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
Woken at seven by panicked First Born. ‘Uncle Rodney.’
Rodney is First of Her Name’s elder brother. He is a consultant urologist and makes novelty door knobs in his spare time from the casts he takes of his patients’ privates. He is not a nice man.
The current problem is he has fallen out with his younger sibling Thornton who has begun dating an ex of Rodney’s, one Gladys Thrombolio. Rodney will ‘cause a scene’ if Uncle Thornton attends the wedding.
Helpfully suggest (a) they are grown-ups so can be trusted to sort themselves out (‘Dad, they’re Mum’s relatives. Is that likely?’ I have to admit the truth of this); (b) they may not come (‘Dad they are Mum’s relatives and you’re paying. Is that likely?’ I admit that is true, too); (c) I could try and negotiate a compromise (‘Dad, they’re Mum’s relatives…’ See above).
At this point First Of Her Name wakes and takes phone. I am dispatched to make tea.
Try and eek out tea making so the resulting brew will be ready in a week but am back in The Presence just as the phone is tossed onto my side of the bed.
‘Did you sort things out, My Sweetness?’
‘Rodney says he will not back down. If Thornton’s invitation is not rescinded he will embarrass First Born by making a bag out of the surplus foreskin he kept when he circumcised* you last year and present it to her during the speeches.’
A lot of thoughts compete with each other, around professional ethics and tastelessness but I try levity (it never works but while I am used to hope being beaten by experience with the regularity of an Anglo-German penalty shoot-out, I keep coming back for more). ‘If he does, we could suggest the Fiancé merely gives it a rub and then they’ll have a large suitcase for their honeymoon.’
Am pleased with myself but First Of Her Name eyes me bleakly. ‘You always did have a high opinion of yourself.’
Spot Spiro Agnew on landing licking his balls; realise why a contented existence is called ‘a dog’s life’.
*the circumstances behind last year’s operation need not trouble us now.
9.17 am. Am disturbed in a moment’s mindful contemplation by First Of Her Name: ‘Are you doing the bloody Sudoku in the loo? Again. I need you out here.’
‘Coming Sunlight Of My Joy.’ Hurriedly place said puzzle on windowsill and begin to finish up. No paper. ‘Diamond in my Firmament, could you perhaps facilitate my swift exit by providing me with some paper consumables?’
‘I need a loo roll.’
‘I know you’ve got that Sudoku; the page is missing from the newspaper.’
‘Indeed, that is especially perspicacious of you.’
‘Well, do something useful with it.’
A slow horror dawns. I can either (a) finish the super fiendish and be belaboured about the head for delaying whatever it is that is exercising her, or (b) give up my puzzle for an unbruised cranium. (b) wins.
‘Yes, Oh Crepuscular Wonder?’
I am always thrown by these presentations of mere unexplained statements. What, pray, is a wedding favour? Some rosette one pins on the bride? First Of Her Name understands my silence as utter befuddlement. ‘They’re gifts that the guests take with them as reminders of a perfect day. You’re in charge.’
‘Of which aspect, Wondrous Glow? Design? Procurement? Mere financing?’ I am confident it is at best the last element and at worst the last two.’
Something suspiciously like a smile crosses those Awe-full lips. ‘Everything. First Born wants something unique, useful and a reminder of the day. She suggested it might be good to involve you more by delegating them to you.’
10.23 am. Google tells me the usual suspects for these favours are artfully designer bags of sweet treats, biscuits iced with the happy couples names or image, and small pots of oils and ointments. While that seems easy enough, when I check on pricing I find the decimal point is further to the right than that Ghoul in a Grey Suit, the Transylvanian Member for the 1950s, Jacob Rees-Tosser*. This needs thought.
