Dan and I met at Bristol Uni. It was one of those ‘I was not looking to find love, but it hit me between the eyes when I saw him standing at the bar in his ripped Levis’ affairs. Apparently, he had noticed me earlier in the canteen eating my pasty (very romantic!) We won ‘best couple’ award at the end of the first year (apparently for being a ‘cool’ not clingy couple) which I found so cringey, I refused to go to the front of the bar to pick up the certificate (very official!).
After uni, I went to London and he joined the parachute regiment – the start of four years of snatched weekends, tearful reunions and farewells and tension when he went to Kosovo, the jungle in Belize and Northern Ireland.
In April 2000, we went on holiday together for the first time in four years – and pushed the boat out ten days skiing in Whistler (always our dream destination). Things went pear shaped when, four days in, he dislocated his shoulder by wiping out on the black run. I had to rush for help (and realised then that I do not have a cool head in a crisis!) and he was dramatically stretchered off the mountain. Two days later, he was fit and (apparently) ready to go… off we set and down he went again. He lay there in a pile motionless, showing no signs of getting up. So I (again?!) rushed to his aid, thinking he’d done his shoulder again. Little did I know. I was greeted by a big grin and a bear hug, whereupon he pulled the most, most beautiful square-cut princess diamond ring from his pocket and asked me to marry him. He’d had it for six months without breathing a word and had been looking for the right moment. I just sat there shaking and completely forgot to reply.
It was totally unexpected: even after seven years, he had managed to surprise me. I have got a wonderful framed photo of Whistler Mountain (the spot where he proposed) and it is going to be the first thing I put up in our new house when we finally move in together as husband and wife in August 2001.