We were just 18 and in love. I popped the question and she said ‘yes’ - happy days.
In those times the man wouldn’t buy a ring until the question was asked, then the couple would head of to buy the ring together (wise approach in case she would say no).
Off we went in my dad’s car to Dublin - just over an hour’s drive. We went to the main shopping st and finally chose a ring. It had to be adjusted for size so a couple of hours walking about.
Then finally off home. We came to the border so the ring had to be hidden. First the Southern customs - wave on, then Southern police - wave on.
Then the dreaded UK customs, they would seize the ring and my dad’s car if they caught the smuggled ring - much tension as we approached. ‘Open your boot’ (trunk) was the polite command. The boot was empty, quick look at the back seat then ‘on you go’.
Sigh of relief, but it wasn’t over yet, we still had the security check.
'Where you coming from? asked the English soldier whilst looking at my driving license.
Rule 1 - always tell the truth: ‘Dublin’ . ‘Where are you going to?’ was the next question. ‘I’m going home’. ‘Where is home?’ (this was to check if I knew the address on the document)
‘What is the reg number of your car?’ (this was to check if I had likely stolen the car).
‘What were you doing in Dublin?’ - ''Just a day out" (had to break rule 1 just in case).
Second sigh of relief, we were on our way with the prized engagement ring firmly on finger.
‘Why not just use one of the 100’s of little roads that criss cross the border?’ a UK friend once asked me? (unapproved crossings was the term)
The difficulty was lifting the car over the concrete bollards:
This is the actual crossing that we smuggled the ring through:slight_smile: