Readers of this blog may have picked up on the forthcoming nuptials for my son. Two years ago my daughter wed a delightful young man. In the run up to that event I imagined an alternate scenario which led to a series of posts, under the above title. In anticipation of this year’s event and maybe to bring back memories for anyone who has been the parent of a wedding, I’ve reworked the diary, though I’ve retained the fact it is a daughter whose wedding is anticipated. I hope you enjoy…
This is entirely fiction. Completely. Utterly. Except for any true bits
9.02 am. Any idea that Independence Day might be enjoyed in this corner of Merrie Oldie England is shattered by First Of Her Name’s daily strategy call with First Born.
‘The Male Heir has a girlfriend.’
Normally this would be greeted with bunting and the ritualistic murder of an overweight porker because the Male Heir’s relationships have tended to the sort term viz measured in hours rather than days. Somehow the combination of First Of Her Name’s expression (hovering between ingested wasp and unanaesthetised root canal work) and her actions (evisceration of John Lewis cushion) indicates this is not so.
10.47 am. Still no clue as to best course of action. Cushion innards now joined by potting compost (from smithereened cactus pot), coffee (attempt no. 1 to mollify) and fourteen blueberries (from fist slam next to fruit bowl that followed coffee).
11.29 am. Three further calls between First Born and First Of her Name. I have (strategically) eavesdropped and ascertained the following:
1. New girlfriend is American;
2. She is not human;
3. She has aggressive bosoms and a weaponized fanny (sic: I think this is a reference to the American area of that name) on which canapes may be served; and
4. The Fiancé made a strategic mistake in his aural and optical appraisal of said girlfriend.
12.41 pm. First Born has announced the wedding is off.
12.42 pm. First Of Her Name is in tears.
12.43 pm. I am in tears. I may need to have my hand reset.
12.44 pm. First Born is on her way to see Male Heir. I am charged with ‘doing something’. Determine it will be safer if I follow First Born to the greengrocers where the Male Heir stacks beetroots.
1.23 pm. Arrive at same moment as police car. Assume altercation between First Born and Male Heir. Seek to place myself between forces of law and order and warring children.
1.24 pm. Appear to have assaulted police in the act of buying his lunch viz pushed him into a display of novelty tomatoes. As I’m led away see First Born and Male Heir laughing.
9.27 pm. Am released after a warning as to my future behaviour. Back home, First Of Her Name, First Born and Male Heir enjoying fish supper. Girlfriend cannot come to wedding due to operation on her aggressive verrucas. No one asks where I’ve been. When I ask if the wedding is still off, am treated to withering looks and mild belabouring about head.
9.34 pm. In pub.
While at morning ablutions, am told cake designer due at 10 am and I will ‘entertain’ her until First Born and First Of Her Name return from the latest session with wedding designer – some issue involving lace and what I understand to be some emergency escape arrangement. ‘Don’t upset her.’
10 am. Worryingly slight woman appears with trolley of Tupperware. ‘I’m the cake designer’. How can she make cakes and stay so slim?
10.05 am. Life is on an uptick. Tupperware contain samples of possible cake types and am offered opportunity to taste. Worry that First Of Her Name might not approve but am assured will be okay.
10.10 am. Am aware of kerfuffle, while in kitchen making coffee. Find cake designer and family dog, Spiro Agnew in standoff over cake slice that Spiro Agnew appears to have sequestered to himself.
10.12 am. Cake designer desperately trying to make Spiro Agnew vomit; said cake slice contains twenty-seven percent currants. Spiro Agnew thinks is a good game. Cake designer mortified that Spiro Agnew will die. Try to reassure her Spiro Agnew is a robust cross breed – a PooRot – Poodle-Rottweiler cross. As explaining Spiro Agnew vomits into Tupperware.
10.30 am. Much relief all round. Sit in garden with cake designer over coffee while watching unaffected dog bury unidentified item of clothing next to petunias. Fiancé appears, for cake decision. Suggest he goes and looks at samples.
10.40 am. First Of Her Name, First Born and Fiancé join us in garden. Realise Fiancé is spooning cake vomit from Tupperware into mouth with gusto. Hurriedly stand between Fiancé and cake designer while making two mental notes, viz:
1. I no longer have any fears that he will cope with marriage to First Born if he can ingest dog vomit; and
2. We need to go to the pub as soon as possible.
Weekend for stag and hen does. Dreading whole affair. Why is the FOF invited? Surely this is a young man’s game?
Much excitement over lunch, with passports checked, Euros counted, medical insurance double checked to ensure it includes stomach pumping. Try and fake enthusiasm but spirit wilting.
