I was 28 when I got engaged. My boyfriend Chris had never had a romantic bone in his body and I’m quite a simple girl at heart and I’m easily pleased, so I wasn’t expecting an elaborate proposal of any kind. Still, I wouldn’t have been upset with a romantic backdrop when he did finally pop the question. Somewhere like Rome. Or Italy.
‘Pack your bags. We’re going away for the weekend’, said Chris. (Actually, I’m lying –he knows better than to boss me about. And he knows I hate surprises). I think what actually happened was that I’d harped on about all of the places I’d like to visit and about 6 months later, he’d finally got sick of my nagging and decided to take me somewhere.
‘Ooooh, are we going back to Portugal?’, I chanced, half excited/half concerned. ‘Because I haven’t got a new bikini…’
‘Erm, nope. We’re not. Road-trip’, said the boyfriend. ‘Wales’.
‘Wales?’.Why Wales? I didn’t want to go to Wales. Why would I want to go to bloody Wales?!
‘You said you liked it’, he looked a bit hurt. ‘You said –that you liked going to Abersoch as a child. So I thought I’d surprise you.’
Now, I should point out, I’ve never been to Abersoch as a child in my life. I might have mentioned that I’d been to Pwhelli in a caravan a couple of couple of times, but I don’t ever recall reminiscing dreamily about it.
Still, I’d heard good things about Abersoch with its “Cheshire by the sea” status. So, I went to grab the few essentials I’d need for a 2 night stay, and 3 large holdalls later, we were off.
Several hours later, we pulled up.
About 40 miles away from Abersoch.
Chris was lost and was about to bust a vessel so to calm the situation down, I suggested we take a walk along the beach front. We played in some arcades and there were some old war songs playing and a Punch and Judy show on the beach. There were a lot of really old people in Llandudno.
‘There’s a lot of really old people here’, Chris said, equally observant.
Chris suggested we stop off for a drink and so we went to a nearby pub and sat down inside, taking in our surroundings. Did I mention that there are lots of really old people in Llandudno? We sat down and Chris suddenly declared with some urgency that he needed the loo. Before he went, he rushed to the bar and got me 2 drinks and a large packet of crisps, which suggested to me that he was off for a shit and that he’d be at least 10 minutes. I wasn’t wrong. 15 minutes passed before he returned.
‘Are you ready to go?’, he said, looking at the floor. He seemed a bit edgy. I drank up and we left.
‘What’s up with you?’, I asked, as we walked out of the pub and back up towards the sea front. (Turned out there’d been some sort of mini-drama in the loo. Chris had needed a cubicle to do his business; there was only one. The outside handle of said cubicle door had fallen off and when he went inside, the inside lock was jammed also. Inspired by Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, it seemed, he figured that taking off his shoes and wedging them under the door to hold it closed should provide him with 5 minutes peace and quiet. However, he was quickly interrupted. A pair shoes dormantly lying in view under the toilet door had prompted someone to raise the alarm that someone had croacked in there. Two bar maids had run at the door with a shoulder charge before one had given the other a leg up over the door to find Chris sitting on the loo reading the Daily Mail).
The following day, we drove to Abersoch and checked into a lovely B&B. There was a visible lift to our spirits as we stepped out into the sun to the beach. By evening, we ventured out again and Chris suggested we take another walk along the beach. Romantic, eh? We strolled hand in hand along the sand from one side to the other. And then back the other way. Chris was looking a bit agitated again though and his eyes were sort of darting around the floor in a weird sort of way and he seemed to be getting more irritable. Anyway, I was hungry and suggested we go and eat. ‘Um. Ok. I think we should walk back down the beach again first though. Just once more. ’
I tried to stay as upbeat and buoyant as I could, and reluctantly agreed, albeit sulking a little. I mean, the novelty of a romantic beach stroll was wearing off, and I WAS HUNGRY.
‘Ok, I’m getting pissed off now’, I caved in, when he wanted to walk the beach mile for a third time. ‘I’m starving and we must have walked about 4 mile now. What the hell is the matter with you?’
Chris looked hurt, and he leaned in to me and sort of loudly whispered ‘I’d, er, hid a bottle of wine along the beach earlier when you were having a nap. I was hoping you’d find it’.
‘You hid a bottle of wine!? What on earth for?’, I laughed. ‘What kind of alchi do you think I am? I mean, I get that the nightlife is a bit limited here in Abersoch but we could have always….’
‘Not a full bottle, smart-arse’, he spelled out, as if I was stupid. Adding – ‘An empty bottle…’
‘Empty!!? Why on earth would you want me to find an empty bottle of wine…Have you lost your mind?!.’
Chris looked disheartened and looking at the floor, he said glumly: ‘Umm. It had a message in it. Asking you if, you know, you wanted to get married or something…? It was supposed to be romantic. In my mind, it was romantic. I had it all planned out.’
It took about 20 seconds after the weird ramblings and casual affirmation for the penny to drop that he had planted a message in a bottle along the beach asking me to marry him.
‘Are you asking me to marry you?’ I couldn’t believe it. He’d got me a gorgeous ring with a beautifully sized diamond and everything.
‘Erm, yep. If you want to, that is?’
I said yes. Chris got me a bottle of wine ( a full one ha ha) and we were officially engaged. And I was almost a bit sorry that the old dears of Llandudno weren’t there to give us three cheers.