i Editor's Letter: The perfect proposal
Oliver Duff was appointed Editor of i in June 2013. He was previously Executive Editor at The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, running the newsroom. Formerly a reporter, gossip columnist and news editor, he was fired as the magazine's bar critic after three weeks. A diver and surfer, he's interested in nature and science, politics and diplomacy.
Friday 28 June 2013
The restaurant for that night was booked. We had driven down to Devon for what my girlfriend thought was a quick break from London, to surf at our favourite beach. The engagement ring was secreted in my wetsuit. And bless our intemperate British weather: the sun blazed, the sea was calm and silken; green waves slowly peeling towards the cliffs.
Hence my absence from this slot for two days. I would have brought you all in on the plan, but my girlfriend reads i, so that would have jeopardised the surprise. As things were, I had to act quite oddly – more so than usual – disappearing off to a hedge on the A361 to phone her parents for a chat, as traffic roared past on the way to Ilfracombe.
I am an inept surfer – excellent at standing up, even more accomplished at falling off – and so at least my lacklustre performance on the board, as I pondered whether to deliver a monologue about our years together or go for the blurted willyoumarryme, did not raise suspicions of what was to come.
But it is surprisingly difficult to extract a small, precious object from a sock that was stuffed up your trouser leg, while treading deep water and trying to act normally. Thank you to the dog walker who stopped to check I wasn’t drowning.
This time of year, many of us are prone to idealising the summers of childhood – long, carefree days so hot the Mr Whippy 99 had melted before you could hand over a pound coin. (If I’m honest, several of our Augusts during the 1980s were spent sheltering behind a windbreak as cold rain drove horizontally across a Cornish beach.)
Sometimes, though, you don’t have to wait for rose-tinted hindsight to spot a perfect day. You just go to bed grinning like a fool.
She said yes.
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