The first time Paul met me, he took an instant dislike to me, you could say even hated me. We were playing volleyball with a group of people and as he takes his volleyball VERY seriously, was not enamoured by my punching the ball everytime it came near me. I don’t play volleyball very well.
However nearly eight months later and somehow we managed to become good friends and get it together. Six years later and we were still together, we started to talk about marriage on and off, but it was still a huge shock when he finally did propose. Paul was living in Watford and I was living in York and we were both finding it really tough being apart from each other when we had previously lived together.
We were due to go to Italy and Switzerland for a two week holiday at the end of August 2003 and whilst we were there we were meeting up with his best friend and his girlfriend who had been traveling around Europe for the past three months. For the month or so leading up to the holiday we had talked about weddings and what kind of ring I would like, and Paul had gone out scanning to see if he could find one. The Saturday before we were due to fly out Paul called me to tell me he had been searching all day but could not find the perfect ring so it would have to wait until we went to Paris for a long weekend in the October.
I was a little disappointed but did not try to show it as it would only mean waiting another month or so. So Paul came up to York on the Thursday night and we flew off to Italy on the Friday. Unbeknownst to me Paul has found the perfect ring but had put me off so that it would be a complete surprise. He had found the ring, taken my dad out to dinner on the Wednesday night to ask his permission, and had driven up to York on the Thursday afternoon to show my mum and ask her permission too. I was oblivious to all of this. Paul’s behaviour was slightly erratic at the airport, as he was mucking around with his carry on luggage and getting flustered, and when we went through security to the departure lounge we heard an announcement come over the tannoy asking him to go back and collect his wallet and phone as he had left them behind. I later found out that he was worried about me seeing the bag the ring was in, as he had to transfer it from his pocket to the carry on luggage and then back in his pocket without me seeing.
We spent the first few days of the holiday on our own chilling out and relaxing and enjoying one of our favourite places on this earth, Lake Como in Italy. Two days later and we met up with Andie and Liz and showed them around and enjoyed the next few days sightseeing and swimming in the Lake before moving onto Switzerland. Whilst we were staying at Lake Como Paul and Andie discovered that they were both planning to propose to me and Liz during this holiday, and compared rings but realised they would have to do it on the same day as each other. We moved onto Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland a favourite place of Liz’s from her childhood family holiday days. Again we spent the next couple of days sightseeing and enjoying the beautiful valley with the shadow of the Jungfrau mountain over it.
One of our sightseeing days included a trip up to the top of the Jungfrau by train. The journey was slow and as we got higher the altitude sickness was getting worse. Once we got to the top we wondered through ice caves, and onto the plateau of the mountain. We decided we were going to try and find the husky dogs to get a sleigh ride, but the altitute and thiness of the air made it really hard to walk any length so me and Paul decided to turn back and head up to the observation tower called ‘The Sphinx’. Being a budding Egyptologist I found this comparison more than amusing to say that least. We waited inside the complex for Andie and Liz but they seemed to be taking ages to catch up so we went up ahead of them. (I was later to find out that Andie had proposed to Liz on the plateau and that is why they took so long!).
Once we were at the top of the Sphinx we sat and looked at the view, waiting for Andie and Liz to catch up, and whilst we were sat we started to feel a bit better. When Andie and Liz finally caught up with us and Liz looked really pale, I thought she was feeling sick, but I now know why!. We went out onto the platform to have a look at the amazing view and Paul and Andie were chatting in one corner so I thought they were up to something as they always are when they get together. I then heard Paul says ‘ok let’s do it’ to Andie and he walked over to me, he asked me how I felt and I told him I felt ok so he asked if I wanted a drink of water. I drink like a fish so that answer is always yes. He opened the rucksack and preceded to take out everything from it piling them on top of my hands. At the top of the pile was a jewellery bag, and when I saw it I was stunned.
Paul then repacked the ruck sack leaving only the bag in my hand and he told me to open it. I kept saying ‘you are joking’ as I could not believe it, as I opened the bag to see a white box inside. I took the box out of the bag, and Paul told me to open it. I told him I couldn’t because if he was only joking I would kill him, (not literally). I just had to make sure he was not joking with me. Paul took the box from my hand and slowly got down on one knee and opened the box. I started to cry and just could not believe it as he asked me ‘will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?’.
I was stunned into silence and kept crying until Paul gently reminded me that he was knelt on cerrated metal and his knee was hurting quite badly and would I hurry up and make a descision. I immediately said yes and leapt into his arms still not quite believing it. As he placed the ring on my finger I looked at him and knew that this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It was then that Andie and Liz told me their happy news and there was lots of hugging and tears all round.
sThe rest of the day went by in a whirl and none of us could keep the smiles from our faces, and we celebrated that night with a bottle of wine and a cheese fondue for four.