Saturday, September 26, 2009

Right said Fred

I am writing this post to escape from the activity downstairs. The son and the husband are moving large sofas from one room to another. The decorators are coming on Monday.
When we moved in to this house almost 28 years ago (or at least, when the husband moved in – I was still on the post-natal ward) we slowly painted and papered until we got the house the way we wanted.
Some of the rooms have had several make-overs since then. The room I am typing in (now known as my study) was once wallpapered with racing cars and motorbikes.
The room we planned to have made over this time was what we call the dining room. We used to hold dinner parties there but over the years we seem to have gravitated to the kitchen table when we have friends round.
I suppose we could refer to it as the music room, since there is a piano in there. But only the son plays it – and only at Christmas. I suppose what it is now is a spare sitting/tv/games room, mostly used by young people when they would rather not talk to us or watch whatever it is we are watching elsewhere.
Anyway, my husband decorated this room at least 25 years ago, lovingly picking out the cornices in a contrasting colour and carefully matching the very large repeat Chinese style wall paper.
This was so long ago that the wallpaper has come back into fashion, I think, but there’s no denying that it has got rather tatty and it’s time to start all over again. The husband has got a little too long in the tooth for all that kind of thing now (his relationship with ladders has always been a bit up and down) so that is why we booked the decorators.
Only now I have been persuaded that the room we spend far more time should be the one to receive their care and attention. Hence the sofa removal.
I’d like to say sofa so good, but from what I can hear it’s not going well….

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hat and Feathers

The invitation on the mantelpiece isn’t to a wedding but a 60th birthday party. The venue is the Hat and Feathers – and so is the theme. I have no idea what to wear but I doubt it will be a hat. I didn’t even wear a hat to the daughter’s wedding.
And speaking of hats and weddings ….

The last book club meeting was hosted by one of the two soon-to-be mothers of a bride. So soon, in fact, that the wedding was taking place a mere three days after we met to pull Dave Boling’s novel Guernica apart.
Those of us whose heads weren’t full of timetables, manicures, providing lunch for the bridesmaids (it’s a late afternoon affair) and so on were astounded that anyone whose head was could still a) entertain and b) think about books.
But the most astounding thing of all – to me, at any rate – was to learn that as the mother of bride was, in a very short space of time, to fly halfway round the world to become a mother of a groom, she was planning to Fedex her very expensive wedding hat to Australia.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Love Ewe

Loved the story about Louise the sheep breeder who used the wool from one of Lincoln Longwools to make her wedding dress. She also carried a Bo-Peep crook rather than a bouquet and found sheep-shaped chocolate favours for her guests. You can read the full details on the Mail or Telegraph websites.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rain, rain go away

Back from a week in Wales. Now I remember why those first package holidays were so wonderful. Sunshine. And paella.
In Wales we had a meal in one of the ubiquitous Farmers' Arms pubs that was memorable for all the wrong reasons - the chef had decided to serve the (burnt) crab cakes with a dollop of coleslaw and some very vinegary beetroot, on top of two old large lettuce leaves. Then s/he added a slice of orange and a slice of kiwi fruit. In my head I could hear Gordon Ramsey shouting four letter words.
The new potatoes were fine but I think that was enough staycationing for a while. Did I mention we had five and a half days of rain?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The long haul wedding

If you’re a MOTB – past or present – then you’ll be no stranger to the way in which weddings have changed since the days when your generation tied the knot.
As Imogen Edward-Jones (co-author of a book* I keep meaning to read) observes in the Times today: ‘What used to be a nice glass of champagne and a slice of cake in the village hall, with all the guests getting home at 6pm has morphed into an epic event.’
Or, as psychologist Oliver James puts it: ‘It’s like going on some long-haul flight. It starts at lunch and finishes somewhere after midnight.’
A former uni classmate of mine, Bel Mooney, is also writing about weddings today – this time in the Mail.
Her daughter is getting married and – unlike her mum who toddled off to the register office virtually between lectures with the minimum of fuss and bother – Kitty wants the big white deal.
Looking back I realise we were lucky that while our only daughter wanted a special day, she wanted one that was special for reasons that had nothing to do with extravagance or showiness. And we were probably lucky, too, that she didn’t have months and months to plan and dream and read all those wedding magazines.
So why do so many young women get carried away with planning their marathon weddings?
Edward-Jomes suggests it’s because a generation of women has grown up with the I’m Worth It syndrome, in a society that celebrates the cult of celebrity where we all want our five minutes of stardom.
James says its because ‘little girls have been infected with a pink princess culture’.
Either way, I can’t help feeling it’s all got out of hand.

*Wedding Babylon

Monday, July 6, 2009

Four weddings and a catfight (with thanks to the Daily Mail sub who wrote this headline)

There’s a new show on tv tonight all about weddings. But I don’t think I’ll be tuning in. It appears to be to be based on the worst side of human nature – whereas I prefer to think of weddings as happy, joyous occasions that can bring out the best in us. (I know, sentimental old fool).

Anyway, the format is that four brides go to each other’s ‘perfect day’ – and afterwards are encouraged to tell us what they thought, no holds barred.

No weddings for us at present (although my thoughts are with other MOTBs who are in the final countdown) but we did see a painting of a wedding on Saturday when we went to the Futurist exhibition at Tate Modern.

It’s by Leger and I probably wouldn’t have realised it was a wedding unless I’d read the info (incidentally, why can’t galleries use larger print when they do those captions they stick on the wall – it’s not just my generation that has to get really close to read them).

Interestingly, the acerbic exchange of opinions between Futurists, Cubists, Surrealists and all the other – ists of the art world leaves most of today’s reality tv backstabbers in the shade.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Too busy to blog

We’ve been to Java, Bali and Lombok via the giant mall that is Singapore.
We played pass the babies at Luton airport so their parents could go to a wedding one weekend.
We visited friends who have moved to East Sussex and spotted a partridge, a green woodpecker and signs of badgers.
And now I’m on jury service (so far one not guilty – although we would have liked to be able to say not proven – and two changed pleas to guilty at last minute).
Why is it that people I know have never been called for jury service, while I’ve done it twice and husband has done it three times, despite being self employed and having to work in the evenings to catch up? Surely they can’t all have form or be too apolitical to put themselves on the electoral register?
And shouldn’t there be some rough and ready English language comprehension tests for jurors?
But this pic cheered me up.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Feel the Force

The wedding season appears to be in full swing. After reading about the Shrek nuptials I spotted pictures of a Star Wars wedding that took place between a Hans Solo and a Princess Leia on the Isle of Wight.

This time the teenage lad who was involved in the proceedings was the groom’s 18-year-old son and best man.
Keiran deserves special recognition in the Wedding Day Hall of Fame. He supported his Dad all the way - dressed up as Chewbacca.

And now, in other news:
The front of the house is being painted – so I am working on the dining room table instead of my study.
Baby Bea can now roll over.
Big Brother now speaks.
We enjoyed the film State of Play (which is surprising since we’re normally very critical of films featuring journalists).
My ankle still pains me five weeks after I fell on the stairs at the Hawley Arms (the Amy Winehouse effect).
We are making exciting holiday plans. I’m not telling what or where, except to say it won’t be Skiathos even if they are experiencing a boom in weddings there this year.
That’s the Mama Mia effect.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Ogre After

I knew you could have Shrek wedding cakes (this one was made by Boogiebabys of Rochester, Kent) but it never occurred to me that anyone would take the theme to its ultimate expression and get married as Shrek and Princess Fiona.
Raise a glass, however, to Christine England and Keith Green, the 40-somethings from Barnstable who did just that last week.
The story made the nationals – and the line I liked best was the one about Christine’s 16-year-old son who refused to dress up as Donkey for the day.
That’s my wedding thought of the day. Now I shall waffle.
The house seems strangely quiet as the clan has returned to Scotland leaving behind: two car seats; one buggy; two travel cots and bedding; four muslins; a change mat; assorted vests and socks; two bibs; a sandpit; a slide; two boxes of toys, bricks and books; two half empty packs of disposable nappies (size 3 and 5); two tubes of Metanium; a pack of baby wipes; an Annabel Karmel concoction in the freezer plus two small portions of my home-made spag bol sauce; a clip on to the table toddler seat; a lie back and bounce baby chair; a travel steriliser; a baby alarm and a gap in my life.
They return next month for a wedding and we will be babysitting for 48 hours. Can’t wait.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bride in waiting

The baby who arrived on Christmas Eve is growing almost visibly. She's three months already - I'm sure time is speeding up. This is the kind of picture someone (naming no names) is bound to produce when she celebrates her 18th birthday. Or gets married.

And, no, it isn't a potty. Even I didn't start sitting my children on a potty at the age of three months. It's a new fangled gizmo that sits them up. I think it may be called a Bumbo.

She doesn't always look so serious.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


My husband says all I do on this blog now is witter. (At least I don’t Twitter.)
Anyway, I do sometimes witter about weddings, and daughters who once were brides, and what it’s like being the mother of one, not to mention a wife.
Last Saturday the husband and I walked from Archway to Islington. That may not sound far to North Londoners who walk, but it certainly felt far enough for me. The walking is part of his plan to get me fit.
On the way we passed Islington town hall. A group of smartly dressed people were gathered outside.
Must be a wedding, observed the husband. I said nothing. I find it hard to walk (at his pace) and talk.
A few minutes later we saw, coming towards us, a man in a suit and a woman wearing a smart dress and a hat, hurrying along the uneven pavements. They were clearly wedding guests – and just as clearly running late.
A little further on we encountered another couple. Also hurrying. It seemed likely that they had arrived by tube and decided to walk from the Angel.
It doesn’t look far on the A-Z. And it’s certainly not as far as Archway to Islington.
But I wouldn’t like to try it at pace in four-inch heels.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The wedding in the news this week is Jade's. I don't think I can add anything to the piece Justine Picardie wrote in the Times. I think everyone should read it.
It's here:>

Monday, February 16, 2009

Under the table

Despite my hard-drinking Fleet Street past I don't think I've ever actually ended up in this position. But the new grandchild seems to like it and she's out of harm's way there. (Big brother is now walking, but a bit unsteady on his pins when he's tired.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Surprise

As anyone interested enough to backtrack through the archives may recall, tomorrow is both my birthday and my wedding anniversary.

This time we are not going to lunch. We are going to dinner. Yet again, I don’t know where.

I’m sure it will be a lovely surprise. But you’d think after 24 years my dearly beloved would know I’m not that keen on surprises (control freak that I am). Apart from anything else, I don’t have a clue what to wear.

OR ?????

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Star Struck

Husband is back home from his consultancy work in Kerala and feeling the cold. We decide to prolong the Indian flavour of life a little by going to our local cinema to see the film Slumdog Millionaire. When I check the times online I note that Bride Wars is also showing.

In the interests of research for this blog I feel I should suggest seeing this instead but I can guess what the response would be. So all I can tell you is that plot is as follows:

Two best friends have dreamt of their fairytale wedding since they were 10 years old. Now, the big day has finally arrived and they find themselves in a fight. Their weddings have been double booked at the same venue and they must go the extra mile to try to stop their ‘best’ friend’s special day.

By coincidence, another film about weddings appears to be coming soon. This one is called Rachel Getting Married.

It’s Rachel’s wedding day and family and friends are gathered for a weekend of celebration. Then Rachel’s sister Kym arrives, bringing crisis and conflict that ensure the celebrations don’t go according to plan.

So far, so normal, I’d say. The only odd thing is the fact that the actress Anne Hathaway is starring in this film, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Many moons ago in the days when we had typewriters and phone boxes instead of laptops and iPhones, people wrote each other love letters. By hand.
My yet-to-be husband was one of them and I still have a cache in a tin box in a cupboard somewhere.
These days, when we are apart, he emails or texts. Or, worse still, insists on Skypeing.
I have always been a bit of a Luddite, but I cannot take this seriously.
It’s a bit creepy being able to see my beloved sitting in his hotel room thousands of miles away, looking oddly yellow, his mouth moving out of synch with the words coming out of my speakers.
Unnerved by the sight of my head in the box in the left-hand corner of my screen, I’m unable to resist pulling faces and bobbing down out of sight.
I am relieved when the message flashes up: connection lost.
In more ways than one, I think.