Monday, August 18, 2008

An announcement

Every so often, someone will ask Hayley "How did you and Steve meet?", probably expecting a succinct "through friends" or "at a party". Instead they get the following story. Settle back now, this could take a while.

Back in 2002 Hayley was living out in the USA. She had a serious car accident that left her hospital bound for several months. This came on the back of a traumatic family bereavement and then on returning from the funeral being laid off from her IT job. After a decade on the other side of the pond, she decided that perhaps the time had come to return home.

With the intention of making friends and possibly meeting Mr Right, she registered on Match.com. It was there that I came across her winning smile for the first time and dropped her a line.



The first she saw of me was a picture taken on a weekend camping trip to the Lake District. I was sitting drinking a beer in The Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge.



When she came back to the UK we met up. She was out on the town with three girl-friends and invited me along. How could I refuse! She and I hit it off straight away and after a few months of us traveling up and down the M5 at weekends she moved to Stockport.

Five years, one house and two children later, here we are! Blessed with our children, family and friends.

So I decided it was time we added another chapter to the story. This weekend, I took Hayley up to the Bridge Inn for a rare weekend away without the kids. Little did she know I what I was plotting as we dined in the hotel restaurant before moving into the bar to sit in the very spot where the photo of me was taken.

"Look at me sitting right up next to you" she said. "If I get any closer I'll push you onto the floor".
"You don't want to do that. I might land on one knee".
"Oh I'll definitely push you off then!" she laughed.
Grinning and in quiet tones I went on. "Hayley, there's something I want to ask you."
Hayley is giggling. "Stop messing about."
"What's this in my pocket?" The shape of a small ring-sized box was clear enough. Hayley is laughing nervously, uncontrollably, punching me (playfully!) and saying, "What! What is it?"
I took out the ring in its box.
Hayley is now starting to fill up and saying "Oh my God, Oh my God...".
I got down on one knee , opened the box towards her and asked: "Will you marry me?"
Through her tears I could just about make out "Yes, of course", as she gave me a huge hug. I can safely say she hadn't seen this coming at all. Amazingly the other people in the pub didn't seem to notice us either!

After she had recovered her composure I was able to confess to her that the "parcel of bike parts" that was delivered FedEx earlier in the week, and which she had signed for, had in fact been her engagement ring. Fortunately she hadn't noticed BlueNile.co.uk" in the small print on the label. She sat there in semi-disbelief, looking at the ring with the biggest grin on her face for the rest of the evening, occasionally telling some complete stranger in the bar, "we just got engaged!"

The next morning we told the hotel's proprieter our story and she kindly gave us a bottle of wine to celebrate. She also made us re-construct the moment for the camera in the somewhat more deserted bar at 11am on a Sunday morning.

P1000973

So there's the potted history. But be warned, if you ask for Hayley's version, you'd better clear your calendar for the rest of the day.

5 comments:

Dan said...

Congratulations!

Kate said...

Congrats :)

Scott said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

about bloody time you made an honest woman of her :)

Big Congratulations from me and Fiona.

so... there'llbe a stag do sometime soon?? :)

Alice said...

That's so exciting. Are you two having a large wedding? By how you speak of your beautiful fiancee, she seems like a fantastic woman =)

Here's a lovely song for her. Rest of My Life by Brian McKnight.

P.S. It's song number 101 on my Myspace :-P

Stephanie said...

I just teared up a little reading that...I cant wait to see you guys this summer!! xoxo
Steph

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