Friday, 1 October 2010

Introducing my darling Mr PB: a love story Part 3

Sorry for that brief break in transmission – Planet Baby required more than usual attention today. Rightio, it’s high time I put you all out of your misery and wrapped this love story up! Okay, where was I? Ah, yes, on the plane back to Hobart after the romantic European sojourn with Mr PB. My arts/law degree completed, I then studied for my Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice in Hobart. Another six months of burning the midnight oil ensued as I haunted the computer lab every evening, tapping out e-mails to Mr PB over in the UK. Many long hours were spent writing even more love letters (even today, 15 years later, I still struggle to summons the effort to handwrite a letter – I think I wrote too many in that year!). Once a month, we permitted ourselves the luxury of a 10 minute phonecall. Mr PB busied himself in finishing his thesis. The weeks dragged on. Mr PB missed my graduation.

Then finally, after the longest year of my life, Mr PB handed in his thesis and winged it with Qantas back to Hobart (after missing his first flight – can you believe it?!) and into my life again. Ah, bliss. The airport reunion was sweet and tender and many happy tears were shed. We’d made it through to the other side! He attended my Legal Prac graduation, a joy after missing the other one.

Then another challenging time began for us. At that time, Tasmania was still emerging, tentatively, from the ‘recession we had to have’. Being a state so reliant on small business, the recession had really hit the place hard. After many months, Mr PB finally found a job in Hobart. I started my year working as an apprentice solicitor (a very quaint, old-fashioned term – I was ‘apprenticed’ to a ‘master’). So we both were earning for the first time, admittedly on paltry wages. Mr PB found a cute little weatherboard cottage to share with two females and life appeared to be on the up. I was still living with my parents at this stage but we spent all our free time together. Here we are at my work Christmas party with Hawaiian theme, Mr PB dressed as Captain Cook!

However, as luck would have it, his job didn’t work out and he ended up working at a cheese factory in the tiny town of Burnie, on the north-west coast of Tasmania. But yes, that meant yet another separation for us as we now lived at opposite ends of the state. It was a 3 ½ hour drive along sections of road which could be quite treacherous in winter, with black ice and fog ever-present hazards. We took turns to commute on alternate weekends. That required a considerable amount of effort – the things you do for love! After one particularly hairy drive home (being tailgated on high beam by a maniac travelling at 100 kmh in thick fog which scarcely allowed me to see two metres in front of me, let alone whether there was anywhere safe for me to pull over), I decided to catch the bus instead. That added another hour to the journey as the bus seemed to stop at every tin can along the way. That made for a very tired (if not grumpy) camper once we pulled into the bus depot in Burnie.

My Burnie weekends were a mixed blessing. Mr PB had a flatmate but he lived downstairs so we really had the run of the place most of the time. Finally, after years of waiting, we had some privacy and time to ourselves – the sweet joy! However, from the moment I arrived, the clock started ticking down until my departure. Hours were precious. On his Hobart weekends, we stayed at his place (he let his room on a reduced rate from his flatmates, given he was only there for two days out of every fourteen). It was stressful juggling spending as much time as we could together while also seeing our family and friends.

Anyway, fast forward to 8 February 1998 (yes, we’re almost there!). Mr PB was in Hobart as it was the 10th anniversary of the Bicentennial Tall Ships Race from Sydney to Hobart. Quite a few graceful Tall Ships were berthed at the wharves and we gleefully clambered aboard them, eager to meet the sailors from foreign shores. Hobart was abuzz. He stayed with me at my parents’ house on the Friday night. He seemed a little agitated and kept waking me up all thorough the night as he couldn’t sleep.

Then at the ungodly hour of 6 am, he sprang out of bed and declared he wanted to start the day. Sleep deprived, I muttered something inaudible and buried myself under my doona. Soon, he started pestering me to get up “to go and look at the Russian Tall Ship before it sets sail this morning”. He suggested we go out for breakfast so I dressed hurriedly and jumped in the car.

Mr PB took the wheel and soon we were heading for the wharves. Then we drove past them. Perplexed, I asked why. He told me we’d get a better view from another angle. He kept driving. Then he pulled into the carpark of the Royal Botanical Gardens (the bottom one, near the water, for you Hobartians). By this stage, I was a bit suspicious but I tried to just go with the flow as he seemed very determined about something. As requested, I walked up to the old convict-built wall and lingered in this pretty doorway.

