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Sunday, 13 February 2011


The house is quiet now, after a fun-filled afternoon of drinks, excellent food and great stories.  Who said the over 60s can't have fun?  Some of the jokes were a wee bit off-colour, but that can be blamed on the wine.

I sat down to catch up on the blogging community's posts, and felt sad on reading Fflur's post on her search for a partner and going ot a friend's wedding.


Strange affairs.  Pack everyone into their best bib and tucker, cram them into a Church of some description, say the/multiple/whatever Deity has blessed the Union of the two people, rush to a hotel/resteraunt/hall for a big feed, much vino, probably bad music and worse dancing.  A 35% chance of a punch-up between relatives or new/old family groupings.

It seems a strange way to start a life together.

I can remember many of the weddings I've attended.
Cenral Hotel, Glasgow

My first was my cousin Rena, when I was about 7.  Huge affair in the Central Hotel in Glasgow, when it was the premier hotel in the West of Scotland.  Very formal affair with many men in evening suits (the kilt revival had not yet occurred)  I can't remember all that much except:

Sole Veronique
Fish course was Sole Veronique (with grapes and capers) I remember this one because my cousins and I had a fight by squishing the sauce covered grapes so they squirted out between our fingers at high velocity, and made a lovely SPLAT sound when they hit something/someone.
Glorious roast beef.  My Great Uncle Joe (the father of the bride) was a renowned butcher and his new son-in-law's family were farmers from Galloway, so they had carefully chosen the best pieces of meat available in the West of Scotland.  I wasn't that impressed (I was 7 remember?) I wanted more grapes to squeeze, but I can vividly remember one of the adults at my table actually groaning with gustatorial ecstasy as he chewed the succulent beef.
My last memory was after the meal, when all of the tables had been pushed to the side to make room for the dancing.  All of the adults seemed to be dancing most of the evening, and when they weren't promenading over the dance floor, they were sitting at the tables drinking. The hotel had ensured that they were provided with fruit juice, in large jugs on each table, just to TRY and reduce the total number of drunks by the evening's end.  I was with a pack of my cousins and my brother (aged about 5), running around the periphery of the main room, dodging in and out of the dancers. crawling under the huge tables with their long crisp linen tablecloths, and drinking the orange juice.  We had a contest to see who could drink the most orange juice.  I'm not sure if I won, but I remember beginning to feel a bit odd, a little bit queasy.
The explosion, when it came was remarkable (so my Mum told me).  Onlookers didn't think that such a small boy could have contained so much vomit.  My last memory of the wedding was going home in a taxi, with my Dad's voice whispering in my ear that if I was sick, stick my head out of the window, quick.  Or face the consequences.

Use the window

My own wedding was not one of the best organised.
Because I had taken the unusual step of proposing to a lovely lady of non-Scottish ethnicity and non-Protestant (Church of Scotland) religion, the normal rules applying to the wedding were thrown into confusion.
Traditionally in Scotland, the family of the bride pay for the wedding, with the grooms family probably kicking in for the drinks, or helping out in some way, but my fiance's culture did the opposite.  In Singapore, the groom's family paid for the wedding, although much of this cost could be covered by the large number of cash gifts given by guests.  As my beloved's family had not yet come to terms with some round-eyed foreign devil taking away their lovely daughter (they did later, and I love my Singapore relatives), we would be getting little support from them.  My Mum and Dad hadn't prepared for any weddings, as they had 2 sons, which meant no real cost under Scottish customs, but they gave us £2000 as a wedding gift, and ho we spent it was up to us.
What we planned was:
Date; June 1st.
Wedding service in a Catholic Church in Partick (Polish community church).

Photographs in Kelvingrove park
Reception in a large Chinese restaurant in Glasgow city centre (Renfield Street)
Meal to be huge Chinese Buffet, with copious amounts of Champagne
We would then depart to our new house in Lenzie, and go on to our honeymoon in the far North West of Scotland (Garloch and Loch Ewe) in a hired car.
Any surplus monies would go towards a new bed for us (A rather large priority for a newly married couple)

What actually happened was:

Date June 1st (Turned out to be a heat wave, with ferocious humidity.  The weather broke just as we left the reception, and Glasgow was flooded and cut-off for 12 hours)

Wedding BLESSING in the Polish Church.  I was pretty non-religious by this time, and as I wouldn't convert to my beloved's church (I had been brought up C of S, and I had no intention of swapping one silly set of beliefs for another) the priest would only perform a blessing, not the full mass.  I also had to give a signed promise to bring up my children as Roman Catholics.  A piece of emotional blackmail which crystallized my vague negative feelings about organised religion into a loathing.
I got my own back by following my promise, and sending my kids to Church and Sunday/Catechism school.  BUT I also primed them to think for themselves and to ASK QUESTIONS if anything they were told didn't seem to make sense..  The nuns hated it.  They told my lovely children to stop asking questions.  FAIL.
DON'T Ask Questions

The photographs went well we thought.  We didn't hire a professional, but had two of our friends take the pictures with their 35mm SLR cameras.  One friend was so drunk (before the reception remember) that he left the lense cap on (seen, fixed) forgot to wind on the film between shots (seen, reminded gently) and had the wrong time set on the exposure (not seen, not fixed, stuffed all photos).  Our other friend was conscientious and carefull,  Took multiple shots to ensure everything was covered, and ripped the film taking it out of the camera.  The only photos we have of the glorious event were taken by one of the guest in her Kodak Instamatic.  My beloved still won't talk about it.
Not as bad as this, but close.

