Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wedding Belles

Dateline 29th April 2011... The Church of West Minster

Posh Totty Miss Katie Griptight-Thynne is at the Glaring Hotel getting ready for her big day. Today, the little girl from the Shires (no, not the shopping centre in Trowbridge) will marry her 'prince', well, he's not really a prince except to her, but he is an Honourable.  Her mother, Mrs Caroline Griptight-Thynne, is quaffing champagne whilst barking orders at the staff. As an ex-stewardess on the Stena Line ferry from Dover to Calais, who happened to marry well, she's often guilty of being more royal than the Royals, as her husband Mick is oft to say, smiling benignly.

Katie stands in front of the full length mirror while her dress designers fusses around her.

"Oh bluddy hell Mummy, why didn't you  let me get my boobs done? I barely fill this dress" she wailed, plumping up her chest as best she could.

"Oh for heavens sake Katie, must we go through all this again. You'd end up looking like something out of a girl band and we all know that none of them have managed to land an 'Honorable'"  She barges Katie out of the way and admires herself in front of the mirror.  "God I still have great legs. The Stena Stunner they used to call me you know"

Katie smiled weakly. If she'd heard the story once, she'd heard it a hundred times.

The door from the bedroom opened and in sashayed Poppy, Katie's younger sister.  " How do I look" she asked, smugly knowing full well that she looked gorgeous in her full length column gown.

"Oh effing hell Poppy, you look better than me. I knew I should have insisted on that big meringue dress"

Poppy turned to check out her rear view. "Does my bum look big in this?" she asked, already knowing the answer

"Oh yah, Poppy, it's bloody ginormous!"

"Oh come on Waitie, don't be like that". Poppy gave her sister a smug look

"Mummeeeeeee, tell her not to call me that. I HATE it"

"Come on girls," Mrs Griptight-Thynne said in the same voice she'd used with them since they were tiny "Play nicely.  We all know it took Katie years to find get Bills down the aisle but you don't need to rub it in"

A sharp rap on the door heralded the arrival of the father of the bride. He stopped for a moment at the door, taking in the three women in his life, well that's if you didn't include Dolly., the elderly labrador he'd had for years. "My word gels, you look stunning. Are we ready for the off then? Don't want the Hon Bills to have time to change his mind"He guffawed loudly to himself, completely oblivious to the blank stares of everyone else in the rooom.

"Or for his bluddy stepmother to persuade him that we are too common" murmured Mrs Griptight-Thynne through gritted teeth herself only two generations from Bodgit and Scarper Plumbing and Heating Ltd.

The stretch Hummer that the Hon Bills had chosen for the wedding car purred quietly outside the hotel.  Katie sighed and wished to god he'd never joined the Territorial Army. Thought he was bluddy Napoleon now.

"But Bills, darling, can't we just have a nice limo?" she had asked"Well, these are austere times for the proles" he had told her, "don't want to seem too profligate"

Sighing deeply, she clambered in, hampered by the twenty foot train that her designer had thought would finish off her gown so nicely.  "Oh daddy do try not to stand on it" she said as her father planted his size 10 right on top of it.

The Hummer set off followed by the attendant's car chock full of relatives of Bills and his parents who were doing the honours of bridesmaid and pages.... all ten of them, the youngest, Lady Petunia White-Van Cutmeup was only 4. She winced slightly as she saw the two page boys. She's suggested to Bills that they might look quite dashing in military uniform but desert combat dress wasn't quite what she had in mind.  Poor Poppy having to manage that lot. Thank goodness she'd be captain of the lacrosse team at Marlborough. That should stand her in good stead.

They arrived at the church of West Minster to find a group of rather bemused looking Japanese tourists waving Union flags half heartedly.

"What on earth are they doing here?" Katie whispered to her father.  "Lord only knows because I don't think they do". A chill breeze hit her as she climbed out of the Hummer. "Oh arse!" she groaned as her nipples stood out like organ stops. "I told Mummy to get me some of those Gel Petals from John Lewis."  The photographer snapped away as Katie tried to hide her embarrassment behind her ridiculously small bouquet.

