Friday, July 20, 2007

When Lilibet married her naval officer

Such excitement. This summer an exhibition is being held at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s 60th wedding anniversary*. I’m no monarchist, but I can remember how important the event felt back in those belt-tightening, post-war days of rationing and cod liver oil.

Our family had a cardboard cut-out book from which you could create a model of the pageant. It had everything, from the Household Cavalry on their horses to the glittering fairy-tale coach which took pride of place on our mantelpiece. Goodness knows what happened to it (the coach, not the mantelpiece).

I expect my mother chucked it out along with her Lloyd loom chairs, her utility furniture and any other 'vintage' items we might, years later, have been able to put on ebay.

According to Elizabeth Grice (writing in the Daily Telegraph), the morning of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding didn’t go entirely to plan. The bride’s tiara snapped and needed a hasty repair. Her bouquet went temporarily AWOL, and she left the string of pearls she wanted to wear in the wrong palace. As you do.

Isn’t it comforting to learn that a Royal Wedding is as prone to last-minute hitches as any?


Some mistake surely?

Organising a wedding – especially when you only have ten weeks – requires so much attention to detail that it’s difficult to keep on top of everything else you should be doing at the same time. While I was configuring seating plans and ordering flowers I was (with my work hat on) looking for a new assistant. I picked the wrong one.

She started the week after the wedding and I think we both suspected from the start it was a mistake. I felt pretty sure when I asked her to find me the Times splash and then discovered she'd been keying those exact words into a Google search. No doubt she felt pretty sure when she discovered she had a grumpy old woman as her boss.

Anyway, she’s gone and I’ve started the process all over again.

Under less pressure now, I have time to despair at the applications. Or laugh. Here is a selection (from today’s 2:1 graduates):

*I knew from an early age that I wanted to get into journalism but instead opted to do French.

*The job will be the perfect platform to give you the boost you need to start a career. Therefore many people and me will be applying for this position.

An ambitious graduate journalist …

*I have been writing since childhood and have developed my own distinctive style without losing the ability to be fluid and can write using a style guide and to a brief on time whilst under pressure.

After a while I lost track of the number of misplaced apostrophes, misspelt driving licenses and other basic errors.

I learned to hate the phrase ‘field of journalism’ – why limit yourself to a field? Why not a meadow or a prairie?

I identified ‘third eye syndrome’, a condition where the first three paragraphs of a covering letter (possibly more) all start with the word I.

I never want to have to read another statement that talks about people skills ever, ever again. (See, it’s contagious).

Interviews start next week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Time goes by

My daughter has now been married for seven weeks and four days. I wonder if she’s counting.

Back in 1965 – the year I had my first real boyfriend - I used to keep track of how long we’d been dating. My diary entry for Monday Jan 25 reads: 2wks. Met Tom after school. Waited for bus with me. Washed hair. Planned Chas 1 essay. Half-heartedly began revision.

Clearly the Swinging Sixties were passing me by – although prior to this I do recall being taken to see the Beatles at the Finsbury Park Astoria by a young man whom I subsequently (and ungratefully) dumped.

I had to stop and think about the length of time I’ve known my husband. I was mildly appalled to work out it has been 32 years. We’ve only been married for 22, though, which makes me feel slightly less ancient.

With luck, I think we might make our silver wedding. Maybe I will get my set of matching towels after all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Time Travels

Weddings are a wonderful source of stories. Loved the latest about the Toronto-based teacher Dave Barclay. He flew 3,500 miles across the Atlantic to attend a mate’s wedding only to find that - unlike the hapless Huw Grant character in FWAAF - far from being late, he was a year too early.

The misunderstanding arose after he got an email from a mate in Cardiff, saying he was getting married on July 6. The trouble was, he meant July 2008.

Dave - who clearly has no idea how long it takes to organise most weddings - has taken it all in good spirit apparently, telling BBC Wales that at least it should assure him a mention in the speech next year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Ever After?

What’s the collective noun for bridesmaids - a bevy? A beauty? Or even a bother?

How could I possibly stop writing about weddings when I keep stumbling across stories like this one in today’s Daily Mail.

When Michelle O’Reilly - a 44-year-old mother of three – got married on Saturday she was accompanied by a grand total of 24 bridesmaids. She just couldn’t bear to leave out any of her nieces, friends’ daughters or her own girls.

As the Mail observed, she is obviously a total romantic and believer in happy ever afters. She even named her youngest daughter Cinderella Rose.

Check it out on
(Sorry – haven’t figured out links yet.)

Monday, July 2, 2007

What's in a name?

Just got back to Blighty after a much-needed, thank-goodness-it’s-all-over holiday. I suppose I should now shut up. Or rename this blog.

I began it not long after New Year’s Eve. We were at a Wild West murder mystery evening with friends. When the daughter’s boyfriend rang the mobile just after midnight, my husband asked him if he could call back later as we were just about to learn whodunnit.

To his credit the boyfriend didn’t take this the wrong way. Particularly since it turned out that he hadn’t called to wish us Happy New Year. He wanted to ask if he could propose to our daughter.

When I started Mother of the Bride I thought it would have a shelf life of at least a year. But the happy couple’s decision to bring the wedding forward means I have gone from one persona to another in just six months.

And I’m not sure I like the sound of Mother-in-Law half as much.