2013 hasn't been the nicest of years. I lost one of my best friends and the world as a whole lost a lot of good people and gifted artists. Okay, we lost Maggie Thatcher as well, and good riddance, but that doesn't really make up for it.
On the other hand, something really good happened yesterday.
I sneaked up to Liverpool on a day return ticket, and with a little help from the ever-reigning Cate's work colleagues Lucy and Jill (thanks ladies!) was hiding behind the Christmas tree in the foyer of her office when she came downstairs, supposedly to sign for a package. Except that it was the end of her shift, and she was heading out the door.
So I stepped out from behind the tree and called her name. Cate then did the most perfect double-take I've ever seen in real-life, gawped and said 'What the fuck are you doing here?' (I will tell our grandchildren of this.)
I explained that I'd been missing her a great deal and couldn't wait another day to see her - oh, and by the same token...
I went down on one knee (with a brief mental prayer for the integrity of my trousers) and took out a small hinged box. At which point Cate saw her work colleagues watching and with a cry of 'not in front of everyone!' ran outside in a fit of mortified embarrassment. (Yes, I'll be telling our grandchildren about this too.)
After a short chase, I asked her properly, on the Pier Head at Liverpool: 'Cate Gardner, will you marry me?'
She said yes.
Happy 2014, everybody.