• Wendy Radley

A 'King Kong' Proposal

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

I'm Wendy and I'm happily married to Andy. I'm often asked about it on social media and I cant actually remember when or why I started referring to Andy as "The Hubster" and to be fair 'King Kong' might have been a more suitable pet name for reasons you‘re about to discover! Although 'Hubster' is my preferred nickname for him, there are others: none of which I would dare repeat here though! Haha!

Photo taken by A. Radley. August 2019

So what can I tell you about us? Well to start at the beginning we met on a blind date, only it wasn't with each other! I was set up by a match-maker friend to meet a guy she knew at a pub. I think it was quickly clear to both of us it was not a match made in heaven! Later that evening I remember a "blonde Adonis" with a floppy fringe and swagger walking into the pub and we were introduced. He bought me a drink, performed his now legendary 'Magic Thumb Trick' impressing me by making a ten pound note disappear in front of my eyes and what can I say I was smitten. (Andy often jokes that I've been making his tenners disappear ever since! Ha!)

Fast forward a couple of years and he surprised me with a marriage proposal in his own unique way: I was dining out with a good friend in a packed local restaurant when a full-sized silver-back gorilla walked in! I kid you not this thing looked so life-like. As you might imagine the whole place came to a standstill: diners sat staring forks poised mid-air and all eyes were drawn to this most unexpected spectacle. Clearly a person wearing a very good gorilla costume, 'King Kong' proceeded to walk the length of the restaurant heading towards our end of the room. I can remember thinking somebody must have hired a Kissogram as a surprise for one of the diners and yet the beast continued to make a beeline towards our table! My friend Lou was in on it of course and performed an oscar-worthy performance that night, even placing a banana on our table which I only noticed later. Without a word the gorilla reached our table, my heart was in my mouth and my brain just couldn't process what was happening as 'King Kong' suddenly fell down on one knee, a huge paw reaching up to remove his gorilla head to reveal Andy’s face beneath! In front of Lou and a restaurant full of strangers he asked me to marry him! I don't think I‘ve ever been that shocked before... or since. My jaw literally dropped open with shock and I was rendered speechless not for long though, I did manage to say “yes”. The restaurant erupted with applause and the manager brought over champagne, it was a magical night.

Louise said her goodbyes and we left the restaurant as a newly engaged couple. 'King Kong' drove me straight to my parents home, I couldn't wait to tell them our news. I was disappointed to find them out so we let ourselves in and waited. When mum and dad's car pulled onto the drive Andy swiftly put his head back on and hid in their downstairs loo. I met them in the hallway and as we said our hellos my dad felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around to be faced with a gorilla! I’ve never seen someone jump so high in my life! Andy promptly revealed his true identity and I invited them to say hello to their new Son In Law. Whenever he's asked why he proposed as a gorilla, The Hubster always replies he wanted it to be "memorable". It's safe to say he achieved that!

Photo by A. Radley. February 2020

We've been married almost 22 years now, in love for 25 and like most couples we've shared a few of life's ups and downs together. We don't always agree on things and we often lock horns; mainly about what he calls my "insistence that I'm always right" (I am. Ha!) and what I refer to as his "hoarding" like the time he refused to throw out a kagool he hadn't worn for 30 years. Who does that?! (I'll be in trouble for mentioning that! Oops!) We differ in our tastes in Fashion and Music (He likes Billy Bragg say no more! Oops I'll be in trouble for that too' Ha!)

In spite of this we make each other laugh every day, still find each other interesting and he can still surprise me even after all this time. The Hubster is one of the kindest, calmest and most patient people I know (some would say he has to be to live with me!) He has this totally Out-Of-The-Box way of thinking, often coming up with ingenious plans in order to put my creative (or nutty) ideas into action. He can also turn his hand to anything practical like DIY having buit a conservatory and installed a bathroom and a kitchen in our previous homes. This comes in very handy living here now in our 150 year old cottage (Just don't ever ask him to build a Pergola...but that's another story!)

We are fortunate that the previous owners took really good care of the cottage however there are a few upgrades we plan to carry out, in particular replacing windows and doors to prevent the wind whistling through the gaps and shaking the doors in their frames. There are a few bathrooms in need of some modernising also and decorating throughout to put our own stamp on our new home. We‘re currently converting a concrete stable block into a new log-cabin style Flower Studio for my business, it’s at the far end of our land and I’m looking forward to moving all my flowers and floristry tools down there and working in a space that’s separate to the house.

Photo by A. Radley. January 2020 In addition the Hubster and I have submitted a planning application to convert the annex into a lovely self-contained Bungalow for my parents to move into. I've always wanted to be able to look after them in their later years if and when they need a little help and I'm looking forward to sharing this wonderful place with them. We are hopeful the building work might be completed in time for them to move in during the Summer. We will employ local architects, builders and trades people for the construction elements however both Andy and my dad like to get their hands dirty and will do as much as they can themselves. Both enjoy hands on DIY projects and are very good at it. I prefer the planning and designing stages, producing decorating schemes for each room and creating flower installations and other hand-made items to compliment them. I’m happy stripping and painting walls and hanging wallpaper too in fact Andy says I'm a “dab hand” at it. Between us I think we make a good team; The Hubster has the practical skills and I like to think I bring a little creativity and artistic merit to our shared home projects. This might explain why recently we’ve been labelled by a few as "The Dick and Angel of Wales" on social media! It‘s the nicest of compliments and puts a smile on our faces each time we read these comments particularly as we’ve always loved watching ‘Escape To The Chateau' together. Dick and Angel Strawbridge are very inspirational and following their ‘journey’ motivated Andy and I and gave us the courage to take the plunge with our 'Escape To Wales'. Seeing others take a chance, following their dreams and making a success of it gave the Hubster and I the confidence to want to try it for ourselves.

As well as renovating, decorating and updating our new home the Hubster and I share other interests including; family time, cooking, gardening, socialising, walking, eating out and pampering our two pooches. Although he lost his trademark floppy fringe a long time ago The Hubster will always be my 'Blonde Adonis'.

Photo by A. Radley. Llangollen. New Year 2020 The four of us together with me looking spectacularly knackered following a party-packed festive season!

Our two lovely sons; Dan and Oliver are grown up and have moved out of the family home. Dan lives and works in York, Oliver is studying at uni. I would love to tell you more about them but they’ll likely roll their eyes and accuse me of "over-sharing" and "waffling" again so I won't. There's no doubt both will get regular mentions in my future posts though.

Photo by W. Radley. Our Pooches. January 2020

Then there are the other two loves of my life, our pooches; Sausage is our 4 year old Labradoodle although he actually looks more sheep than dog thanks to his "woolly" coat and Rolo is our 9 year old golden Labrador. I talk to them all day long and I swear they understand me, in fact sometimes I‘m sure they answer back! Ha! Rolo is very calm, gentle and intelligent whilst Sausage is a little high maintenance, giddy and very cheeky. They say pets are like their owners don't they; I'll let you be the judge! Haha!

So that's our little family unit in a nutshell. I'll fill in the gaps as we go along.

** NEW POST COMING SOON: Our Escape To The Country...or Don’t Just Watch It, Do It**

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