The one where the wedding is only three months away and at this rate there’ll be no guests and my groom will be naked

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Almost two months have passed since I last wrote. Wedding plans are coming along nicely… Except that they are not and that last statement was a big fat porky pie. We’re in exactly the same position as we were back in May, apart from the fact that we’ve started to have conversations that end with “Yeah, we really should do something about that…” before we start watching the next episode of *insert generic box set title*.

Our next challenge is to get invitations sent out. This is taxing because it involves concentrated and continuous use of a pen, and a fancy pen at that. We’re not talking bog standard Bic, we’ve got the big guns out; italic nib, swanky case, ritzy ink. The Prince of pens.

Considering we live in a technological age, I don’t think I’ve properly used a pen since the millennium. God forbid someone even asks me to sign my name these days; I stare at them distastefully “Can’t I just press a button or something?”. Sadly, it turns out that Facebook event wedding invites are just not the done thing, so we’re going to have to start practicing our penmanship post haste.

In this mammoth game of ‘wedding planning’ that we are playing right now (less fun than Trivial Pursuit, I’ll be honest), Brad has one job. His job is to pick a suit, so that we can order more suits for the rest of the men in the wedding party. I tricked him into Marks and Spencer recently with the promise of Percy Pigs and encouraged him to look around at the suits whilst he was there. I received a similar response to the time I’d asked him to unblock the kitchen sink because it wasn’t draining and it smelled like a sweaty, farty gym. In fact I think he’d take smelly sink unblocking over suit shopping any day of the week.

In other news, my weight loss is continuing which has brought me both great joy and immense sadness.

On the plus side I can buy smaller clothes and fit into some of the clothes from my “Hmmm, it doesn’t strictly fit me now (circa 1997) but I’m sure I will lose weight soon so it would be wrong to return it to the store in exchange for replacement money” clothes drawer. So if you see me wandering around looking like some sort of ancient spice girl, you’ll understand why.

Weight loss negatives are that I have suffered a catastrophic bereavement; RIP boobs. You were so loved and gave so much joy to so many. Who knew that you were actually 50% cake?

I am also discovering how much more uncomfortable the world is without a bouncy layer of fat to protect you. There is a lump in my car seat, it’s always been there, I’ve never paid it much attention, suddenly it’s started impertinently digging into my arse. The fat soldier is no longer on duty to protect me from such rascals.

And now for my most significant achievement since my last post. It is one that I hardly dared dream about. It just goes to show that wishes can come true…. I am delighted to announce that I have gone down another setting on my Fitbit wrist band.

Screw the wedding, weight loss: Nailed it.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but…

47423Wedding season is upon us and with it comes the wedding gift debate. Do you have a wedding gift list? Do you wing it and hope not to receive three toasters and an egg poacher. How do you sensitively ask for money instead? What about gift vouchers?

Once upon a time, the wedding gift debate was mine, and in my case certainly the question was how do you convince your new husband that spending your Marks and Spencer wedding gift vouchers on a dress rather than some saucepans is a perfectly reasonable request?

Help on this front came in the form of two of our wedding guests. These were two people that I hardly knew. My husband-to-be had been to the pub one night, probably drunk until he couldn’t remember his own name or who on earth he was marrying and promptly invited a bunch of people to our wedding claiming that they were his ‘friends’. To put this into perspective, this is the man who got in a temper and nearly missed his own wedding rehearsal for absolutely no reason. I now know him to have been suffering from a chronic condition known as ‘beingatosseritis’. Honestly, I can’t think why the marriage didn’t last. Anyway, I digress. The wedding went without a hitch. We were on a budget so it was a relatively low key affair with about 60 guests, but the sun shone and I managed to justly avoid the personae non gratae.

No-one gets married in order to receive wedding presents. Based on the average price of a wedding these days, £18,244 according to the Telegraph; you can skip the wedding, buy yourself a rotary toaster and employ an egg poaching breakfast chef for the eleven and a half years that the average British marriage lasts. However, there is a certain etiquette regarding wedding presents. If the bride and groom have a wedding list, buy something from it. If there is nothing on the wedding list that you want to buy, you can’t go wrong with a gift voucher from Marks and Spencer so the bride can buy a new dress a sensible grown up home store like Ikea or Debenhams and worst case scenario, if you are having a personal financial crisis, don’t buy a gift, just send a card with lovely words or buy something small and thoughtful.

Two of the pub guests obviously were unaware of this wedding present protocol, although, this was not clear at first. At the wedding, they presented us with a beautifully wrapped box. ‘How wonderful’, I thought, berating myself for giving my new husband a hard time. They were his friends, he wanted them there, they’d obviously been out and bought us something special to celebrate our big day and I was touched by this.

When we opened our wedding presents the day after the wedding, the pub guest present was one of the last gifts to be opened. We shook the box. It rattled. Bemused, we wondered what was inside. We ripped open the wrapping paper to reveal…

…A 500g box of Shredded Wheat.

And that’s the story of how I ended up with a very nice Marks and Spencer dress to wear on my honeymoon.

No muse is good news

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I haven’t had time to write for a while because the irritating realities of life have been getting in the way; employment, household chores, battles with my ex-husband, the usual. I mean figurative battles through polite conversations and emails with my solicitor, not actual combat. I’m not She-Ra, princess of power.

For anyone who was not a seven year old girl in 1985, She-Ra is He-Man’s twin sister. She had her very own television series aimed at girls which was fabulous and entertaining and *whispers* cancelled after one season.

Every day I intend to write and every day something dull gets in the way and stops me, but today I am determined to put pen to paper, well, fingers to keyboard at least.

I went to a party last weekend, which I should point out was absolutely not “something dull getting in the way” of my writing. It was great fun with lovely people, even taking into account the fact that I drove and had to drive home with a tipsy Brad passed out snoring on the back seat. As he’s nearly 6ft and my car is 5ft 3in wide, he did have to contort him himself ‘man origami’ style into a folded up version of himself in order to fall asleep, but annoyingly he managed it.

At the party I was telling my friends about my new lodger, having given washer woman Wanda the boot a few weeks ago. Someone made a comment about the fact that giving my previous lodger the heave-ho, seemed to have coincided with my blog writing dry spell and that perhaps she had been my muse. This has played on my mind all week and I desperately need to write something in order to prove that my ex-lodger was not Samson’s hair in tenant form.

Because I’m feeling under considerable pressure to come up with the goods, admittedly it’s pressure that I’ve put on myself but nevertheless, it’s still pressure, I have looked again to the daily prompt for inspiration. Today’s topic is “Community Service: Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, your neighbourhood, your family, your colleagues — is guaranteed to read your blog tomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.”

The post I should write is about helping your neighbours, forgiving people and being kind to each other and other fluffy and unrealistic goals. I’m not going to write about this because everyone knows what they should be doing. It’s not achievable. It would be like telling my cat not to catch an insect aperitif before her dinner, crunching loudly as she devours it. She’s a cat, that’s what they do.

I think it’s better to highlight something positive instead, if only to get the image of my cat chomping on a cricket out of your head.

I feel slightly uncomfortable with the term “community”. When you live in a City with 273,399 other people, it’s hard to feel like you are part of a traditional community. However, many of the other 273,399 people living in Brighton who aren’t me, are quirky and vibrant and ever so slightly odd and that’s what makes me smile about them.

After work this evening, I popped to the supermarket around the corner from where I live and there was a man walking along the road towards me eating one of those individual tiramisu pots with a plastic spoon. He had the cardboard container and the second tiramisu pot clasped tightly in one hand and a look of profound concentration on his face, possibly because of the challenge of walking and eating with a spoon at the same time. Surely it’s got to be a bit like patting your head and rubbing your belly? I struggle to eat anything out of a pot without spilling it down me, eating as well as walking is quite literally a step too far. The first thing that struck me was to think ‘wow, he must really need pudding’. The second thing that occurred to me was the fact that it was peculiar that I didn’t find it strange that tiramisu man was walking along the road in the middle of the evening eating a tasty, sponge fingery, Italian desert and no one else seemed to notice or care either.

In my community, pretty much anything goes. I once went to a fancy dress party dressed as Cleopatra with flowing robes, over the top make up, a wig and a decorative hair piece. I was driving to the party which was in Horsham and I picked up a couple of fancy dressed friends en route when suddenly my petrol light flashed on. I knew I couldn’t make it all the way to Horsham, so had to stop at the garage and fill up, in full pharaoh finery, at 7pm on a Saturday night. What I remember most about this is that no-one said a word to me, no one laughed, no-one raised an eyebrow, no-one questioned me. On another occasion a group of us dressed as Mother Christmas, Hawaiian Barbie and Pocahontas stopped at Sainsbury’s to buy alcohol and again, not an eyelid was batted. In Brighton we have a naked bike ride, a museum filled with more than half a million stuffed dead animals and an annual chocolate festival just as a starter for ten; Cleopatra filling her fiesta up at a Shell Garage and Pocahontas buying vodka is decidedly unremarkable.(For the record, I was unaware of the existence of this chocolate festival until today when I researched it and now I’m bloody furious. How do I not know about this marvellous event? Do they also have a beautiful shoe festival and a great big cake festival that they have been hiding from me?)

*****

Selective snob

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“It is impossible in our condition of society not to be sometimes a snob” – William Makepeace Thackeray.

