A story of love and secrets
Hannah and I grew up on the same leafy street of the Canberra suburb of Narrabundah. I remember hanging out at her house in the mornings before we'd head off to the bus stop to catch the bus to school. I was a little bit older than her and was in charge of keeping us safe so it wasn't a great day when we caught the bus for the first time and instead of the 10 minute trip it should have taken to get up to Red Hill Primary we got on the wrong bus and made it all the way to Civic before I had the guts to ask the driver what we should do. We were only seven and eleven years old and this was before mobile phones were ubiquitous. It was a truly terrifying experience and I still get nervous catching buses today. We managed to get back to school safely though, only a few hours late.
We grew up, went to different high schools, my family moved to Tuggeranong and we lost touch - until, out of nowhere, 20 years later Hannah made contact and asked me to make a ring for her girlfriend, Liz. The ring was a beautiful, sentimental gesture of love, symbolising the support and stability they give each other. Two Lighthouses - guiding and protecting.
About 18 months later it got a bit full on! All within a few weeks of each other Hannah had commissioned an ear cuff for Christmas 2017 and an engagement ring due for Australia Day 2018, while Liz requested a special repair for Hannah's bracelet that required some fairly heavy duty restoration. These commissions were all to remain secrets from the other party...
Each job had a different time frame for completion and they were all on track to be delivered by their due dates. The ear cuff was ready and collected for Christmas 2017. The engagement ring took approximately 3 months to complete as I had to source and import diamonds from overseas especially for the job.
The bracelet repair consisted of removing a poorly executed fish engraving from a steel anchor and having an Angel Fish re-engraved by my Master Engraver in Adelaide, who is normally booked out 3 months in advance but somehow managed to fit it in within a few days. The bracelet restoration was completed and we let Liz know it was ready to collect. Liz couldn't collect it straight away but would let us know when she could make it around.
A couple of weeks later the engagement ring was also ready for collection. We covertly texted Hannah - something along the lines of "The eagle has landed" and we're told they were going away that weekend so Hannah would collect the ring next week.
Early the next week I got two phone calls - Liz and Hannah were both ready to collect their commissions and could pop out on Wednesday during their lunch break! I scheduled them within half an hour of each other! Why??? Liz was due first and she was, of course, running late! Stress levels were through the roof by this stage and I made the decision that if Liz didn't arrive within the next 5 minutes I would have to phone Hannah, explain the situation and get her to hide around the corner until Liz had left. I figured if one surprise had to be ruined it was going to be the bracelet repair for Hannah, not the engagement ring for Liz. Thankfully Liz arrived, collected the bracelet and raced back to work. Fifteen minutes later Hannah arrived and collected the engagement ring. Phew! We had done it! Successfully delivered 3 months worth of work and covert operations to their owners within half an hour of each other. Now I just had to wait...
That evening I got a text from Hannah saying "Now I know who your 12 pm client was and why you definitely didn't want us to cross paths!" Okay, Hannah had received her bracelet. This was the 24th of January 2018 and Hannah had plans to propose on Australia Day. I couldn't wait!
When I say 'plans' I mean SERIOUS PLANS. Hannah had covertly arranged for a photographer friend of theirs to ask them to "model in a photo shoot" for him, scouted the location, hidden a bottle of sparkling wine and glasses, organised for the guests of their Australia Day BBQ to arrive while the couple were out and surprise them when they returned. And it was all executed perfectly! Liz said 'Yes', the photos are absolutely gorgeous and I am so happy for this beautiful couple!
Hannah & Liz!