Monday, September 13, 2004

Wedded bliss

Gemma offered me a lift to Kate's wedding. She assured me she'd forgotten how to drive, and she wasn't lying.

Only Gemma could make enjoyable fun out of a 300 mile drive, packed with valiant lurches towards third gear, short screaming fits, and constant rows with husband Serge (well, I say rows - generally he'd yell "Christ! We're driving on the pavement!" and she'd mutter "Yes. I know").

Gemma also perfected the Emergency Sulk. It's enormously like an Emergency Stop. During a particularly tense argument on a crowded country road she simply switched the car off at the ignition. No one died.

The wedding itself was a miracle of calmness. Kate and Mark looked charming and thrilled. Kate's brother stood next to me, sobbing during the service, and singing each hymn louder and lower than the last. Kate's mother grinned all the way through. There were hats.

The reception was a fine chance to see the hats dance. There were rose petals, amusing speeches, and small talk. We were surrounded by lawyers and accountants, so the small talk was small. Gemma decided to stay sober and drive us back ("I'd think less of myself if I mingled with these people drunk.").

Distressingly, I discovered that someone I knew and loved at school has grown-up to become A Horrible Person. I was about to say "hi" to him when I heard him toasting someone with the words, "Chin-Chin, Roger! I say, this man taught me to quaff port at an age when I could barely appreciate it." Apparently, earlier in the day he'd greeted Kate's grandmother with "What ho! I didn't know Kate had a younger sister."

Naturally, I ended up speaking to him. "What about you, old sprout? Anyone special? What? No. Pity. I'm marrying a Brazilian model. She's as rich as Croesus and I'm damn lucky. Poor you."

After two more people had asked me sadly if there was Anyone Special In My Life, I vowed to snap at the next person, "No, but I've had a fabulous summer of rough outdoor sex with strangers. Why?"

Got introduced to old friend Sam's charming mother. She's just had a mediaeval siege engine built in her garden, and was brimful of sensible advice about oysters, pregnancy, and dancing in high heels. Suddenly, she leant forward. "Tell me my dear, is there anyone special in your life?"

I looked at her. And made a bold decision. It was at this point that someone drove a wheelchair over my foot.

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