We’ve just come back from the most fantastic weekend at the Castle Leslie estate in Ireland, where He booked a surprise weekend away for another anniversary.
What could be better than a castle, with its own equestrian centre, and no TVs or laptops, to leave the stresses of everyday life behind?
After my initial excitement at our arrival, He explained that the surprises didn’t stop there and that there was an activity planned every day. On that evening there was a top Irish showjumper doing a live demo at the equestrian centre. HEAVEN.
The next morning, I was keen to find out what the day had in store.
“Your surprise today is that we are going riding after breakfast,” He said, distractedly.
“So can I wear my jodhpurs down to breakfast?” I enquired.
“No, you have to look nice. I need to show you something quickly before we go,” he said.
I recoiled a bit at this — surely, I always ‘looked nice’ in my jodhpurs?! Hmm…
In a flimsy blazer and pumps, I wandered down to breakfast (where He was monosyllabic) and then followed Him into the drawing room.
“We need to take a walk outside,” He said. “I want to show you something that I found yesterday.”
It was a wild grey windy morning — I looked at Him as if He had gone mad.
What on earth did we need to see outside, that we couldn’t already see out the window from the comfort of this very warm, cozy drawing room? I thought as He frogmarched me outside in the cold, blustery weather.
“Oh. My. Goodness.” I thought, excitedly. “This is it! He’s finally got me a PONY!”
My imagination went wild, envisioning what He had picked. The showjumper running the demo the previous night had brought some horses that were for sale — maybe one of them would be coming back to the UK with us…?
As we walked, I was listening out intently to the sound of hooves on gravel.
Reaching the top of the path that looked out onto the wide lake, I scanned the view, wondering where a surprise horse could be hidden. There was an old Victorian boat house on the lake, which seemed like the most obvious candidate.
Yet to my surprise, He stood at the top of the path and made no move towards the boathouse.
“Can we go and check out over there?” I asked impatiently.
“In a second, just wait.”
By this point, I could no longer feel my toes and was keen to see if my guess was correct, and there was a horse waiting!
Impatiently, I turned to talked to Him… and was alarmed to see Him down on one knee.
With a ring.
A very big, very unexpected, glittery ring.
I won’t bore you with the tedious details (there was a “Yes” and a lot of shock and tears), but after a quick glass of bubbles, we were changed and on horses for a celebratory hack (pictured top)! We also tackled some of the famous Castle Leslie cross-country course — nothing like just getting engaged and then scaring your pants off over some rather solid jumps (although my talented Irish mount more than made up for my wimpish ways!)
However, at dinner (and a few more glasses of bubbles) later, I did confess to Him my earlier miscalculation of the situation, which He thankfully found rather funny. It was made funnier by the fact I hadn’t been too off the mark, as the next part of my surprise, He revealed, was a handwritten ‘voucher’ for two horses — one for me and one for Him, valid ‘from 2019 onwards’!