When Andrew and I first met (ah! Those halcyon days when Andrew didn’t maim me), all our friends were getting engaged. Then we went through a wearing wedding phase and now there’s a bumper crop of babies. It was therefore refreshing to attend Mark and Sarah’s wedding on Thursday.
It was held in Jebel Ali – the same church where Miles and Sharon practiced their knot tying in June. I love weddings – the ceremony always grabs me by the gut and gives it a vigorous massage. I find it very moving, even with Andrew hissing, ‘Are you crying yet?’ at intervals. Mark and Sarah had opted for the reading from 1 Corinthians 13, and the signing of the registry was accompanied by Bob Marley’s ‘Let’s Get Together and Feel All Right’.
When Miles and Sharon married, their minister exhibited a set of frankly scandalous toenails in a pair of sandals. Sharon later reported that she had never encountered anyone so in need of a caustic acid pedicure. The last thing you need when you’re making that ultimate decision as to whether to spend the rest of your life with someone are great horny toes with wedges of cheese on the side.
In Mark and Sarah’s case, although the Reverend’s wife later confirmed that his toes are perky and free of mould (one assumes you can trust these people), we were all thankful that he did not feel compelled to air his little piggies. Having a vocation is no excuse to neglect personal hygiene. My dad has lovely feet of a light, fruity fragrance and always keeps his nails well clipped – he’s a shining example to the ministry.
After the service everyone piled off to the Royal Mirage for lunch on the beach. Although lunch was fabulously nouveau – a veritable treat to look at – the meal was half a casserole short of substantial. But there was plenty of booze on offer . . . and this is where the rot set in.
By the time we went back to Mark and Sarah’s house for some serious celebration, we’d been fairly chugging it back. Mark and Sarah had hired The Fairmont Hotel to do the catering. In other words, there was always someone unobtrusively on hand to top up the drink.
It was CARNAGE. I sang. I vaguely remember drunkenly discussing Darina Allen’s sex appeal and the minxy way she mixes up a cake. Andrew evicted the Barman and concocted tumblers of B52s, spending an hour pouring liqueur over a teaspoon with his tongue clenched between his teeth. Then he fell asleep on the sofa, whereupon I took over and treated guests to the ‘Shaw Shooter’: 1 measure each of Sambuca, Tia Maria, Watermelon Liqueur, Jack Daniels and Gin mixed with 2 measures of Amaretto. Or whatever else is at hand – the beauty of the Shaw Shooter is that it is a constantly evolving phenomenon. Everyone pronounced it ‘outstanding’ – everyone left standing that is, bipedals being fairly thin on the ground at this stage.
Being too drunk to take a hint, we were still present if not correct long after the remaining guests had left. Sarah eventually had to kick Mark (Fitz, not her new husband), Andrew and I out. Luckily Mark lives just up the road so we crashed at his place.
The next day was pretty grim, I can tell you. Andrew and I clambered back into our wedding kit. My formerly elegant frock was stained with half a pint of Shaw Shooter, and my heels – so sexy for a mid-day wedding – were frankly sluttish at nine o’clock the morning after. Mark, Andrew and I sat in Mark’s living room balefully glaring at each other, wafting furry tongue breath and swallowing stomach acid-laced burps. Mark was kind enough to drive us back to our place where we crashed for a few hours, then lay around moaning for the rest of the day.
I am now harboring a range of bruises coloured peppered mustard to mouldy aubergine; still feeling sore and crotchety and rather old.
Speaking of which, I’ve noticed that people no longer ask my age and on the rare occasions they do I can never remember whether I am 33, 34 or 35. I have to mentally subtract 1972 from the current year. Another thing: these days the calculation is much harder to perform – it really wears out my aging synapses. If someone asked me to perform some on the spot calculus I’d probably wipe out half my brain.
While I’m on the subject, another adjustment I’m finding hard is the filling out of forms where they thoughtfully provide tick-boxes next to the age brackets, in case you are too ancient to remember your date of birth. Up until relatively recently, I always happily ticked the first box. It was a tragic day when I went to the Sony site to register my MP3 player, and the form read:-
What is your age?
Under 10 c
Over 30* c
* This site is geriatric friendly. If you do not have the energy to tick the box we will understand if you leave it free
I’m THE LAST BOX!! I’m thinking of boycotting Sony. At the very least, it is now a matter of principle not to recommend Sony products