Now we’ve actually been to Sivota before and we love it there. Healthy food, runs, biking, fitness classes, tennis and all the watersports you can imagine. It’s our idea of holiday heaven. So I thought nothing when on day 3, Mark suggested that we take a double kayak out and go explore the coastline. It was a beautiful day, so he also suggested we made an afternoon of it which meant stealing items from the lunch buffet to snack on later. I thought this was a tad excessive but put it to one side.
Once we had made our packup we got on the kayak and rowed away from the hotel. Greece has some lovely bays and there are plenty of little random rocks and caves strewn about surrounded with proper lovely turquoise water and pretty little beachy bits everywhere.
We noticed a cove not too far away and rocked up to set up camp. As soon as we’d a fashioned a beer fridge out of a plastic bag, some string round a rock and a mini rockpool we were able to relax. I was just minding my own business when Mark starts with “Georrrrrrge. I have a confession to make”
Now I thought it would be something along the lines of him stealing cake from the dessert table, or nicking some ice from the bar but I was wrong. Very wrong.
The confession turned out to be a short tale about him not really going to see fat Dan last week but going to see my father instead. For the purpose of brevity I will summise the story in list form below.
1. He called my father on his mobile and arranged to meet him one night after work
2. He put his suit on and drove to Barnsley (where my dad was doing some on call work)
3. My dad welcomes Mark into what can only be described as student doctors digs and offers him a bag of Doritos (a grab bag)
4. 15 minutes later, my dad remembers that he also has some dip and offers this to Mark ( who has by now finished his Doritos)
5. They chat about the weather.
6. My dad then decides that he should cook for Mark as it is now too late to go out for dinner
7. Mark is subjected to a meal of microwaveable rice, chicken strips and sweet chilli sauce (this is gourmet cooking for my Dad).
8. Mark cuts to the chase and tells my dad how fabulous I am (probably) and asks for my hand in marriage.
9. My dad says 2 things
a. “We haven’t had an engineer in the family before. Now we have one”
b. “My aunt married a white man, so we already have white people in our family. So don’t worry about that. You are very welcome here”
10. My dad walks Mark back to his car and comments that at some point in the future the mx5 will be thought of a classic car. They shake hands and the deal is done.
Back to the beach. So Mark is telling me this and I’m thinking what is he going on about? Is this a story with a normal ending? I kid you not, it didn’t cross my mind for a second that he was about to propose.
Then he finishes his story and goes “close your eyes for a minute” At this point, I twig and emit some sort of squeal. When I finally opened my eyes, he was there on one knee (the non-gammy one), with the blingiest ring ever and that dashing smile of his. Then he pops the question and the following conversation goes something like this:
G: “Oh my god, what do you mean? Oh I don’t think I can look at you
M: “Yes you can, come on?”
G: “But I don’t understand? Is this for real?”
M: “Of course it’s for real, why wouldn’t it be?”
G: “This is too much information to process.” (It really was, I was temporarily confused)
M: “You know you haven’t said yes yet”
G: “Oh no, sorry I mean yes. Of course.”
We hug it out.
I would say that the shock factor took at least 3 hours to wear off. As a result I was very quiet; almost pensive for the remainder of the afternoon. And I have no idea why. Absolutely no idea. I think Mark was upset initially because I wasn’t jumping up and down and doing cartwheels. Chrissie made up for it though. When I rang her she screamed down the phone for at least 30 seconds and then asked how I would have my hair.
Nonetheless it’s been almost a week now and I’ve got used to the idea. I’m MOST happy.
I seem to be entering a world of themes, colours, flowers, music, venues and a whole host of other things which are mainly alien to me. Mark can’t understand why I won’t consider Goodison Park as a venue, but as a compromise I have said that blue can have a prominent role in the colour scheme of the wedding.
The fellow Brays and Welshes are of course over the moon and my mother has probably already started planning her outfit complete with shoes and hat. My father said he was very proud of me, which put a tear in my eye, and aside from seeing Mark at the altar, the main thing I cannot wait for is to hear my Dad make a speech. I’m sure he will do a brilliant job and that’s one thing I’m really looking forward to.
So that’s the story, 2 and a half years after we met. I thought that writing another episode to conclude the series would be an appropriate tribute. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading these episodes as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I can say with a bit of confidence that this will definitely be the final one.