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
5.45 am. Disturbed by raised voices, one v familiar, viz First Of Her Name. Briefly wonder if she’s seen the imprint but soon realise voices, plural, are outside. Intrigued, follow sound. Next door, the Colonel is losing in the competition for Most Stentorian Vocals In A Domestic Contretemps to First Of Her Name, who has been removing bottle tops with her vowels since university and is thus an octave and several decibels above anything the armed forces have so far developed. Something about theft and roses.
5.57 am. Watch kettle boil. Sleep deprivation makes judgement suspect so wondering if waiting up for return of First Of Her Name is prudent when basket-carrying thunder enters kitchen.
5.58 am. The act of holding up teapot and mouthing ‘cuppa’ has brought on emotional crisis I am ill-equipped to handle before the Today programme has begun, viz a hug and a ‘thank you’. Try not to steal a glance at temple engraving.
6.44 am. Several brews have encompassed confession that First Of Her Name is a horticultural larcenist, viz she has been rising with the dawn and visiting our neighbours to ‘dead head’ any and all floribunda that she can reach. It appears likely ‘dead head’ is a euphemism for ‘pick in full bloom’ but leave my suspicions unspoken.
6.59 am. The reason for this particular predilection to purloin petals is now apparent. First Of Her Name is intent on creating bespoke funnels of biodegradable confetti for the wedding in the light of the contractual restriction on the use of paper confetti at our chosen venue. Frankly you would think for what we are shelling out they could employ an itinerant sweep but keep this thought to myself. The garage, which I visit as infrequently as I can as it is filled with instruments of torture, viz gardening tools and implements with which one might be inclined to decorate were one inclined to decorate, is full of sheets of baking paper on which a sea of petals in various stages of embalming are laid out. It is impressive and I voice an opinion to that effect.
7.01 am. First Of Her Name is inconsolable. It appears that, while she remains confident she will have sufficient rotting vegetation to compost the First Born and the Fiancé on the Big Day, the act of being caught by the Colonel has created the conditions for a social disaster, viz the Colonel and Mrs Pease-Grommet will now have to be invited, something that has to date been avoided.
10.27 am. Walk Spiro Agnew and wrestle with dilemma. On the one hand Felicity Pease-Grommet’s attendance at the wedding will be an act of self-harm as stupid as thinking instant coffee has improved over time and on the other there is my reluctance to play my Get Out Of Jail card. But behind it all is the temple tattoo, which cannot be ignored forever.
12.35 pm. Choose nobility/cowardice over sense and visit the Colonel. Inform him he will be receiving an invitation to the nuptials. Allow him a moment of self-righteous smugness before telling him to decline politely or I will reveal his duplicity to the Golf Club committee. Provide compelling video evidence viz on phone. The Colonel blusters but he did not rise to a rank requiring shoulder adornment of the cooked egg kind without appreciating the importance of the tactical withdrawal.
1 pm. Explain to First Of Her Name that the Pease-Grommets will not be able to make the wedding, when invited. She and I have not been married for as long as we have without her (a) suspecting trickery but (b) knowing this is one time not to press for an explanation. ‘Well done, darling.’ Decide this is best, perhaps only time to address temple issue. Am offered an inspection. The word ‘bolli c’ is still plain to my eyes. My wince is not missed. ‘Don’t worry, darling; it was an accident.’ My incredulity at such magnanimity is also noticed. ‘I can cover the bruising with make up.’ Clearly she cannot see the word. Would it be pressing my luck to suggest she combs her hair forward?
1.31 pm. In pub, Barry seemingly content to receive further instalment of my hard-earned spondolicks than continue to ban me. Reviewing video of the Colonel moving his ball during the Prescott-Wardle Open Trophy. Delete with a degree of resignation. Sometimes there is a greater good and I will have accept my leeks will not win this year’s Best In Show, with the Colonel in charge of judging.
9.17 am. First Born calls. ‘Four weeks to the Big Day!’ Try and sound excited but am worrying about failure to secure accommodation as substitute for pub. My nascent paranoia is missed as she adds, ‘I’ve had a really cool idea.’ Feel worrying numbness in left arm.
9.20 am. Call back as promised now I have (a) sat down, (b) taken pulse and found something, and (c) poured a tincture of Caledonian Comfort viz a ten year old single malt as necessary stimulant. Now fully prepared for whatever horror awaits. I offer myself for ritual sacrifice.
9.49 am. ‘Are you still there, dad?’ We are both a little stunned in truth. On the one hand First Born’s Cool Idea is pretty chilled – a display of pictures of the departed on a table with a sign along the lines of ‘much missed’. On the other First Born understands the delicacy.
9.50 am. Promise I will look out photos of various aunts and grandmas. ‘But what about grandpa?’ Say I will raise with First Of Her Name.
10.00 am. Indeed the grandpa conundrum is a troubling one. There are, so far as I know, no photographs of First Of Her Name’s father – bar one. Those that we did have we were directed to destroy on his death ‘to avoid any further embarrassment’ viz he sported a portwine stain in the shape of an anatomically accurate representation of a fully erect hampton on his left cheek. Being coloured in purple only increased the verisimilitude. Even with the makeup he wore he was convinced, overtime, any attempt at concealment would fade on any photographs, revealing the proud percy for all to admire. We did as we were asked and destroyed those images.
10.01 am. Only I didn’t. I kept one of the old boy holding First Born as a baby. His left cheek was hidden and I thought First Born should see it. Have managed to keep it hidden from First Of Her Name by cunning expedient of using as bookmark in 1963 Centenary edition of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanac certain she will never open such a thrilling tome. Can I reveal subterfuge as First Born wants?
17.04 pm. First Of Her Name returns from her volunteering – this year she is saving endangered rudbeckia varieties. Show her selection of possible photos and explain concept.
17.40 pm. First Of Her Name v happy with idea. I proffer the last picture I have dug out: her graduation where she is beaming at the man in front of the photographer – an inept me – whose balding head and lined neck are in full view, viz her father. It is the only other picture I have found of him. ‘That’s sweet,’ she says and then leaves the kitchen.
17.45 pm. First Of Her Name is back, holding both the secreted photo and the Wisden. ‘This is better.’ She is smiling. The how’s and the why’s remain unspoken.
19.00 pm. In pub, nursing pint and mixed emotions. On the one hand, having made both First Born and First Of Her Name happy, I am content. On the other am now worried that my numerous secure hiding places are not as secure as I originally thought. If Wisden isn’t secure then what is?