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
9.01 am: Am first in queue of two at sportswear emporia ahead of same whippet thin woman from gymnasium yesterday. She asks after my well-being and am touched when she tells me she fainted ‘when she started’ but now ‘she is addicted’.
9.02 am: Offer condolences on addiction and ask if it is drugs or alcohol.
9.03 am: Woman – now introduced as Saffron – is in state of hysteria and being helped to seat. Female assistant, labelled Sage, asks if she can assist. Express concern for Saffron and am informed ‘oh she’s just a nutter’ by way of explanation.
9.05 am: Am waiting for young man, whose name badge has a ‘T’ on it, to ‘help me explore my gate’. Ponder the wonders of this previously closed world of exercise retailing. Are all involved named after herbs and spices? Does the T stand for Tarragon or Turmeric? He doesn’t strike me as a Tansy sort. And why should the entrance to my garden be of interest to said T?
9.10 am: Am disappointed to find male assistant is not Tarragon. I had planned a jovial opener referencing the hero in Lord Of The Rings but having met Tom (short for Tomato, perhaps?) am certain the words of Tolkien are not his likely bedside reading material.
9.15 am: Am presented with a hamster machine on which I am to run. Apparently the ‘gate’ is in fact ‘a gait’. Tom tries to lighten my terror with ‘this will be your ‘gaitway’ to happiness’.
9.19 am: Tom calls across Sage, apparently never having met anyone quite like me. I would like to report my unique running style is a thing of beauty but fear this is unlikely.
9.42 am: Express disbelief that running pumps can be more expensive than my first car. While my debit card is being given CPR, Saffron joins me, expressing sympathy at the expense. ‘Fancy a coffee?’
10.41 am: Sitting in The Has Bean with Saffron. She is a ‘portfolioist’ which, apparently a lot of young people are today. I speculated that this might be like a contortionist with novelty suitcases which generates more giggles. Pleasantly surprised at effect I am having. Explain First Of Her Name’s plans to shape up for wedding. Saffron offers to ‘take me running’ to get me started.
10.57 am: Saffron has taken a call – one of her portfolios needs some ‘zero-gravitying’. Wonder what to do with offer of running help. On one hand the idea of more time with the giggling Saffron is undoubtedly pleasant; on the other I fear she will either be disappointed or leave me incapable of managing the stairs. Decide on prudence. Call First Of Her Name to explain offer.
11.24 am: First Of Her Name and Saffron have spoken and fixed for a ‘session’ this evening before Saffron’s next portfolio calls on her time.
1.17 pm: First Of Her Name teasing about my ‘new girlfriend’. Decide it best to say nothing.
5.41 pm: Saffron is waiting in local park. She is dressed in lycra. Decide prudence dictates I spend most of the time in front so cannot be accused of ogling. First Of Her Name also in lycra; Saffron and First Of Her Name discuss merits of Nike versus Adidas. Slightly terrified what I may have unleashed.
6.27 pm: I am dreaming. Have apparently jogged round the park and not as a figure of fun. Various body parts have apparently attached themselves to me in the process as I was unaware of their previous existence nor how much pain they can generate. Saffron waves goodbye and sets off for more running. Am stunned and watch her go in disbelief.
6.28 pm: ‘Stop ogling her arse.’ Turn to First Of Her Name who is smiling. She adds, ‘It’s a nice arse. Wish mine was like that.’
6.29 pm: ‘I prefer yours,’ I say and mean it. ‘Really? Why?’ Must be light-headed through release of analgesics – which Saffron assured me would happen running – because say ‘I’m not intimidated by yours.’
6.45 pm: Sitting in car with First Of Her Name, both of us in fits of giggles. I cannot work the foot pedals after the run. ‘Maybe we should jog home?’
7.00 pm: Still in car, still in park, feeling very embarrassed. First Of Her Name incapable with laughter. While First Of Her Name was massaging my thighs, hoping to generate some life in my atrophying limbs, a most unpleasant jobsworth rapped on the driver’s window. When I lowered it to inquire if I could assist he told me to ‘Bugger off, now before I call the cops,’ and ‘Dogging ain’t allowed here.’ I ventured to suggest that we had left Spiro Agnew at home because we couldn’t trust him not to jump up at the wrong moment to be told that ‘threesomes ain’t allowed neither.’
8.10 pm: Google explains what the ‘dogging’ reference means. Hear First Of Her Name on phone to First Born, still laughing. Check reflection in computer screen. Decide this sly old dog has still got it.
10.30 pm. Over cocoa agree with First Of Her Name this is one occasion when we will ‘come as we are’ and be proud of our curves.