Ubers arrive with Fiancé’s parents, the ultimate good news/bad news. Good news is she is going on Hen Do so I don’t have to listen to interminable tales of failed gastric bands and the best way to set marmalade; bad news he isn’t going on Hen Do so I will have to listen to his experiments with Viagra alternates and his music which last time included a four album box set of Roger Whitaker whistling Dame Nelly Melba’s lesser known arias.
Panic. No one has arranged for Spiro Agnew to be looked after. Much wailing and gnashing and imminent risk of head belabourings avoided by my immediate offer to drop out of stag party and dog sit.
First Born cries and kisses me; First Of Her Name thanks me and kisses me (and whispers she will open a new tub of coconut cream on her return). Fiancé looks disappointed as no one to occupy his father. Wave them off.
Order pizza and beer deliveries to repeat at four hourly intervals for next two days; list football matches over next two days and pin to Spiro Agnew’s tail. Move fridge into sitting room next to TV. Replace batteries in remote to avoid unnecessary movement. Decide against dragging water butt inside as temporary urinal – standards must be maintained. Pull all curtains. Set dog bed next to sofa.
Before settling down, check all doors locked, wallet handy by front door and hunt out all unopened coconut cream tubs and hide.
Decide there are some compensations to this wedding lark.
Am just deciding between jam and marmalade for today’s toast topping, when First Of Her Name announces that today we are choosing shoes. Since marmalade is gift from Fiancé’s mother, the choice is essentially made for me.
When I query whether my presence will be required for the acquisition of every item of clothing she will be wearing at the event, she bristles asking, in a voice that has been known to kill viruses and hustle a previously infectious child to school, What On Earth I might mean.
Realising my error – blamed on the sugar rush that choosing jam has induced – I compound the error by attempting a smidgen of levity. ‘Perhaps I can cast an expert eye over your smalls?’
To which the response, accompanying a shaking of the comment section of the Daily Execution, is instant. ‘The last time you bought me underwear you chose something akin to the bag in which my grandmother used to boil puddings during the Depression.’
A trifle harsh, I think coming from the woman who had forced me to channel my inner sausage by attempting the impossible of dressing in Spanx. ‘What sort of shoes are you thinking of, Diamond In The Light Of Thy Firmament? A discreet heel? Something kittenish? Perhaps an a la mode pair of boots?’
‘Yours, not mine. I have my eyes on some Jimmy’s’
Editor’s note: I was later informed by First Of Her Name that ‘I have my eye on some Jimmy’s’ was a reference to one James Choos, a bespoke cobbler famed for his vertiginous heels, red soles and a price somewhere between the GDP of Estonia and First Born’s fake tanning bills rather than unfathomable rhyming slang. And on the subject of fake tanning bills, since the engagement, these have been astronomical; when I inquired of the Fiancé, after the statutory grimace he explained First Born is intent on finding just the right shade that matches her latest favourite Influencer. Having no idea what that might be, he showed me a picture of an unfeasibly busted woman whose skin tone is somewhere between a Bedouin tribe-person’s neck and an orangutan.
10.49. I am informed that ‘comfort is not a consideration’ after I try on the sort of footwear one saw in Hammer horror films of the 1960s.
11.29. A telephone debate with the First Born has determined that a light tan ‘verging on deep umber’ is correct. This is not some development in the fake tan conundrum but apparently relates to the shade of brown for my shoes.
11.30. Try and fail to hide my low mood at prospect of returning to Torquemada’s Brogue Boutique and the greasily unctuous Tarquin who fawned over us two hours ago. I am saved by the appearance of Dolores, part of the coven to which First Of Her Name belongs who queries our plans. She scoffs at Tarquin, insisting on dragging us to Sons Of Satan who apparently did wonders with Derek’s bunions.
12.30. Shoes chosen, Sir would like to keep the box, thank you very much and credit card oddly intact, we stand on the pavement. I feel indebted to Dolores. Close my eyes and brace for a double mwah air brush only to find myself head butting nothing. Dolores and First Of Her Name are climbing into a cab, waving me goodbye, explaining that Harrods ‘calls’.
1pm. Meet Fiancé and Male Heir in The Gentleman’s Relish for a swift pint during their lunch. Regale them with stories about footwear. Male Heir: ‘Did you remember to put in your orthotics, Dad?’
2.49pm: Sons of Satan do not have right shoes in larger size that will accommodate corrective soles but promise ‘a delivery is imminent’. They agree to let me keep the wrong size on the strict understanding I will not use them or I will have to pay twice. Explain that if I turn up without them tonight I will have so much skin flayed from my flanks that I could tan the result and craft my own set.
3.30pm. Return to pub for consoling solo pint. Am accosted by Tarquin who offers to do something stimulating but illegal in thirty per cent of nations registered with the UN, using only his ebony shoe tree and a tub of Cherry Blossom light tan polish. Tell him that if the replacements do not arrive in time for the Big Day, I’m his man.