It was away to the Cotswolds the other weekend in order to attend the nuptials of the Dark Lady's best friend, Annie; a woman that I am getting to know and like immensely.
She will be reading this so it is important to keep on the right side as she knows all the DL's "Skeletons". I am hoping for a few juicy nuggets of personal info just in case we ever have a knock down drag-out fight about anything:
"Well, I may have forgotten to take the rubbish out but at least I didn't get horribly drunk on holiday in Lloret and marry a 74 year-old waiter called Pablo!"
"Darling, I never knew your Great Aunt was Eva Braun?"
So far on all the evidence from first-hand experience and what Annie has told me, there is nothing to get my teeth into.
She doesn't even like shopping that much either, so we can't argue about a totally unnecessary pair of shoes (as I reach for a nerdy magazine to drool over the prospect of a totally necessary second car or a Microlight).
I will play the long game on this one.
DL knew where we were headed so, as it was Friday - and by the end of the week I tend to be a bit shot to pieces with the early starts - she drove. We drove west with me occasionally waking from my slumber to proffer some important and timely route advice:
"MIND THAT BUS"
"HOW FAST DO YOU CALL THIS??"
"OH....SEEMS FAster......" (lamely subsiding).
DL is a far better driver than me so I am in no position to criticise. It is just what we blokes are programmed to do.
The Warp speed journey continued and we soon found ourselves in a pretty village outside a pub called "The Ear".
This is where we were staying. Nice comfortable room with big bed and capacious bathroom. After a long week we were going to sleep the sleep of the dead.
(Oi! I know what you are thinking.....Disgusterating!!!)
DL had to go and help with the wedding rehearsal; she was to play an integral part in the proceedings by doing one of the readings, although I didn't know this until just before the proceedings. She likes to keep some things quiet. (Hmm, I wonder what 74 year-old Pablo would think?).
Off she went and I went and found a comfortable place to write the blog. The last blog before this one, that is. Creative juices flowed, as did the lager. The bar was very cosy with an open fire and WiFi. What more could a boy wish for?
Two hours later she was back and I was done. A quick bite to eat and she carried my drink-sodden form up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.
That is when the trouble started. We may have been staying in an ancient coaching in may be a picturesque location…but it did creaks. Oh how it did creak. I think our room on the first floor was located under the corridor above. So every time anyone walked upstairs the groaning and squeaking and moaning of protesting woodwork meant sleep was well nigh impossible.
We were husks by the time the morning light came filtering through the leaded windows, and the foxes had ceased barking and the Cockerels had finished "Crowin' fo' day".
Breakfast. Then it was in the bar for "one for the ceremony" A minibus came to collect us as we hicced our way towards a tiny church.
Inside it was packed with Welshmen.
Now before you think I am about to make a selection of off-colour remarks about the Welsh, you can think again for a number of reasons.
1) Annie is Welsh
2) So is her intended, Steve
3) Steve is a truck driver so is immediately elevated to "top man" status
4) Steve is also very muscular, with a side order of extra muscles in case he runs out of the ones that he has already.
5) The church was packed with a male voice choir.
6) I present the Best Time of the Day show, not Top Gear!
The choir were wonderful. I defy you not to find a lump in your throat when they are in full flight.
DL gave a reading of part of Margery Williams’ children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit.
Damn, there was that lump in the throat again.
Annie's dog even made a guest appearance complete with flowery lead.
Then amid the congratulations the corks popped at the back of the chapel and out came the champagne.
Now that is the way to get people into church on a Sunday. Booze!
Minibus returned and we headed for the pub.
Mulled wine and fabulous food and then the speeches.
Steve managed to lose his carefully crafted speech. He had been sweating over it for weeks but it didn't matter as he was very funny and went down a storm. Often the best speeches are off the cuff
As did his best man, Keith; another top bloke and a former truck-driver.
Father of the bride, Johnny, also did a great speech; he feigned being slow on the uptake when Annie had told him she was going to marry Steve.
The list was endless.
There was even a quiz set by Annie and the DL's friend and colleague, Martin.
As usual everyone looked at me when the music round came up.
As usual, I disappointed. DL was on my team and I discovered just how competitive she is.
I play tunes on the Radio in the middle of the night so inhabit a parallel universe. She is in business. Winning is important. She would be good on Dragon's Den. I think she would out-fox Lord Sugar! She would certainly charm him to death!
We staggered out of there ready for bed just after midnight as the minibus took us back to the "'Ear"
Then once more up the wooden hill, followed by everyone else to their respective rooms.
"See you at breakfast"
"What time will you be down?"
As we checked out the following day I realised we hadn't been staying at “The Ear" after all. There had been some "signage malfunction"
I am still not sure where in the West Country we went, exactly.