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Monday, 23 April 2007


I shall always be scarred by the memory of a day trip James and I once took on the Eurostar to Paris.

When we were going out together, James invited me join him on a trip visit a super new Conran restaurant Alcazar in Paris. I simply loved Mezzo and Quaglino's, and I had never been to Paris, so I was over the moon!

The date of the proposed trip co-incided with the anniversary of our being together for eighteen months and also my 3oth birthday! Naturally as a girl of almost thirty years I attached huge significance to this trip. Clearly, James intended to propose. Hurrah!!! My months of adhering to "The Rules" were finally about to pay off.

My body clock was ticking so loudly in my ears at the time that I could hardly follow the line of poor James' conversation.

I promptly informed all of my girlfriends, my flat mate Katie Bancroft, my mother and my sisters that James was intending to propose. I bought myself a suitable new outfit; a baby blue cashmere cardigan, a black pencil skirt, and a super new Mac lipstick and Hermes scarf. I was appropriately attired for a proposal of marriage in Paris. I had rehearsed my look of surprise so many times in the bathroom mirror, I could surely have given Meryl Streep a run for her money in a believability contest.

There we were on that romantic Bridge on the river Seine, in front of Notre Dame - the perfect romantic location. James went down on one knee, I welled up with excitement and emotion - he tied his shoe lace and stood up. James ate the dreadful meal (steak tartare is actually raw meat with an uncooked quails egg on the top! OHMYGOD) at the superb restaurant, nothing was said, no diamond in the glass of champagne. At this point I was becoming panic stricken. I stared at him unblinking, wide eyed in horror.

Walking through the streets of Paris, I began to hug James, practically frisking him, seeking evidence of a ring box about his person, but nothing was to be found. I tried to convince myself that this was a good sign, who wants to be presented with a diamond, when you can help to choose it?

In the queue for the lift for the Eiffel Tower I decided I could not wait any longer...

"Have you anything you wanted to ask me? Any important questions?" I enquired.

"Yes", replied James. "Now that you mention it, you owe me £90 for the Eurostar". I almost swallowed my teeth with disgust.

"So you are not intending to propose to me then?" I demanded.

"No" he replied simply.

I could not breathe in with the shock. I didn't speak to him for a full twenty four hours after that. I really wanted to dump him in disgust. How could I face my friends with no ring? How would I face Katie Bancroft? She would instruct me to show him the door! She was constantly telling me not to put up with any nonsense.

But I couldn't stop seeing James, you see, I love him.

Kate Bancroft is a very difficult woman to please. She still lives in that shared flat in Gainsboro Court SE21...


drunkmummy said...

So, come on Dulwich Mum, how did James eventually propose?
After blotting his copybook in Paris, I hope it was more romantic than simply belching at the end of Match Of The Day, and asking you if you were still awake.

dulwichmum said...

Darling Drunk Mummy,

I seem to remember him muttering those three romantic words one evening (while I wept into my copy of The Rules)... "I give in."

I know, he is a romantic fool!

rilly super said...

oh dulwichmum, picturing the scene you describe on that bridge in paris, even Juliette Binoche in les amants du pont neuf can not have been more desolate. She didn't quite see eye to eye with her beau in that film either, but in her case it was for a much more trivial reason, she was just blind, but you were blindly in love and that is much much worse

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Darling. Your blog lightens my day as you share your deepest darkest secrets with us all - I can just see you frisking poor James in Gay Paree. Was it how you frisked him that Christmas when he hid your present about his person?

debio said...

Oh, this 'love thing'....Who was it who said 'makes fools of us all'? Or am I thinking of something else?

Hope your hubby reads this and is less suspicious of this 'blog thing'. Lucky man.

antarctichousehusband said...

He may not be a die hard romantic (the Eurostar ticket bit had me in stitches), but he's definitely a lucky man. And something tells me you don't let him forget it...

East of Dulwich said...

I wonder if this proves what I've so often observed: you rarely find two romantics in the same relationship. More research is needed in this area - I feel a funding application coming on.

dulwichmum said...

Darling Rilly, things could have been very different if only James had not been such a dish!

Sweet Nunhead Mum of One, he will keep trying that "hide the gift about ones person trick!" See who is the one desperate for love now?

Dear Debio,

Now he is more horrified than ever, and simply refers to me as Jordan!

Perfect Mr Antarctichousehusband, the request for payment for the Eurostar ticket almost had James in stitches too!

East of Dulwich dear heart, if a piece of ethnographic research is in order - I am the girl to talk to!