07 May 2008

2008 Weddings -- #1 in a Series of at Least 4

Last Sunday Kate and Silk, of whom you may have heard me speak (almost invariably in the context of beer, to nobody's particular surprise) tied the knot and got married in the Town Hall in Oxford, where B. and I held our wedding reception many years ago.

(For the usual reasons of busyness I failed to blog the relevant stag party a few weeks ago, where Silk and some sixteen other men in the 25-40 age bracket met at the stone circle in Avebury, wandered some ten miles through the thick scrubland of Wiltshire then drank a great deal of unsurprising beer in the middle of bloody nowhere. The plan of meeting for a drink at the stone circle was more sensible than it sounds, given that Avebury is the only stone circle in England which encircles a village, and more pertinently a pub.

It's a particular shame I missed the opportunity to blog about this, as I was going to use the title "Only Us Menhir". You'll just have to pretend I used it and react accordingly.)

Silk and Kate made the elementary error of asking me not only to read at the ceremony, but also to write something special for the occasion. Having tried before to write a sincere celebration of marriage as a sacrament and discovered that it came out a bit rubbish, I wasn't going to be tempted down that route again.

Here's what I read (or rather, since it requires a certain amount of comedy business with tones of voice and pieces of paper, performed):

by Philip Purser-Hallard

To Silk and Kate, with love
on the happy occasion of their wedding –
Sunday 4 May 2008.

Let not the marriage of true minds –
but you’ve heard that one. Let me talk
instead about the many kinds
of daily strife which make it awk-
ward to stay married, once those first
impediments are past. I’ve made
a list of those I find the worst.
My wife… helped. First – the marmalade.
No, hang on, that’s page 2. Let’s see...
You may find things that you yourself
put somewhere safe will later be
somewhere absurd, like on the shelf
where mug-trees live. Unless, you know,
they’re mug-trees, and that’s where they go.

Toenail clippings, rather than
the bin, might turn up in your bed,
your trousers, or your frying-pan.
A book that should be under Z
in fiction – a Zelazny, say –
you’ll find instead is in the car,
the bath, the fridge, or under J.
You’ll wonder where your pliers are,
and as for DVD remotes –
I’m ranting now. Perhaps it’s best
if I just give you all my notes,
and spare these charming folk the rest.
(You may think I’m exaggerating.
See what you think in 2018.)

© Philip Purser-Hallard 2008

(I'll be adding this to the website in due course, as soon as I can decide whether to put it among the poetic juvenilia or the mature prose, or to create a new category for it or what. It's about time I updated the site, given that the last time that happened seems to have been last year. [Edit to add: now updated.])

The wedding was the first of at least four, possibly five, that B. and I'll be attending this year. The bride and groom looked very very happy, and in Silk's case unwontedly smart (Kate looked gorgeous, but that's less unusual). It was, as ever, thoroughly lovely to catch up with many old friends, together with their partners and in one case progeny.

The three speeches, incredibly, were only 13 minutes 30 seconds long between them, meaning that B., who'd taken a risk with 14 minutes, won the sweepstake. My guess was nearly twice that.

The wedding breakfast was followed by punting (in which I wisely didn't partake) and board games (in which I equally wisely did -- Hive is fantastic and I need to buy it as a matter of urgency), music and dancing and at least four different types of cheese. Very nice wine, as well, which I didn't drink far too much of -- indeed, the only areas in which I disgraced myself were (inevitably) my dancing, and succumbing to the temptation to have a quick cigarette before leaving. Bad Phil.

Generally a very successful day, though, and one which would have achieved high marks if we'd kept up our scoring system. Roll on Sunday 25th in Taunton.

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