Next month Mr V and I will be celebrating an anniversary ending with a zero. I can’t believe where the years have gone actually.
I’ve been married before (my first husband is deceased). I met my children’s father at the age of 18. It was a bit of a whirlwind thing and, back then, we didn’t have any spare cash. My engagement ring came from Argos and cost ninety-nine pounds.
I didn’t think I’d re-marry, but life has a funny old way of telling you otherwise. The great thing about getting married later in life is that finances are usually more solid. So when I accepted Mr V’s proposal of marriage, instead of pouring over a catalogue for an engagement ring, I found myself walking the pavements of Hatton Garden. At the time I was working for solicitors in the City, and Hatton Garden was just around the corner. ‘Go along in your lunch hour and see what you like,’ said Mr V.
I defy any woman to turn her nose up at a diamond or three. I certainly didn’t. Rather my nose turned into that of a sniffer dog. And I was off, tail up nose down, seeking out my ring. I knew it was there, I just had to find it.
Hatton Garden was and still is mesmerising. The pavements are lined with gorgeous brightly lit shops showcasing vast displays of jewellery. Intricate, complicated, simple, fashionable, retro, traditional, contemporary... I’d barely gone a dozen paces when my nose twitched uncontrollably. And there it was, nestling in a velvet cushion pad. The shop’s ever-so-craftily-placed lights bounced off a diamond of which to be proud. I pushed the door open and went inside.
‘Hello, do sit down; can I make you a tea? Coffee? Have a sweetie!’ A bowl of chocolates were pushed in front of me, and a plush chair pulled out. I sank down, feeling like a VIP. Which, in hindsight, I was. Very Important Purchaser. The ring was brought out. The jeweller slipped it on my third finger. A perfect fit. It had my name all over it. I glanced at the price tag. That bit had Mr V’s name all over it.
I floated back to the office with my mobile clamped to one ear. ‘I’ve found it!’ I sang. Mr V’s response wasn’t as enthusiastic as I’d hoped. ‘You’re not having the first ring you’ve clapped eyes on.’ There then followed a week of intense ring shopping with Mr V marching me into – I do not lie – every single local jeweller in the Kent vicinity. Nothing compared to that first ring. In time, I returned to Hatton Garden, this time with my fiancé. The jeweller slid the ring on my finger and I fell in love with it all over again. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Except Mr V promised me, all those years ago, that in 2012 he would buy me an eternity ring. So once again I found myself back in Hatton Garden, standing outside that first jewellery shop. I knew what I wanted. A bespoke design to match my engagement ring. The jeweller pushed a piece of paper across the glass counter. On it was written a figure. Mr V choked on his chocolate and nearly fell off his plush chair. ‘Thank you so much,’ my husband’s larynx struggled for composure, ‘we’ll be back in a bit.’
We were meant to be going out for a romantic lunch. Instead I found myself encountering déjà vu as Mr V propelled me along the pavement randomly diving off into different shops. Once again it was time to suss out the best deal, the biggest bargain, the greatest choice. Except I knew what I wanted. And other jewellers said my design was either beyond their craftsmanship or too intricate for them to attempt. The romantic lunch ended up being a very rushed tuna sandwich in Pret.
Meanwhile we’re waiting for a mock-up picture to be emailed. Mr V can’t envisage the design I can see in my head. So patience is required for a little longer. But I really can’t wait to get my eternity ring! Which reminds me...what do men call the three rings of marriage? Engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering...