Johanna and Richard met met on a plane on the way to Antigua. Richard popped the question in Battersea Park presenting Johanna with a beautiful diamond ring that he had designed himself!
Johanna (33) and Richard (31) live in South‐West London and have been together for four years. He’s an obstetrician/gynaecologist and she’s an e‐commerce consultant. They hope that when they are married Muffin and Humphrey will no longer suffer the stigma of illegitimacy, which the other cats on the block tease them about remorselessly. They like CSI, tennis, trips to America and the 219 bus when it’s running on time.
How we met
Richard and I both come from Guildford, Surrey and were born in the same hospital. However, we actually met on a plane on the way to Antigua. I quite like that. Is it wrong that I like to think of myself as the kind of person who, while jetting off to the Caribbean, strikes up a conversation so riveting that the beneficiary of my sparkling repartee is compelled to beg for my phone number as their life will be flat without my wit to lift it? Or perhaps I didn’t give my phone number out, but instead Richard spent six months relentlessly tracking me down as he couldn’t live without me. Ok ‐ I’m getting carried away here. The true story…While balancing precariously on the arm of a seat in order to rummage in the overhead bin, I spotted a girl who I had been at school with but had lost touch with. She was on holiday with her flatmate…Richard. Far from immediately entrancing him with my stunning good looks and in‐depth knowledge of island flora and fauna, it took me a good six months hard graft to persuade him that my stunning control‐freakery and in‐depth knowledge of Coronation Street was what he was secretly missing from his life.
Let’s talk about a good proposal. I’ve read virtually all the engagement stories on confetti, and I knew the kind of proposal I wanted for The Moment‐I’d‐Been‐Waiting‐For‐All‐My‐Life. For instance, look at the effort Rob Shimmin went to to propose to Ketta during a surprise trip to New York. Fraser got Shaun the dolphin to propose to Laura for him… The one that really kills me is Sonja and Jeremy.
Now I do advise reading this one ‐ I don’t want to cast aspersions but could anyone really be as perfect as Jeremy? He manages to cram all the aspects into his proposal ‐ months of advance planning, woodwork, a surprise trip (to LA, no less, New York would never be far enough for this paragon), a proposal on the beach ‐ and to top it all, he made the ring himself.
Now lets turn our attention to ‘less luminary’ proposals. As Exhibit 1, I give you Mike’s proposal to Phoebe in ‘Friends’. To be fair on Mike, although no Jeremy he does put in a hefty effort or two, but Phoebe inevitably blows his ideas out of the water the second before his plan is about to go into effect. This I call the No‐Proposal‐Good‐Enough effect, or NPGE for short.
As Exhibit 2 I’m entering into evidence all those proposals on Confetti where the wannabe groom’s noble attempts to drag his intended up the Eiffel Tower/Empire State Building is thwarted by the fact her feet hurt and she wants to sit down, or she ate too much at dinner and just wants to lie on her bed and burp. This is known as the Fiance‐Foul‐Up, or FFU.
The Moment-I’d-Been-Waiting-For-All-My-Life indeed involved elements of both NPGE and FFU. My general panic about turning 33 and being left on the shelf meant Rich didn’t have much planning time. My specific views on which bus to catch to the Tate Britain meant we spent the hour before ‘The MIBWFAML’ arguing about the relative merits and demerits of routes to Battersea Park.
Eventually we did get to the park, and all praise to Richard for his great tenacity and not allowing himself to be put off. So there I was, loudly commenting on the irony of a large sign reading ‘Working for a cleaner Thames’ stuck on the side of a rotting hulk in the middle of the filthy river (the romance!) when Richard suddenly said, ‘Can I ask you to marry me?’ quickly followed by ‘Do I need to get down on one knee?’ All of a sudden I was saying ‘Yes’ twice (the first time so he got down on one knee and the second to agree to marry him) and then he was saying, ‘Can I get up now, this gravel is awfully painful?’ and I had a diamond ring that he had designed on my left hand.
We were on our way to an exhibition at the Tate Britain. Despite the momentous event that had just occurred it seemed sensible just to carry on with our plans like normal! So instead of spending the afternoon whispering sweet nothings to each other we discussed…modern sculpture. In case we sound like the mortal enemies of romance I should point out that we did then go to the Waldorf for a Champagne cream tea. Well, we think scones and jam are romantic, anyway.
Oh and by the way, Richard had asked my father for permission. Perhaps he was secretly hoping the answer would be no and he’d be off the hook!
Read Johanna’s diary next month to see how her wedding planning is going and to pick up some handy tips along the way.