The organ burst into life playing an almost note-perfect rendition of a trumpet voluntary. "Come on Katie, time to go" said her father, taking her hand. The doors of the church swung open to reveal 20 people crammed into the bridegroom's side and 200 on hers. What the.... ! There was the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.

"My bluddy mother" thought Katie, "Just because I'm marrying an Honourable she's acting like the lady of the manor.... and after she told me I couldn't invite Petronella and Tarquin too"  She fixed a smile on her face as they set off down the aisle. She felt a rush of affection for Bills as the sun came out, sending the multi-coloured reflections of the stained glass windows bouncing of his balding pate, a stark contrast to the thick head of ginger hair sported by his brother, the Honorable Hal. Where did that ginger hair come from?

She smiled to left and right, nodding to those she didn't know (most of them) and beaming at the odd familiar face. Bills's family seemed to be involved in some sort of 'Ridiculous Hat' competition. There was one that looked like a giant popodom, Tara's looked like a satellite dish, probably so she could pick up'Horse and Country' if she got bored and OH.....MY......GOD..... what the hell were the Car Crash Couture cousins wearing this time? One looked like a giant Roman candle, the other like a cross between Rudolf (as in the reindeer) and a tellytubby with a bad spray tan. Better keep them out of the wedding photos.

Bills's choice of wedding attire was almost as big a secret as her dress. She'd hoped for a morning suit but he'd come in his TA uniform with a borrowed sash to spice it up a bit. Viscount Hal, on the other hand, who was a real soldier, looked resplendent in his ceremonial dress uniform, even though he did look like he had had a tangle with a few hundred yards of gold rope. Maybe she could fix him up with Poppy. Now there's a thought.

As she approached the altar steps Bills turned and smiled. OK, perhaps he wasn't the greatest looker in the land but she didn't care. He was her Bills.... and in any case, the old Earl was knocking on now so he was bound to peg it soon. And you never know, Hal could run off with a Muslim or something and then Bills would get the title. She'd be the Countess of  Nether Wallop. God, mother would have a field day on that one!

As Bills took her hand she had a fleeting thought for the other couple getting married that day and hoped that they would be just as happy as she was.

Any similarities to any person living,dead or recently married is purlely unintentional .  Did I get that right?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Aisle be seeing you......

This week Kate Takes 5's Listography is on the subject of weddings. Apparently there's some big do going up London today but never mind that, I'm here to talk about a different wedding. Mine.

Kate asks what five things would you would change about your wedding?  Simple....

1.  Nothing

2. Nothing

3. Nothing

4. Nothing

and finally,

5. Nothing

How, I can hear you all ask, did we manage to achieve the perfect wedding?  Easy peasy. We invited no-one except my parents. There was no falling out over bridesmaids, no arguments over flowers and colour schemes, no battles with the Mother of the Bride for control. I guess the only downside was that there were no presents either.

It wasn't always going to be like that.  My father is a Freeman of the City of London which confers on me, along with the right to drive my sheep across London Bridge and the right to be hung with a silken rope should the situation ever arise, the right to get married in St Paul's Cathedral. As an impressionable young gel it was a standing joke among my friends that I was going to have this big f**k off wedding at St Paul's with a rent-a-crowd of several hundred, Jeremiah Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary (cruelly nicked from me by some Princess type  before I had the chance to use it) and a banquet in the Guildhall.  It was planned down to the last teaspoon for years.

Fast forward several years and I met The Husband. He's already had his own big f**k off wedding. He used to do fashion shows for Zandra Rhodes and so she had 'designed' his wedding. West London was still recovering! Sadly, it wasn't a happy event and the decree nisi was already being discussed by that same evening.  Any mention of weddings bought him out in hives.  Any mention of a wedding in St Paul's bought on a bout of hyperventilating (figuratively speaking of course).

When the time finally came for us to tie the knot, his family were in the middle of one of their many feuds. I told him if they couldn't all grow up and get on with each other they weren't coming. That planted the seed. What if nobody came?  The more we thought about it, the more it made sense. In the end, we told no-one what we were planning with the exception of my parents who were to be witnesses. They'd already done big wedding for my brother and sister so I think my father was quietly relieved not be have to slit another artery to pay for it all.

We got married in November, on a beautiful sunny winter's day.  I wore a fabulous appliqued copper velvet longline trouser suit and carried flowers that my mother's friend, a Chelsea exhibitor, had made for me. My dad drove us to the Register Office. The Registrar was a little surprised to see such a small wedding party but she got into the swing of things, projecting her voice during the vows as if she was at St Paul's which provoked an unforgiveable fit of the giggles in the bride and groom. We even had music.

Then we headed off to a Country Club and had magnificent lunch and copious amounts of champagne. It couldn't have been more perfect. I shared it with the most important people in my life and that was all that mattered.

The following , week our family and friends received beautiful embossed cards telling them we had got married. Some were shocked, some a bit peeved, most were glad not to have had yet another wedding list from John Lewis to wade through.

I guess there are maybe two things I might change. My brother's sodding camera would have worked - I have not one wedding photo - and I might have got the date right on the beautifully embossed cards. It has led to confusion to this very day.

St Paul's? Pah! Who needs it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weird Wednesday

No wonder Sarkozy has banned the burkha!  For fans of  'Team America' everywhere.......

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

5 Things I hope people say about me at my funeral........

A bit late on this one but then my father has always joked I'll be late for my own funeral.  Liz Taylor had it written into her will that she had to arrive fashionably late for her funeral so I'm in good company all of which segues nicely into Kate's latest Listography at Kate Takes 5. What 5 things do you hope that people say about you at your funeral?

Well, amid all the weeping and wailing of the assembled throng I hope people say.......

1.  The world will be a poorer place without her

2.  That million pound book deal never changed her

3.  Isn't that George Clooney at the back? He never got over her you know

4.  The Boy is looking well. International Corporate Law must be agreeing with him  and look there's The Girl, she's a top investigative journalist you know

5.  Isn't it great that  thousands of her loyal fans have paid for a wake at the Langham

But what they are most likely to say is......

1.  Oh sorry, I thought it was a christening....

2.  Did she ever finish that book?

3.  There's The Boy with his new wife ..... old but fabulously wealthy , oh, and The Girl too, they must have let her out on a day pass.  Celebrity stalking you know....

4.  There's The Husband..... poor bastard!

5.  Oh well, off down the pub now is it?

And by the way, when the day does come, you're all invited

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tempus Fugit and all that!

"Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been 14 days since my last confession blog". Where has the time gone? As a child the years drag by but by the time you reach your middle years, when you’d quite like them to drag, they race along like Long Run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

I’d love to say it is because, with all the recent beautiful weather, I’ve been out in the garden weeding and hoeing, but no, sadly my lawn is still showing an impressive dandelion count and my plants are vying for space with goose grass and other assorted garden weeds.

I just got an e-mail from our Village Chairperson asking me if I would like to take part in the Village ‘Open Garden’. I told her I’d be happy to open my garden to anyone armed with a fork and a trowel or to paying guests who wants to experience the full spectrum of British weeds.  She politely declined.

I did plant up some pots with primroses and pansies in a futile attempt to beautify the front garden but I noticed this morning that they contain nothing but floral corpses. Forgot to water them again!  I keep hoping the garden fairy will come in the night and I’ll wake up to a Chelsea Show Garden but so far she seems to have been otherwise engaged. Either that or she really doesn’t relish a challenge.

My ironing pile now has a red light on the top so inbound military aircraft can avoid it and the two books I have on the go remain largely untouched. So what on earth have I been doing?  I can see you all, leaning towards your computer screen in anticipation of some earth-shattering revelation………….. but there isn’t one. I’ve done nothing….. no thing…. not a thing. My days seem busy, I rarely have time to sit down but in the time-honoured words of Snow White’s dwarves I seem to have been busy doing nothing. And I can’t even blame Fessebook!