He told me to wait there for “Five minutes”. Five minutes passed. And another. And another. Now I was getting cross as we had planned to go out on my godfather’s yacht with both our families to farewell the Tall Ships. Time was becoming tighter. Finally, Mr PB appeared, slightly flustered, took my hand and swiftly led me down the grassy slopes to a tiny white timber rotunda at the bottom of the Gardens. You won’t believe the sight which awaited me! There was a table, prettily set with a white linen tablecloth and serviettes (with serviette rings to boot), my parents’ silver cutlery, crystal glasses of champagne, a lit candle in a silver candlestick and a red rose. He dropped to his bended knee and asked “Will you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?”. Joyful tears cascaded down my cheeks as I whispered a tiny “Yes!”, my heart a-pounding. He slipped a sparkling diamond ring on my ring finger (we had actually chosen it together some months before). Our kiss was tender and long. Finally. Here's a photo we took with the self-timer.

Mr PB then swung into action, serving up champagne and scrumptious scrambled eggs he had whipped up using our little camping stove. He then read out to me a fax he had sent to my godfather. Suddenly his devious plans were laid bare! He had sneakily conspired with my godfather and his wife to invite both our families to watch the Tall Ships leave. That over, it would then provide the perfect time to announce our engagement to our dear ones. Now I was in on his plan, time suddenly was of the essence. We hurriedly carted everything (he had ferried over the table, the chairs, the food, the cutlery – everything. No wonder it had taken him so long.) back to the car and whizzed off to the yacht club. We hid my engagement ring in Mr PB’s pocket. Yes, a loose diamond ring in a pocket on the open water was dangerous, I know.

All family members present and accounted for, we boarded my godfather’s yacht and set sail. My godfather gave me a sly wink and that was it. We both tried to act normally. It was a cold, squally day so our families were distracted and didn’t notice Mr PB continually reaching into his pocket to check the ring was there! After two (extraordinarily long) hours, the Tall Ships headed out the harbour and we turned around, deciding to moor near Government House for lunch. We raised our champagne glasses as Mr PB announced a toast “To the Tall Ships!”. “To the Tall Ships!” we all chimed. I surreptitiously slipped my engagement ring on.

Then Mr PB raised his glass again. “And here’s to my lovely fiancĂ©e, Jane! We just got engaged!”. My mother’s mouth opened and shut. No words came out. She was dumbstruck! My father and sister leapt up and embraced us, crying happy tears. Mr PB’s parents did likewise. They were quite calm about it as Mr PB was their sixth (and last) child to get engaged. Meanwhile, my mum had recovered sufficiently to grab us both in a long embrace. Here we are immediately afterwards with ring and champagne, looking windswept. O happy day!

And that’s where I’ll leave it tonight – next, you’ll see our wedding!



  1. Ah! What a beautiful love story! I can't wait to see the wedding. You are such a gorgeous couple. x

  2. Such a beautiful story Jane. What a challenge being so far apart for so long. Can't wait for the wedding. I was married in 1997 so very similar era! A-M xx

  3. Oh that is so romantic! Love all the thought that he put into his proposal. Just beautiful!

  4. I have goosebumps and tears stinging my eyes! What a love story!
    X Briohny

  5. Why, thanks, ladies! Yes, he's a keeper. Lucky me. That was actually his Plan C for the proposal - it was meant to have happened the day before but twice, the rainy weather and friends arriving unannounced intervened! J x

  6. Awww, what a lovely story and what LENGTHS Mr PB went to, hauling the table out etc. Nice one Mr PB! Loving the story Jane :)

  7. Aw, Jane, you are obviously a couple that's just meant to be! Looking forward to he wedding chapter of your love story. x

  8. You're both very sweet. I won't keep you hanging! J x

  9. thank you for your comment!!!

  10. OK, the last instalment nearly made me cry....this one DID! What a beautiful proposal story Jane!!~ Tina xx

  11. My pleasure, Emanuela - you are so very talented. I hope your Etsy shop is very successful for you. Oh, Tina, you sweetheart! J x

  12. Oh, that is so sweet! I love hearing people's engagement stories. I didn't get a proper proposal so I live vicariously through others ;)

  13. I'm sure you're not alone there, Abby. Not when so many people live together for years before they marry. So pleased it made you smile. J x

  14. I'm so glad you jumped on board for the 'Bling On Love' hop sweet Jane, it has meant that I could track back and read this truly special story.

    Mr PB, you've got yourself quite a catch!

    Felicity x

  15. Ah, Felicity, I'm delighted you found this. Yes, I think we both reeled in 'keepers'!

    And thanks, Leigh - you were very patient to read through that epic ☺. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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