Ding dong


Quickly now – we’ve got a lot to get through. First things first: the wedding. Firster than that, though: the chuffing journey down there. Bloody hell! It’s only bloody Berkshire! I went wrong before I’d even boarded a train. ‘Change at Reading’ is a lie. This won’t be a blow-by-blow; it’s boring for you and salts a wound for me. However, a slideshow would include being wrapped into the contours of a stranger on a commuter train. 40 minutes at Reading. A laconically unhelpful Pole. 25 minutes at Newbury. Cancelled taxis, frantic calls to the bride, calls to the hotel to tell mate Rowena what was happening (she had no signal) and then being yelled at by Rowena who’d been waiting for three hours (in a pleasant country pub with a book, I nearly roared back but didn’t because I’m useless). Bloody hell! It’s only bloody Berkshire! was actually her line. And that’s how you turn an advertised 56-minute journey into two hours and 15 minutes.

The next day dawned glorious – and calm. Mist on the meadow, leaves on the turn, pale blue sky, horizon the colour of apricots, heat already promised at 7am. Wardrobe rethink: short-sleeved green shift dress, red heels. The service was beautiful, though surprisingly old-fashioned. Emma didn’t quite promise to obey, but we did seem to take a detour while the minister earnestly reminded us of the inestimable value of an amiable and sober woman. We were all a bit hypnotised by the buzzing of the wasps in the flower displays, but I jerked awake at that one. Amiable and sober? Wtf? I’ve always thought forsaking all others was a tall enough order without having to be amiable and sober into the bargain. In fact, I’d probably tell any hapless Intended unlucky enough to be in the crosshairs that he could choose one out of three.

The reception was in an old barn beside the church, set around a lawn into which all the women’s heels instantly sank. But it was so hot we were bare-legged, so we ditched the shoes, and shorter and happier, we toasted the couple. And that was how we spent the day, muddy-footed, drinking champagne in the autumn sunshine, celebrating the wedding of two incredibly nice people. I remained amiable throughout, though sober? No promises.


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