We’re in the midst of the half term holidays now and I have a vague recollection of having a couple of children somewhere but where, I’m not entirely sure. The Girl has been staying in Sussex with her grandparents and was driven straight from there back to Wiltshire for a sleepover which has, so far, lasted three nights. The Boy was last seen heading off to stay at The Girlfriend’s house (“Separate rooms and her parents are there” he said when asking permission – and I checked) and will, apparently, be returning tomorrow in time to head off down to Cornwall for an action-packed week of kayaking, surfing and biking the Tarka Trail with a friend and his uber-active family, a welcome change from the Wylye family holiday of indolence and over-indulgence.  The thought that someone would want to spend any of their hard earned holidays having their butt deconstructed by a narrow bicycle saddle is anathema to me I’m afraid.

We had our inaugural village Quiz Night the other day.  The Husband dashed back from filming in Manchester to be ready for the 7pm kickoff but was sadly too tired to contribute anything of any great use and the bottle of red wine that went down rather too quickly didn’t help.  One of our elderly neighbours came along as she’d never been to one before. As she couldn’t really have a team of one we co-opted her on to ours in the vain hope that someone educated before it became dumbed down (don’t blame me, it’s what the Daily Mail says and we all know that it is the oracle and speaketh only the truth) might know a little bit about geography and history.  She didn’t sadly but she has led a fascinating life, married to a tea planter in Sri Lanka, although she still refers to it as Ceylon. Shame there were no flaming tea questions!

Still, with the benefit of my mind which retains useless information in the same was as Dr Brian Cox retains the names of the stars and galaxies, we romped home to a very acceptable third place – no, not out of three either – cheated out of second place by a mere half a point.

The following day was the first of our village clean ups when the posh people in the village come out to show off their new pressure washers  and ride on mowers so us mere mortals can all get Karcher-envy and rail against the Gods who have only blessed them with mid-range Flymo. I’ll give them their due though, they get stuck in.

It starts off with a slap up breakfast of sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns and beans, followed up with as much toast as you can eat washed down with tea and coffee, then we all sit there feeling too full to do anything useful.  I got the unenviable task of scrubbing down the railings outside the Village Hall with a small pan brush then, having commented that the doors could do with a coat of varnish, some bright spark found some in his shed and I was handed a paintbrush. Anyone passing through the Wylye Valley is welcome to come and admire my handiwork and I'll take commissions as well.  The Husband was tasked with replacing a brick on the edge of the patio at the back of the Hall. A simple task one might think but not so for a purist like him. He spent about an hour trying to find the perfect Victorian brick, even keeping back some of the crap that came off the newly power washed patio to pack it out with. Like all men though, the thrill was in the chase and once the perfect brick was found he lost interest and by the time we left there was still a hole in the patio just big enough for one of the members of Brenda's Sugarcraft Class to turn an ankle.

The world's most expensive Audi continues to cost me dearly. I just put a new exhaust on it and will shortly be putting both kidneys on Ebay to pay for it. Meanwhile the Crapmobile is the focus of much interest to the local Pikey population who knock on the door regularly to tell me they collect 'scrap'. Scrap? I point out to them that it has a mere 60,000 miles on the clock, has two new tyres, a long MOT and that will be £300 thank you very much. They don't generally hang around for long.

The weather has been glorious for weeks now, all bar a few days, and Gizmo has had to have sun cream on his ears. Meanwhile he appears to be trying to construct a pigeon out of feathers and a stick on the kitchen floor.

Well, it's a start isn't it?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is, apparently, the day when you are pampered and spoilt for all the shite you have to put up with as a mother. So how has yours been?

Mine started off early when Gizmo, the deaf cat with a deathwish, escaped from the garden to go bird-bothering in the hedge opposite  house. Our neighbours, who also have a giant ginger moggie, hang up fat balls and bird feeders in the hedge so as not to provide lunch on tap for their cat. Unfortunately, Gizmo has discovered their cunning plan and now spends his life hatching every more devious ways to get over the road and sit in the hedge waiting for some poor unsuspecting sparrow.  The only trouble is that as Gizmo is deaf and, contrary to perceived wisdom about your other senses becoming more acute if you lose the use of one, he is inclined to just saunter across the road regardless of oncoming traffic.  He's used up most of his nine lives already and is, unfortunately, an accident waiting to happen.  Most of my non-working life seems to be devoted to helping Gizmo live another day, not that he appreciates it of course.

