Through the barricades

I planned to take Alice to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals in Toulose on Saturday, 12th April 2003. The Saints were playing and I had ear marked a trip, but this was just a ruse. I had asked her father’s permission to take his daughters hand in marriage. I wanted to do it the traditional way, but hadn’t expected the response that I got. Edward had been a senior partner in a law firm in Somerset and a rugby player. His first reaction upon hearing my question was not to grant me permission or congratulate me but to ask if I really knew her. It was an odd question but one that I felt qualified to answer. I have a great deal of affection for Ed. He was keen that his daughter and I had thought about the time-honoured tradition of marriage before we entered into it. I had a diametrically different mindset to Ed, being very right-hand brain, and so we battled our way through lunch before he eventually gave me his permission.

Dad and Joy’s immediate reaction was happy relief. Finally someone had relieved them of their burden. They were very generous. They offered to sell me Mum’s diamond ring at its market value, which was considerable. The sale of the business enabled me to buy it and as soon as I presented them with a cheque they donated this back to the wedding fund. I took that ring to Carcassonne, a walled medieval town in the Languedoc region of southwest France.


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