My boyfriend, Neil, and I have been going out for nearly four years. For three of those years, we have been living together in his house. Earlier this year, we decided the time was right to move house, and that we would buy the new house together. After a month or so of half-hearted looking we decided to start our house search properly and arranged to view nine properties in a day, the 9th being a last-minute thing when Neil sent me an internet address to have a look at. The site simply had a photograph and the words “Four Bedrooms, in need of modernisation.”
At this point I should probably explain that Neil is a DIY enthusiast, having done most of the improvements to the current house on his own we were looking for somewhere that we could do the same on. (I, on the other hand am a “half-enthusiast” – half the time I am enthusiastic, half the time I hate it).
So, we viewed all nine in one day (never, ever again – learn from my experience!), fell in love with the ninth, and the rest (as they say) is history … well not really. Anyone who’s ever bought a house in England will know that house buying is full of little twists and turns taking you on a three (or more) month emotional rollercoaster, but we got there in the end.
That was two weeks ago today. With the day off work and unable to lie-in, we paced around the house, dallying over jobs that didn’t really need doing, trying to make the day go faster, until that phone call. “The money’s gone through – the house is yours!” Then we were off, shoes on, grab champagne out of the fridge and two wineglasses (we don’t posses any champagne flutes), into the car and over to the estate agents. Keys obtained and signed for, we were back in the car and over to the house. Up the driveway (OUR driveway), we jumped out the car and up to the front door. As I turned the key in the door Neil stopped me.
“Hold on.” he said. I turned to look at him.
“I suppose I better do this properly…” he says, going down on one knee.
At this point I can’t remember what I said, but I know I said, “Oh my God” more than once. And I know I said “No!” – not as in ‘no, don’t do it’, but ‘no – I don’t believe it!’
Anyway, he dug his hand in his pocket and pulled out a ring box. “Will you marry me?”
Well, of course, the answer was “Yes”.
People asked me afterwards if I had known. Absolutely not! The timing, in practical terms, was all wrong. Neil’s a practical guy, and house buying is not a cheap process, on top of that Neil’s sister had got engaged just three months before. But in emotional terms, the timing was all right – this house was/is our future together, this ring (and it’s gorgeous – in case you were wondering) is our life together.