Apparently (according to my quick and dirty Google search a few moments ago) the word snob was first recorded in the late eighteenth century as a term for a shoemaker or apprentice and although no-one seems to understand how it came to mean “stuck up, snooty, high and mighty and pretentious” as it does today (Google’s synonym search is also handy), I do like the fact that the word has a connection to shoes.

I consider myself to be a bit of a snob in a number of areas.

Nightwear: Pyjamas and slippers should be worn in the house only. I might possibly concur that you could stretch the bedwear zone to the doorstep of your own home if you are waving goodbye to someone but that is it. Wearing bedtime clothes to the shop, on the school run, to the garage, is just wrong. You might as well fashion your duvet into some sort of padded frock (also wrong, don’t get any ideas). If I was king of a supermarket, I might even go so far as to implement a dress code. If you’re wearing brushed cotton tartan, anything that says ‘I don’t like mornings’ on it or trousers covered in pictures of tiny pink yawning dogs, you’re not coming in.

Cake: Victoria sponge is THE grand mistress of cakes but only when it contains buttercream icing as well as jam. Butter and sugar, so wrong but so very right. The Women’s Institute, who are advocates of the jam only, no buttercream school of Victoria sponge thinking, would be horrified at this comment, but I think I’ll live without their support. Just as an aside, I would have absolutely no idea whether they have a branch in Brighton, how you join or what they actually do apart from bake cake and sing Jerusalem. I think I’d have more luck scoring some cocaine than joining the local WI. Well, apart from the fact that I only know the term ‘score’ from Nasty Nick in Eastenders, I would have no idea if I was snorting coke or icing sugar and that I just had to Google ‘what colour is cocaine?’ to check that it was actually white for the purposes of this entry. Although I’m slightly more tempted to try it now that I’ve discovered that it’s an appetite suppressant. Could help me out on the diet front, particularly given my love of Victoria sponges.

Shoes: I am an absolute shoe snob, I could almost be talked into terminating a friendship with someone who would even consider, no matter how fleetingly, the idea of buying shoes that fasten with Velcro and don’t even get me started on Crocs. Shoe inspiration should not come from a plastic laundry basket. I have a friend who owns and has worn Crocs in public near me. I pretended that I didn’t know her. My mum has shoes that fasten with Velcro that she wears to work. It’s hard for me to make that confession but I can’t pretend that I don’t know her. Although I would rather be disclosing that she’s actually my dad and until 1988 was a civil servant called Derek, so great is my shoe snobbery.

You’re / Your: There is a sandwich shop on a main road on the way to my sister’s house and I’ve often driven past it and thought that it looked nice and clean, well presented and that if I needed to urgently buy a sandwich at a notorious traffic hotspot on the congested A27, this shop would be the one I’d choose. Well, that was until I drove past it the other day and it had a banner outside which said “You’re local sandwich shop”. I am not a local sandwich shop. I’m a person. You’re means you are. How hard is it to get that? I mean, of the six original letters in the two words, five of them are still there and the sixth has been replaced by an apostrophe. A bit like this: Local sandwich shop is completely sh’t at grammar. If Mr Sandwich shop man doesn’t know his your from his you’re, what is to say that he might not know his chicken from his mechanically separated meat? Not a risk I’m prepared to take.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a secret snob-free side to me. There are a number of things that I am unashamedly not a snob about.

Magazines: The cheesier the better. I want to know about the woman who had babies with a man who turned out to be her long lost brother/father/uncle/son, the toddler who can sing like Frank Sinatra and the man with the giant cock who can’t find love; he might be hung by a donkey but, bless him, he also looks like one too. I suspect that’s why he’s still single.

Ironing: I can live with the creases. Life is too short to iron.

Newspapers: I am addicted to the Daily Mail app on my iPhone and the trashy “celebrity” section. Although most of the time I genuinely don’t know who the people are that I am reading about. Some woman who dated the bass player of a mediocre mainstream band six years ago has worn the same dress three years apart. Fuck me. Why didn’t someone text me an alert about that sooner? I have also read The Sun, although not since the phone hacking scandal hit the News of the World; I’m not an animal. Plus, I wouldn’t do it in public. It’s strictly ‘at-home-behind-closed-doors-and-possibly-even-then-whilst-wearing-some-sort-of-disguise-in-case-the-postman-spots-me-through-the-letterbox’ type of reading material.

Wine: £1.99 special, with a delicate bouquet of wet dog, wellington boots and winkles? Are you kidding me? It’s £1.99. I can always top it up with lemonade.

“Wine is wonderful stuff but so many people are put off by the snobbery of it” – John Cleese

Don’t worry John, I’ve got it all under control.