The reception went well at the start.  Our chosen restaurant was up on the first floor, and everyone had to ascend a steep flight of stairs.  My Gran found the whole thing a bit much.  She had accepted that my wife-to-be was non-Scottish and was Chinese.  But she had taken a long time to accept that she was Catholic (Lots of older generation Scots were a wee bit bigoted).  The only saving grace was that she wasn't ENGLISH. That would have been too much.
My Gran was a bit exhausted after the steep climb, so one of my Uncles got her a glass of lemomade to refresh the old (and teetotal) lady.  The lemonade had a good measure of whisky added (purely medicinal, my Uncle was a bit worried about my Gran's colour).  My Gran enjoyed it so much she asked my Uncle to get her another large glass of "the best lemonade I've ever tasted".  She slept a lot of the rest of the afternoon.

The buffet went well, apart from some of my relatives commenting that the pickled onions were a bit bland.  The restaurant (ignoring our previous instructions) had put out all of the starters, mains and desserts at the same time.  Many of our rather unsophisticated relatives (Scotland.1970s.) has been putting Lychees on their plates, thinking them to be pickled onions

Most of the Champagne we had previously bought and given to the restaurant to distribute for the toasts and speeches had mysteriously disappeared, and I had to buy another 3 cases of a decidedly dodgy Asti Spumanti to give our guests something to drink.

The tape of recorded dance music we had organised broke in the machine, so all we had was screechy Chinese Restaurant background music.
I can't remember the resulting chaos of speeches, dancing in the dark (a lighting strike caused a power cut over most of Glasgow, and as the room had no exterior windows, all we had was 2 or 3 candles) the uncertainty of breaking with tradition etc.
My beloved and I made a break for it, running to our hire car parked just a street away.  The weather broke as we walked, and we finished the last 100 metres in a run through the heaviest rain seen in Galsgow for 100 years.  It was torrential (at least it was warm), the gutters were full in seconds, the drains couldn't take the amount of water, and the streets started to flood in minutes.  As I drove slowly (I couldn't see much through the downpour)away to our new house on the outskirts of the city (Lenzie, near Kirkintilloch) I thought that with such a bloody awefull start, the rest of our married life could only get better.

Next week: 

The Honeymoon Hotel Which Was Also A Funeral Home,

followed by:

The Dangers Of Being Interupted During Sexual Congress By A Bloody Stupid Chambermaid Who Wanted To Turn Down A Bed  And Who Wouldn't Go Away.


  1. What a disaster! At least you had someone to share the disaster with - all disasters in my life are dealt with me and me only. That shall be my last comment about the depressing state of being a singleton.....well for at least a week.

  2. What a hoot. I can't wait for the follow-up.

    "The Dangers Of Being Interupted During Sexual Congress By A Bloody Stupid Chambermaid Who Wanted To Turn Down A Bed"

    This happened to me in Brighton (1985). They knock once and immediately come in.

  3. I laughed my ass off at this! If it had all gone to plan, you would have had NO blog post. So it was all worth it in the end lol!

    That picture of the bride being accompanied to the lavvy by her pal. That was ME that was. I hadn't anticipated the problems of trying to manoevre one's self in a tiny cubicle with a big frock on.

    My sister in law came with me and held my lovely frock up over my head as I sat having a wee. It was a bizarre moment, being immured in one's frock with someone RIGHT next to you when you are on the loo.

    I made sure that I only had to go once, the entire day ;-)

    Can't wait to hear about the Chambermaid lol!


  4. Fflur: It wasn't that bad, at least nobody got punched or arrested (see next week).I could always run another "get a friend for Flur contest on the blog?"

    The Wine Guy: Thanks, we aim to please. I hope you recovered from the Trauma of Being Interupted. It took meat least 30 minutes before anything worked again.

    AX: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I've never worn a huge frock, although I have been involved in some huge frock-ups. I'm surprised you could "go". I've always found that sitting on a toilet with someone else in the room tended to cause "lock-up"

    I'll try and get the Wedding Part 2 up today. Hope you're feeling better. I too haven tried to bargain with the almighty. It was when i was 9, walking home from school with a huge bowel movement threatening to erupt. The things I promised to get home before emergence. I even sang hymns to keep the old bastard appeased. It worked. Or maybe it was the 200 metre clenched-buttock waddle.

  5. Round eyed foreign devil. Funny as hell. How do you come up with these quips? I really hope your pupils appreciate your wit.


    1. Round eyed foreign devil is an actual literal translation of the Mandarin Kwai Lo, which my Singapore relatives laughingly bestowed upon me.
      Well, they were certainly laughing, if in a somewhat grim way during the Singaporean Wedding Reception.

      I must add that my Beloved has threated, no promised, me with immediate and total emascualtion if I EVER do a post on that reception.

      Just let us say that it made the Glasgow recpetion look like Princess Di's

      Sorry to disillusion you Tracy, but my pupils seldom laugh at my jokes.

      Tehy're far too busy working.


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