Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The Proposal - by Kate

I'm not a great follower of tradition. More a purloiner of those I think I can use. Which is why, when Theo announced his intention of making me his intended (a very welcome intention), I thought perhaps it was time to resurrect the Age of Chivalry. Courtly Love. Which, if I remember rightly from my English Lit O' Level, involves the Fair Maiden giving her Knight In Shining Armour three difficult and dangerous tasks to fulfil before favouring him with her hand. In marriage, just to make that clear. After all, we'd only been together a few months and it seemed reasonable to make sure it wasn't just the cider talking.
So he was sent forth with the following instructions:
1. Clear your overdraft
2. Write your MSc dissertation
3. Ask permission of both my parents
I reckoned a little belt-tightening and careful husbandry (good practice, after all) would take care of the first; a lot of harrumphing in front of books and computer the second; and a display of true valour the third.
Number One, the tricky alchemy of turning red to black, was pulled off with the help of a new, full-time job and more importantly, its wages.
For a while, Number Two seemed locked in a loop of determination, cups of tea, damnation and despair. But at last, enlightenment came, fifteen thousand words (plus bibliography) were committed to paper and life as a post-graduate student was laid to rest, amen.
As for Number Three, neither parent even attempted to hide their relief at the prospect of finally getting shot of their oldest daughter (especially once they realised they weren't expected to pay for the wedding) and capitulated with disappointing ease.
Of course, once the tasks were fulfilled, I fell easy victim to all sorts hilarious antics from Theo. Like sinking to the ground with a meaningful look in his eyes, then tying his shoelaces. Or the birthday present, announced with hand in breast-pocket and the words, “I've got a very special piece of jewellery for you, Darling...” which turned out to be a necklace. In mitigation, it was pretty special.
In the end, the proposal came on his birthday, almost exactly a month after all the conditions had been satisfied. I was reaching the end of the Drive programme on BBC Radio Bristol (sitting in for Ben Prater, the usual presenter, who'd just notched up his second child) when in walked my gallant suitor, bearing a box of chocolates and a bottle of Champagne (sword and shield).
Thus, with the romantic words (mine) “It's seven o'clock, here's the news with John Armstrong,” he dropped to his knees, asked me to marry him and produced a ring. Which didn't quite fit. But it was only a minor setback. How could I say anything other than yes when such hopeful, shining eyes were gazing upon me? He was and is, after all, My Knight In Shining Armour. No Fair Maiden would do any different. And nor would I.


  1. Does this mean Theo now has the money to have a haircut?

  2. All will be revealed in the next thrilling episodes....