In the summer of 1989, while out for a romantic meal, Matthew proposed properly with a diamond solitaire ring. Two months later, we held our engagement party for 40 friends and family at the little house we were renting at the time.
The following year, we bought a tiny starter home in Grays, Essex, which we moved into with furniture we had begged, borrowed and stolen. We giggled with delight at the thought of this grown-up new life.
My mother (an occasionally wise, often foolish woman) has a theory: that when couples move in together too early, they’re merely ‘playing’ at house. They don’t take it on as a serious life project, thus the minor frustrations and boredoms turn into deal breakers.