Ben and I met in January of 1998, on the internet. I had bought myself a computer as a Christmas present and was learning how to use the chat rooms; you do tend to ‘meet’ a lot of people from the US and Australia, so I was a pleasantly surprised when I found I was chatting to someone from the UK. I asked where Ben lived, and it turned out that he lived about a mile away from me in Sidcup, Kent. After we got over the shock of that, we chatted more and more, and then moved on to talking on the phone. After about a month, on 19 February 1998, we met up for a pizza. I knew already that we definitely had the makings of something special, and meeting Ben for real just confirmed that!
After a while we moved in together, and this summer we re-mortgaged my flat to put it into joint names, so I knew that things were definitely serious! We’d talked about marriage, and we knew that one day we would do the deed, but I was still surprised when he proposed.
We went to Disneyland Paris for our second ‘anniversary’ last year, and this year we decided to go back because we loved it so much. This time, we stayed in the big pink palace hotel – the ‘Disneyland Hotel’ itself. What a treat. Really lovely, with a posh bar, lovely restaurants, the works. The weather wasn’t terribly kind to us, but we don’t mind that – we just put on hats and jackets and dry our shoes out later!
So – there we are in Disneyland, last Monday, 17 September. We’d just stopped for something to eat – at ‘Buzz Lightyear’s Pizza Planet’ restaurant, the weather was foul, we were dropping on our feet. I was packing my things away ready to go, and suddenly Ben was on one knee in front of me, irrespective of the rain (and the fact that he still had pizza sauce on his chin!) In full traditional style, he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. I was speechless – and finally managed to say ‘of course I will’.
It turned out that poor Ben had been thwarted not once but twice in trying to propose to me – he’d arranged a hot air balloon trip over Kent for a Sunday in August, but the weather had been so bad that it had been called off. Same story a week later – that was Bank Holiday Sunday, and I do remember that the Saturday and Monday of that weekend were lovely weather and the Sunday was foul all day! Poor thing. I didn’t cotton on at all, and knew nothing about his plans (although it seems that all my friends did!) So then he decided to propose in Disneyland, but every time he thought that it was a good time, the heavens opened. In the end, he had to just ignore the rain and do it anyway!
So from an internet chat room, we’ve come a long way – to ‘Buzz Lightyear’s Pizza Planet’ restaurant, which amuses me enormously – but in the end it just shows that it doesn’t matter where, or when, or whether you’ve got pizza sauce on your chops, its still the most wonderful and romantic thing in the world.