Early worshippers at the local non-conformist churches were greeted with the sight of me in my pyjamas poking at a hedge with a big stick.  Gizmo, hidden deep in the hedge, was invisible to their curious eyes. You could almost hear them muttering as they passed, 'there's an Anglican if ever I saw one'.

Gizmo was grounded for the rest of the day, not that he cares of course.

Later on, while I took my shower, I spied through the glass of the shower cubicle, Gizmo checking out the open bathroom window as a possible escape route.  I leapt out of the shower, sopping wet, and hung out of the window naked to retrieve the damned cat. Anyone who owns a white cat will know that they moult like a cheap hooker shedding her knickers.  Any of my neighbours, enjoying a bit of early morning sunshine, would have seen me grappling with my pussy, sporting a very impressive hairy (or should I say, furry) chest.

Downstairs in the kitchen I found my Mother's Day present from The Boy on the table.  Two delicious looking lumps of cheese sat on a wooden board with a cheese knife, a jar of chutney and a card. My son had bought me cheese for Mother's Day.  Now I like cheese and The Boy does like to chose original presents but I was a bit taken aback that he had bought me cheese!  Feeling a little peckish I sliced off the end of one. It was a bit hard.  Putting it to my mouth, I was just about to pop the little morsel in when the boy walked in.

"STTTTTOOOPPPPP" he screamed "It's not real cheese, it's soap" 

Well how's a girl to know? It was, as it turned out, from Lush Cosmetics who, for reasons best known to themselves have made soap that looks like cheese. Fortunately it doesn't smell like cheese.

The Girl played safe with Adele's new album (God that girl can sing!) and a glass heart along with a lovely card signed by all her friends as well as her.

Next stop on my action packed Mother's Day agenda was watching The Boy play rugby.  I discovered their new coach has been banned from the touchline as a result of the now infamous Wootton Bassett Bundle which resulted in both teams being sent off. It seems the RFU took a dim view of him getting an opposing parent in a headlock. Spoilsports!  Obviously, a touchline ban does make coaching rather difficult but he managed admirably from the hedge that lines the pitch - what is it with me and hedges today - while we made sure The Compliance Lady, a formidable woman, wide of arse and wobbly of buttock, in a pair of alarmingly tight leggings, was headed off at the pass and encouraged to support the under 12s.

I left the match early to pick up The Girl who was on a sleepover with a friend. While I waited for her to get up/pack her stuff/find her boots I had an interesting conversation with her friend's father about what happens to you if you stand on an IED. The trouble with military people is that they forget everyone that not all of us are quite so strong of stomach.  Body parts might be an integral part of his life but they aren't in mine, unless of course they are still attached to a body. I don't even know how we got on to the subject.

Back home to change then off to the local pub for lunch. It's not actually in our village but at a brisk 5 minute walk, although it's on the edge of town, we call it our local.  It used to be a place that you went to get your head kicked in but it was closed down for a while and re-opened with a lovely South African couple at the helm.  They've worked so hard to attract the right clientele - well clearly they've managed that admirably as we were there - and turned it from a biker's pub to a nice country pub with sofas and a 'no swearing' policy.  Sadly they don't have a 'NoLoudScotsmenWho'veProbablyHadATeenyBitTooMuchToDrink' policy but you can't have it all ways, can you.

The menu was small but I've always said I'd rather have a small, well-cooked menu than pages of mediocrity. It was lovely. We had roast beef (not too rare in view of the IED conversation earlier) and all the trimmings. The chef has worked in France for the past three years so I was expecting vegetables boiled to within an inch of their little lives but they were crisp and well presented and definitely not out of a tin. For dessert we had individual apple crumbles with cream, except for The Husband who tucked into a delicious brownie, then I was presented with a rose and some handmade chocolates which I grudgingly shared with my lovely family, The Girl who refused to take her headphones off and The Boy, who wound her up mercilessly. Ain't family life grand! Thank god for a decent cappuccino.

Back home, The Husband sat down on the sofa and promptly fell asleep, The Girl retired to her bedroom to sulk and The Boy had the first of several megasations with his girlfriend, each one lasting about an hour.

There was nothing for it but to do the ironing. So how's yours been?