I knew something was going on with the build up to Valentine’s day, but I didn’t quite know what. During the week before, Mark told me I needed a smart outfit for the weekend, and that’s all I knew. I got home from work on Friday night, and he had packed a small suitcase for the two of us! "What’s going on?" I asked. "You’ll find out!" is the only reply I received.
"Where’s the dog?" I asked. "Don’t worry – all of that’s been sorted. We’re going away for a few days, I’m not going to tell you where, so, I’m going to ask you to drive, I’ll direct you." It was exciting and confusing at the same time.
I drove for about three hours, working our way from Norwich, to the North (I thought we might be heading towards my family in Durham – little did I know. Then Mark suggested we stop at a Granada station for refreshments. As we sat drinking our coffee, he said holding up the table menu, "This is where we’re staying – it’s only £33 per night!"
I believed him!
But then he got out the road atlas and said he was going to drive the rest of the way as we still had some distance to go. It was my turn to map read. Knowing this, he showed me bit by bit where the journey was taking us – all the way to Dolgellau in Wales. Back to the Victorian mansion, we’d stayed in years ago. I just sat there in disbelief, what an unbelievable Valentine’s surprise.
When we got there, we were the only couple there for the whole weekend – we were going to be spoilt rotten. It rained a little, but not enough to stop us from going out and about. On Valentine’s morning, I had even more presents to open, including a CD of the Stereophonics, so I didn’t think anything of what might be in-store for me – this was a brilliant Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t believe he’d gone to so much trouble. I just sat there overwhelmed by it all. I couldn’t stop thanking him.
After a huge breakfast, Mark wanted to go out climbing, it was still drizzling, and we asked advice as there was a particular mountain that he wanted to climb. They advised us to wait a few hours. Eventually we made our way up there, it was tiring, and Mark raced on ahead, waiting every now and then for me to catch up. I thought, "Huh, this is really romantic."
Finally we came to a halt, three quarters of the way up. Mark stood there looking at his watch working out how long it would take us to get to the top and all the way back down. Relief on my part, there wasn’t going to be enough time. Finally I was able to stand there and admire the wonders of it all. It was so peaceful, suddenly sunny, and so perfect to be there just holding Mark close. He started messing around, doing a slow dance on the mountain…for some unknown reason I just started to cry. "What’s wrong?" he asked. "I’m just so happy" I sniffed, feeling really silly. He kept looking down at this slate after that and said, "Now’s the time to do it then." Kneeling with one knee on the slate, he then said "Tracy will you marry me?!"
Looking down at him, holding him, I just sobbed for what seemed like ages. He just knelt there looking up at me waiting for the answer, finally I pulled myself together and replied "Yes!" He looked so relieved!
Then after half an hour of holding each other, we made our way back down the mountain. He explained to me that a whole weight had been lifted off his shoulders, he’d been planning it for months…only, he had planned to get all the way to the top of the mountain (that’s why he was racing ahead).
We went back to the hotel and were spoilt rotten with glorious, well-presented food, all with a Valentine’s theme. Mark got up in the middle of our starter, and came back with a big smile on his face. Next thing I knew, the classical music was turned off and a song from my new CD was being played which has now become ‘our’ song! Bizarre really it’s called, ‘Just Looking’!