Part one - how we met is a few posts down.
An Aussie at the edge of the known world... Or how Juni said, “Yes!”
Whirlwind romance, possibly, if that's what you call going to work, going out afterwards and then going back to our shared house every day a whirlwind (no pesky marking or planning in the mid 80s folks). People at school thought we made a cute couple. Compared to the rest of the staff we were pretty normal, but that is another whole story in itself - worthy of its own book. Although, I am pretty sure no one would believe it.
About one week into my first term working they found asbestos in the school and after a rather lame attempt to get the staff to meet every day to discuss work we had 4 weeks 'working from home'.
Days were spent wandering London, laughing and joking and if I remember rightly numerous trips to the then popular, and very good, Taco Bells. I got to meet, and know, some of Juni's Aussie friends and get a first taste of good old Aussie culture (beer, wine and a bit more beer).
Our first Christmas was spent in a snowy London and Matlock (Derbyshire) with yearnings for the sunshine. But a dodgy cream cheese and onion sandwich put paid to our half -term planned trip to Southern France in quite a spectacular way.
Avert eyes for about five lines if you are squeamish.
For those readers who know Juni's penchant for finding fart and poo jokes hilarious beyond their worth you can imagine what she was like when the sandwich hit. It was my gurgling stomach, quick leap out of bed to sprint to the sanctuary of the loo, followed by what can only be described as a fart with a follow through that got her rolling around laughing and screaming... This followed by about twenty minutes ribbing and giggling until the same sandwich wrought the same vengeance on her! It did however exclude us from making the journey to Dover and the ferry the next day - the only trips made were upstairs to the loo!
We did manage a brief few days in a very cold and wet Newquay – Juni was very amused at my ‘hours’ in the raging, cold Fistral surf. Hilarity not due just to the fact from the car (you could almost park on the beach in those days) she couldn’t see ‘a bloody thing’ but rather to my ‘hours’ out in the overhead surf on a hired board and summer wetsuit being actually about eighteen minutes!
So, it was the Easter holidays until we managed to escape to Portugal; to a delightful (and, at the time, unknown to Brits on the whole) couple of beaches at Sagres. We had become basically inseparable by this time, much to the amusement and actual disbelief of most of Juni's friends. Arriving at Sagres by bus we were met by a line of old ladies enticing us to use their B&B. This was how it was done pre internet you youngies... You turned up somewhere and followed the person who looked the nicest!
We definitely came up trumps... Over the next couple of weeks we became part of the old lady’s family. So much so that when we left for three days but went back she actually vacated her room for us as the 'guest room' was taken for a night! Mornings were spent on the beach, either the Atlantic side if there was surf or round the point in the beginnings of the med if there wasn’t. Afternoon sea breezes meant walks along the numerous points there or trips further afield.
It was on one of these walks to the furthest point of the European mainland that it happened. The Portuguese adventurers called it the edge of the known world – as in those times it was, at least as far as the Europeans were concerned. I remember it was a very hot, very long and very windy walk to the point. But as always we were happy, walking along holding hands and laughing (life was easy and happy in those days I suppose) and it didn’t matter about the heat or near dehydration. We got to the end and it did indeed feel like the end of the world as we stared over the seemingly endless ocean.
Now, I must admit that I had by this time taken to proposing to Juni every so often when it felt right – although at no time did she ever say no (although due to her experience of her parents’ marriage it was not something she ‘ever’ wanted to do) these attempts were met with a slap and a laugh/look. But the end of the world seemed like a good place to me so I leapt (yeh I was fit and thin enough to do it in those days) onto the wall at the edge of the world (incidentally I also discovered mid landing that health and safety was different in Portugal and indeed the chest high wall was 'at the end of the world' and on top of a very, very high cliff – but hey that added to the romance surely) and proclaimed my love to Juni (and the group of bemused German tourists) leapt off onto one knee and asked her to marry me.
I was ready to roll away sideways to avoid the oncoming slap and then almost fell over in shock when the words,
“ OK Cobba,” and a laugh came at me instead. I’d like to say I jumped up and embraced her to the cheers of the before mentioned German tourists – but I can’t. In fact I remember being confused and actually asking,
“Are you sure duck?”
So there you have it, how a Sheila eventually said, “Yes.”