Penny and Sam
Sam and I absolutely love the night sky. It’s become a huge part of our relationship. We spend some of our most amazing date nights laying on the beach looking up at the stars, and many of the gifts we give each other are to do with the sky in some way. Sam is even stored in my phone under “My Sun and Stars” (yeah, ok, that’s half because it’s a nickname to do with the sky, and half because we’re GoT geeks, but y’know, whatever…) In the past he’s bought me some beautiful gifts to symbolise our love for the sky, such as a night sky pandora charm, an acre of the moon and my very own star. Recently we’ve taken a couple of trips to the planetarium in Greenwich to see some of the spectacular shows, and a couple of months ago, he bought me my first proper telescope, so we can begin to look closely and take photos of all the wonderful activity that we can see in the sky at night. And, obviously, the most amazing thing of all, he organised a surprise holiday to Scotland last November, to see the northern lights.
Wednesday began like any other day.. we were both off work and had plans to do some work in the garden, but as I woke up, I heard rain falling quite heavily, so we abandoned our plans to pick up some fence posts and panels and were in no way rushing to get up and out of bed. I had a meeting in town to attend around lunchtime, so I was pottering around getting ready to go to that, and we were just saying that it’s a shame to waste the day and that we should do something fun, as we don’t have much time off together. We couldn’t decide what to do, so once I had returned from my meeting, Sam suggested just getting in the car and taking a random drive and see where we end up… which, was in no way unusual. We often have no idea where we’re going and just go wherever the car takes us. As it was still raining, we put coats, umbrellas and everything in the car, along with the camera and tripod (as we always do when we go out, just incase we find a good location spot) and set off on our journey to the unknown. …Or so I thought anyway.
The car took us to Norwich, where we spent the afternoon looking around the town and shopping. We had Thai food for dinner, which was actually quite romantic as Sam tried to teach me how to eat with chopsticks. *That is sooooooo hard to do btw!* After laughing at me attempting to eat with sticks and taking what felt like three hours to eat some noodles, we walked back to the car. The rain had gone, the cloud had cleared, and all you could see was sunshine and blue skies, so we decided to take another little drive to see what was around the area and see if there was anything nice around to photograph.
It was on this little drive that he told me that he had a confession to make, and that our “random drive out this afternoon” wasn’t exactly random. Infact, there was nothing random about any of it, and our adventure to Norwich was all part of a bigger plan. He told me to ask no questions, and not to worry about anything. …And obviously as soon as he said that, I had a million questions and I was worrying about everything… lol. We drove for around an hour, and just as the sun was setting, we came to a huge open space. Sam stopped the car and said.. “This is it.” I was obviously so confused as there was literally nothing there apart from open space and a few trees. And it was then that he told me where we were.
Sam had found a national park called Suffolk National Nature Reserve, which is a registered dark zone, near Walberswick. It’s known for it’s dark skies. You can see thousands of stars and sometimes even the Milky Way if the moon is in the correct phase. It got dark really quickly so we loaded up the Clear Outside cloud cover app.. and it wasn’t looking too good, as there was a lot of high cloud forecast until around midnight, but from 00:00 – 02:00, the forecast was clear, so we waited in the car, watching Friends and Only Fools and Horses on Netflix while waiting to see if the cloud lifted.
When you’re working against the elements, everything is so unpredictable, and we had no idea if we’d end up seeing anything at all. That’s why Sam chose to take me to Norwich, as he would have been in a good place to either travel up towards North Norfolk Coast or down to Suffolk to visit this park, depending on which place appeared to have the clearer conditions. I didn’t mind whether we saw anything or not. I just thought it was so lovely that Sam had made the effort to find the perfect place for us to stargaze, and surprised me with it the way he did.
Midnight came so we braved the cold, set up a mat and the camera and by the time we had set up, the cloud had lifted to reveal a sky beautifully lit with thousands of stars. Honestly, it was absolutely spectacular, and so beautiful. We took lots of photos, and set the camera up to take a photo of us looking up at the stars, that I wanted specifically for a canvas print for our bedroom. We got some beautiful photos, and while Sam was changing the camera settings for another photo, I took a few seconds to look up at the dark sky and twinkling stars. I was totally in awe that Sam had found this beautiful place, that we were completely alone, and that this was only for us. I sensed movement behind me. I turned around to see Sam, lit by only the light of the moon and the stars, down on one knee, holding a pretty box with a stunning diamond ring inside it.
He said some very romantic and very intimate things. I was in tears. It was all very overwhelming. He asked me to marry him, and I of course said YES!
Well.. in fact, I nodded as I was too busy hysterically crying.
A lot of what happened is blurred, but I remember the first phase was just repeating “Oh my God!” over and over while crying, then hysterically crying into Sam’s shoulder, then he put the ring on my finger and there was lots of shouting, screaming, swearing, jumping… forgetting completely that it was the middle of the night. Luckily we were completely alone and there wasn’t anyone around for miles.
It was such a stunning setting, and I couldn’t have wished for anything more. We’re lucky enough to have caught a photo of the proposal.
Once we got home and reviewed the photos.. we saw something unbelievable… a shooting star. Right at the moment that Sam proposed. Now if that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
It was the most amazing night, and everything was so perfect. We’re so, so happy.
Over the moon, you could say. ;)