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Today Was That Day... Our Engagement Story

I have been thinking a lot about the day myself and Hoff got engaged recently and so I thought I would dig this out of the My Life, My Son, My Way archives to tell you all the story...

Today Was That Day...

My love of Alfies Antiques took us on a detour on our random day out to Camden today... I wasn't expecting to come home with an engagement ring on my finger!!! Especially the one I loved so much that I'd already tried on several times before in awe of 'One Day' just maybe... Today was that day!

We woke up and packed Rhys off to his, Once monthly, over night stay at respite and decided we'd make the most of the freedom by taking a trip to Camden as we often do. I got a little distracted on the tube and we decided to hop off at Marylebone and have lunch on the roof at Alfie's then potter down to Camden. I Love Alfie's and on a sunny day there is something lovely about sitting on the roof top in London surrounded by other rooftops, eating your lunch. We strolled around Alfie's, I always pay close attention to the jewellery as I always wonder what the history is behind each piece.... And I always seem to go back to the same stall.... You see Alfie's is an indoor antique market where all the stars go! Kate Moss, Lady GaGa... blah blah... It's not just antiques and vintage clothing, It's modern art and furniture to die for too... To me it's like a Maze of wonders you just have so much to look at you are in there hours!! It's this ever growing maze that sucks you in and you always find new nooks and crannies you have never seen before. I tend to get lost a lot and I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland surrounded by such random surreal pieces of loveliness!... I think it's the surrealness of it all that takes me back there each time... the escapism if you like. Anyway....

We pottered around and I went straight to the lovely man on the Jewellery stall that always has my fave pieces... I had been to Alfies for their Christmas doo a few years back in which the Tarot card reader had said I was going to marry My best friend and at that time Hoff and I were on the brink of crossing that Friend Boyfriend barrier... She freaked me out then I went downstairs and saw this fantastic perfect ring... 'Try it on' the man said 'If it fits it's fate'... sure enough perfect fit... Odd I'd gone from umming and ahhhing about crossing the friendship line to being told I was going to marry him and finding the perfect ring all in the space of an Hour... WTF was my initial reaction but without this I'd prob still be pondering what ifs now!... anyway this same stall man was there today and we had a chat and he showed me his Sapphires... Because I've always wanted an Antique Sapphire engagement ring... way before Kate got Diana's!!!!...It's my Dads Fault he took us to so many Antique fairs as kids we have a liking for the antiques ourselves now!... so now I always look... THE particular ring from before had been sold, which was disappointing but it had been 2 years after all!... I fell in love with one particular ring that I had seen before... all over again... I tried it on and the man said... 'Perfect fit doesn't even need adjusting'... I looked at Hoff in a puppy dog eye way and said 'it's FATE!'... I was of course only joking!... I was quite happy plodding along the way we were. I smiled and took it off... after taking a pic first... just to keep an eye  on it for next time I was there. Hoff laughed and we went up to the Roof for lunch. We had some strange conversations but non that were obvious. We looked round some more then went for a walk towards the posh bit of St Johns Wood... I like to pretend I live there... One Day Maybe!!... We walked around for ages saw a gang fight on the way and everything!.... and then a collection of really posh cars literally not that far away from the fight... the economic difference was so big but was so close to each other... scarily no middle ground!!!... but we ended up back at Alfie's again anyway after walking past Lords Cricket Ground twice!... I think we did one big circle lol... Hoff needed the toilet or something so we popped back in to Alfie's & I went to look at the Vintage clothes and try not to get depressed about not having the funds to buy them all! He came back and met me at Nina's the Vintage hair salon in the middle of the market... beautiful place it is too... we walked (the opposite way this time) down towards the tube and headed to Camden... I like to just Walk around in London and get lost you see so much more than on those dusty minging tubes! 

I Love Camden so much! Anything Goes... Everyone expects to see brightly coloured hair and extravagant clothes and oddly placed piercings and tattoos so nobody bats an eyelid... It's fantastic! We went round the thousands of Market stalls in the Lock and up the High street and decided my feet wanted to kill me.... So we went to a nearby pub... 

The Worlds End... Brilliant name to be fair! We went in got our drinks, found a seat and sat down... not long after Hoff disappeared to the toilet AGAIN... but for a longer period... I just thought the obvious *cough cough*.... but when he came back he looked sheepish.... confused me but like a child I carried on throwing bits of paper at him aiming for his pint!... I'm good at that game!... 

Then It happened.....

He bent down on one knee behind the table so noone could see and underneath the picture of the grim reaper... And started tieing his shoelace... Sigh of relief came from me as he sat back up.... 

Then he did it again!!!!.... 

But this time he had a box in his hand...

He opened the box and said...

Alice Guru Baillie Will You Marry Me????..... then he got back up on his chair so nobody saw him Hahahahaha

It was THE ring, THE ring I had tried on and loved and nurtured whilst at Alfie's.... I was so shocked but instantly said YES!!.... Obviously..... nobody had even batted an eyelid at the proposal! In this packed pub in Camden a bald man had just bent down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend and nobody noticed..... must be the norm around there... like I said anything goes in Camden!...

This may be an odd setting for most but for me... It was perfect... maybe not the Grim reaper on the wall above us, but the very fact we were where we felt comfortable and on a day where we had had so much fun! Even though technically Hoff was saying that marriage was the worlds end... I thought that was funny! Sense of humour is a Big must have in my world!....

Best thing is it was as spontaneous as our random house buying and as random as us getting together after years of friendship... but that's just how we work!... He saw it, decided to do it and did it!... Even better thing is that even in the midst of the spontaneousness he actually had time to ring my Daddy for permission to marry his daughter!... altogether now....Ahhhhhhhhhh bless him!!!..... My dad's reaction... 'Of Course... as long as you pay for it' hahahaha typical Dad reaction... He was so pleased that he had taken the time to ask him first... Brownie Points there I reckon!!.... I phoned my mum to tell her and she was at work so I had to be quick! She was over the moon as any mother would be! I waited to tell others as we were heading to a family gathering (handy!!) for belated drinks for my sisters birthday. I wanted to tell her first before I announced it... I still rung Parr.... as I had to tell someone and as she's practically half of me anyway and far enough away to not tell anyone, she was a safe bet... she had a crying screaming reaction to the picture of the ring... And then So did my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, I even got a big grinned text from my RAF based Brother, who is just back from Alaska, & close friends that I text to tell flooded my inbox with squeals of delight!.... and finally Twitter & Facebook in which people were overwhelmingly lovely.... so much so, that I couldn't reply to all the messages of Congrats... so If you sent one then, Thank You very much, we are over the moon and we are looking forward to the future!!

I am Sooooooooo Happy right now!! I can't wait for the future... although Wedding plans won't start straight away mind, as we need to save for the Baillie - Hassall extravaganza..... I never do things by halves.... Watch this space!!

Life, Hoff and IAlice Hassall