11.30 pm. While First Of Her Name undertakes the nightly removal of her facial cladding, check on profile. Admit that the dreaded spanx might be essential after all.
1.20 pm. Standing by front door holding Spiro Agnew’s mouth shut to prevent revelatory barking. The pre-planning party is about to start and First Of Her Name has incurred a wardrobe malfunction, viz she has inadvertently snagged her dress when undertaking a precautionary pissoire manoeuvre leaving an unsightly stain. The ensuing streak to find an alternative outfit was timed to perfection as first guests seen to park outside. ‘Keep that damned dog quiet’ were her last words.
1.21 pm. Shirt sleeves and trousers below the knee now similarly moistened to resemble offending skirt, and sense Spiro Agnew may soon decide on alternative stratagem to slobber to effect freedom, viz an evacuation. Fortunately First Of Her Name appears in something like a large rainbow tent. One hiss and Spiro Agnew goes rigid. My damp déshabillé draws her gaze. ‘Go and change.’
1.45 pm. Am watching my cousin in law, Fred and his partner filling a carrier bag with cheese from the selection on the dining room table. Fred catches me looking. ‘We can’t stay so we thought we’d take something to snack on the way home.’ Share the thought that they have enough cheddar to create a life-sized gorge in their back garden. Fred’s partner – Nasturtium? Nicotiana? Nettle? Some plant beginning with N anyway – proffers the suggestion that I ‘shouldn’t have married her, should you’ before turning her kleptomaniacal attentions to the macaroon display and dismantling it.
1.46 pm. Ask couple to replace stolen goods. Before any further words can be exchanged, First Of Her Name appears and Fred apologises for having to go. First Of Her Name showers partner with compliments. Lots of mutual fawning and mwah-ing before they go. As soon as the front door shuts First Of Her Name smiles. ‘Thank god. What a leech that Nigella is.’ Am about to agree when she notes denuded cheese board. ‘Why did you let then take the cheese?’
2.15 pm. Sitting outside cheese shop wondering how long I can use traffic, instore delays (queuing to be served, the need to retrieve chosen product from store etc), unexpected encounter with friend/former work colleague/random but persistent Jehovah’s Witness as excuses. Mixed feelings of relief to be away from the party and guilt that, if other guests as bad as Fred and Nigella, I probably ought to try and method act the supportive husband.
2.27 pm. Arrive at same time as Saffron and T approach. Both dressed in shorts, and T shirts with garish unintelligible slogans and an obvious lack of undergarments. Admit to self that T has best legs and worry slightly what that might mean. Lead them to garden where we are greeted enthusiastically by First Born and Fiancé with hugs. Given thumbs up by Male Heir who seems to know T as they exchange strange combination of slaps and elbows jostles. First Of Her Name points at Methuselah bottle. I am to open same. Before addressing the cork, check audience. Many smiles and looks of happy anticipation.
2.31 pm. How quickly the mood can shift. The cork is the size of an embalmed testicle and difficult to shift. The crowd’s ribaldry morphs from encouragement to aggression as I struggle with it. Make strategic mistake in lowering bottle’s neck to apply more pressure and only realise error when Male Heir swears shortly before cork departs, bullet like at First Of Her Name, scoring a bull’s eye on her left temple.
2.34 pm. Turns out T is medical student who triages First Of Her Name. She is dazed but still able to berate me and Fiancé for not capturing plume of bubbles that has watered her guests externally rather than internally. T has excellent patient skills and manages to make her sit still, a feat usually beyond me. Male Heir and First Born distribute remaining bubbles while Saffron, under direction provides cold towel for head.
2.59 pm. First Of Her Name lying in dark bedroom with headache. T advises watching and describes signs of concussion. Guests begin to leave.
3.30 pm. ‘You’ll have to tell her, dad.’ Discussion has become fraught in last twenty minutes. We are all confident First Of Her Name will survive blow – arguably the cork was at more risk of terminal damage – but no one is certain we will survive the imprint left by said cork on First Of Her Name’s temple, the word ‘Bolli c’ being the remnants of Bollinger being very clear. I essay the hope that, given its position she might not be able to see it but everyone else feels she should be told. Nit for the first time I think how true the expression that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Promise to think about it.
9.47 pm. First Of Her Name snoring like a baritone tumble dryer. Check her temple, the word still apparent. Convince myself it is fading but find sleep difficult. Resort to desperate measures to induce sleep, viz small but gratifying fantasy involving a spraying champagne bottle, Saffron’s soaked T shirt and her rivet like nipples. Bring it to a premature end when dream includes T’s legs.