Monday, 10 August 2009

Nuptials, saucy Restoration poetry, and the return of Gertie Blood.

So, sunny summer weddings. Are they great or what? Particularly when the bride (let us call her Steak, for she is a vegetarian) concludes her touching speech of love to her new husband with the words ".. and I can't wait to start my life with you and start having lots of pasty little ginger freaks." The groom (let us call him Kidney), a more or less dead ringer for Frankie Boyle (or either of the Proclaimers), did a "fair comment" kind of shrug. Could any love be greater? Not a dry eye in the Gladstone Library of the Liberal Club. My only quibble was with the three flights of giant stairs one had to navigate in either direction to have a cigarette - surely if I provided proof I voted Lib Dem I'd be allowed to light up under the vast oil painting of Winston "Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em" Churchill? Sadly (and, in fact, legally) no. Not even in the vast Edwardian grandeur of the Smoking Room.
How stately and gorgeous is that? Less so when you've been up and down it 100000 times because the lift is full of band equipment...
Highlights of the day (for me) included some random tourists approaching the bride on the lawn outside and asking if she'd take a picture, er, of them. "I'm a little busy right now", she said, as if the long sparkly white dress hadn't given it away. And the bride's sister-in-law saying "Yes, the hen weekend in Newcastle was great, except that Sir Bobby Davro had just died so all the football fans were in mourning"*.
My part in this excellent day was the reading of "The Good Morrow" by John Donne. Complicated not at all by my fear that I would blush in an unseemly way on reading the line "Suck'd we on country pleasures childishly?" - yes, I know, I know, we're all grownups, but frankly John Donne meant it to be a tad racy (as any student of Shakespeare kno, reference to "country pleasures" and "country matters" are generally intended to be a euphemism). Luckily I was so enthralled by the sheer loveliness of my own voice in the scholarly setting of the Gladstone Library that I failed to even clear my throat. Although I took the precaution of looking at Steak throughout (smiling radiantly yet tearfully like a proper bride), rather than Kidney, who would have gurned at me.

HOWEVER. All weddings have that moment where you bump into someone and realise you knew them years ago; in my case, while sneaking into an empty sideroom (trying to find a balcony rather than brave the stairs for the billionth time), who should I see gazing down at me from the wall but the lovely Lady Colin Campbell (aka Gertie Blood). She's been gracing my sidebar (as have Steak & Kidney) for over a year now, and I've got used to dropping into the National Gallery to say hello every now and then - but there she was.

Surely that has to be an excellent omen of something.

* Note for non-football fans - Sir Bobby Robson = recently deceased giant of British football, latterly much-loved manager of Newcastle United. Bobby Davro = mediocre TV impressionist. Non-deceased, non-giant, non-much-loved.

14 comments:

JamaGenie said...

How ironic that one now cannot smoke in the Smoking Room. Helloooo... But Lucy dear, I hate to burst your bubble: Obama is trying to - horror of horrors - give up smoking! Maybe a good thing in his case, as he'll probably put on a few much-needed pounds. But still....

Lucy Fishwife said...

I have to say, they were saying he was "trying to give up" ages ago - and I bet the pressures of being president aren't helping! Ditto for any weight gain, although, unlike Gordon Brown, he doesn't look like he'll be felled unexpectedly by a coronary any time soon...

mantua maker said...

Do you know where the Steak got her wedding dress from? Now that I've just done one, and it stayed in one piece, even after all the dancing, I might, just might, consider doing another one. The weight of responsbility didn't hit me till half-way though making it, it was all going fine until my sister said "How's the wedding dress going? It must be absolutely terrifying" and then I thought oh christ. But the complements on the day, the happiness of the bride etc made it all worthwhile. Are people still prepared to spend good money on dresses in these frugal times do you think?

Lucy Fishwife said...

Not sure where she got it - if I say it had a chemise-y type top (cap sleeves for the posh) and a train one could tie up (which involved me on my knees scrabbling around up her skirt, much to everyone's amusement) that doesn't help, does it? will find out when she gets back from Brazeeeeeeel.

Nora Johnson said...

I am convinced that weddings, like funerals, bring out both the best and worst in people. The solemnity, the ritual, the coming together of those who perhaps don't even like each other - each plays its part! Doubtlessly helped (and hindered) in equal measure, too, by an abundance of alcohol and a shortage of cigarettes...

A priceless post - you have an unerring eye for life's petty foibles!

French Fancy said...

You must have a lovely voice to have been selected to read the poem - I bet it's the ciggies; you must be husky like a young Fenella Fielding.

Anyway I finshed the Byatt and I'm not too sure about it really. So much purple prose - too much in fact and with a rambling narrative as well. I still turned the pages though so it did its job.

Reading Mansfield Park now which amazingly has always passed me by,

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hi Nora - yes, weddings are great, although (and I hope I don't sound like a psycho as I say this) the best laugh I ever had was at my grandfather's memorial service - which, actually, he would have liked. The day began with a mad old cousin shouting "I had an extraordinary experience with a radish this morning!" into a sudden hush, and went downhill from there...

FF - Oh I WISH I sounded like Fenella Fielding. I can do deep but not husky, despite the ciggies. I had a shameful moment the other day where I suddenly remembered that I hadn't read the last 10 pages of the ASByatt (I was readding it on the plane) - so I did that, and of course had forgotten who everybody was. Now may have to take a deep breath and read it again...

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling I hope you had a lovely weekend. I just stopped by to wish you a sunny day!!

♥ hugs ♥

Duchess

Steve said...

Has Kidney got Frankie Boyle's ferociously red beard?

Love the tourist's asking the bride to take their photo... classic sit com gold, that is.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Duchess - you too my petal! xxx

Steve - Luckily Kidney is clean-shaven - pretty much the only way to tell them apart. Oddly enough we also have another friend (Welsh rather than Norn Arsh like Kidney) who could be another clone. We made them stand next to each other once and I have to say, they were very patient and good natured about it (as we all stood there humming "Letter From America")...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

One can only hope that any woman capable of such racism proves irrevocably infertile.

Would she get away with such an offensive comment when referring to children of any other ethnic colour?

I think not.

The difference with Catherine Tate making such jokes is that the redhead always has the last laugh.

Though scientists have proven that we are actually the nicest and most sensitive souls as we know all too well what it is like to be bullied.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

PS: And according to my gorgeous boyfriend, we are also the best in bed!

Lucy Fishwife said...

Laura - Oh no, it was intended in a spirit of love and envy. After all, the groom is a ginger, as are several of her friends - and her mother-in-law! But I agree with you on all the things you said, especially the PS (allegedly)...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Well humour that low-brow is definitely nearing knuckle-scraping territory. Obviously he fancies her for her sense of class and sophistication.

Or he could just be SO absurdly grateful 'cos he's ginger and found someone to marry him of course.

; - )