7.22 pm. In Pub with Male Heir and the Fiancé, discussing rescuing the planet (I misheard at first, thought they said ‘rescuing the plants’ and said I thought frosts in July were unlikely, to which Male Heir responded with a lecture on the impacts of Climate Change. Fiancé adds that First Born ‘is equally passionate’ in her fears of the looming end of the world; I explain I’m more concerned about the end of the week if I haven’t sorted these favours). End evening promising to ‘do my bit’.
9.13 pm. A brainwave. Google provides me with a way to answer both days’ conundrums; viz a wedding favour that channels my inner Attenborough. For half the price of bespoke hobnobs, I can obtained recycled (using left over Government white papers) toilet rolls embossed with the images, on alternate sheets, of First Born and Fiancé. Contemplate adding First Of Her Name every fourth sheet but cost considerations prevent that plan. I order 200 rolls. Unique – tick; useful – tick; a reminder of the day – every time the guest visits the little room they will see their smiling faces – tick.
10.44 pm. First Of Her Name in bed, rubbing golden goose fat into her eyelids when I appear. Asks ‘what kept you at that thing – viz the laptop – so long?’ Consider confessing to my brilliant plan but decide to leave it. She will be stressed come the Big Day and my cunning plan is sure to amaze her. Fall into pleasant sleep, knowing for once I have done the ‘right’ thing. Imagine guests applauding my wit and my environmental compassion.
*an oblique reference to a Tory Member of Parliament whose bloodless mien and strident views make him a darling of those who are hard of thinking.
8.47 am. Stumble into Centre of Planning, formerly known as the dining room. Have slightly dusty head after tasting session with Male Heir and Fiancé to debate the wine options for the Big Day. Realise the truth of old adage that it is better to spit than swallow. First Born and First Of Her Name already in deep discussion over ‘entertainment’. Query if we are having stand-up comic and am told that is to be my role as giver of ‘The Speech’. I have been suppressing thinking about this part of the Big Day for a long time. Being reminded of my responsibilities, when coupled with the intestinal residue of a rather bouncy Bulgarian Pinot and the terror I have of public speaking results in volcanically emetic consequences.
10.45 am. First Born suggests I might want to help with planning. Exchange looks with First Of Her Name, both of us clearly wondering at First Born’s mental health.
11.00 am. After a full and frank discussion (aka a short but intense slanging match) between First Born and First Of Her Name over my suitability as an event planner, First Of Her Name suggests a compromise viz I am charged with organising a good luck message display. Tentatively enquire what this might be. Informed the guests will be encouraged to scribble some bon-mots as guidance for the happy couple’s future together. Any thought of attempting to lighten mood by unwise introduction of levity with suggestion the most likely message will be ‘don’t do it’ avoided when First Of Her Name sends me to make coffee.
1.03 pm. Am let down by Google (again). It suggests for said display the following possibilities: a tree and clothes pegs; a framed mirror and Blu-tack; a folding screen and pins; and a washing line and bulldog clips. When I proffer these to First Of Her Name as suggestions she is not encouraging. ‘It needs to be unique, reflecting their personalities and passions.’ Must look blank as she adds, ‘Use your imagination.’
6.17 pm. Ask Male Heir for his opinion on what distinguishes First Born and he offers ‘ability to neck copious Chardonnay’. Suggest he is not being helpful.
10.14 pm. Fall asleep on sofa to be woken by Spiro Agnew slobbering over face. TV showing rural scenes of grape harvest. Have lightbulb moment and seek out First OF Her Name for opinion.
11.35 pm. Feeling light headed. On the one hand am flattered that First Of Her Name describes plan, viz: to use empty wine bottles as ‘message trees’ as ‘a good start’; on the other am horrified by First Of Her Name’s adaptation of idea so it is now to ‘buy a Methuselah of champagne for the pre-preparation party’ and then use the empty bottle as the ‘centre-piece’ at the big event. Wonder out loud if (a) First Of Her Name has the first clue of the cost of said Methuselah; and (b) what is the ‘pre-preparation party?
11.42 pm. Make up spare bed.