Unbitten and unloved
PUBLISHED: 09:36 10 September 2018
A wedding reception in a marquee... what could be lovelier than Lynne in her fascinator?
It’s a September wedding; a civil ceremony followed by a reception in a marquee at an equestrian centre.
What is the first thing I think about?
Could it be the wedding present - what to buy the happy couple? No.
Worrying whether the confetti (pink rose and blue delphinium petals from the garden) may be thrown outside the wedding venue? No.
Am I wondering what to wear and if I will need a new outfit? No (goes without saying − of course I shall need a new frock).
Is it the issue of a hat that is concerning me? No
What consumes me (sometimes literally), if it’s a venue with an immediate outdoors, is insect life. While other women carry a handbag containing mobile phone, lipstick, tissues, a comb, mascara, and eau de parfum, I take roll-on mosquito repellent, guaranteed to see off midges, gnats and, an unfortunate side effect, people.
Until Chanel brings out a brand that puts off biting things while being insanely attractive to the opposite sex, I shall have to get used to being lonely at wedding receptions that feature fresh air. The other slight problem with wearing insect repellent on one’s legs, neck and small area of exposed chest is its slight stickiness. Howsoever, this can be quite a boon when using a paper napkin because it adheres to the chest rather nicely... for the entire evening.
I did wear a fascinator although it was no help at all. I didn’t fascinate anyone.
The wedding was a splendid occasion. My lovely niece was marrying her beau and they made a handsome bride and groom. Their day was made even more special when their horses, looking splendid with their manes plaited, joined them on the lawn. I checked my repellent for effectiveness against horse flies... only joking - I did that before we set out for the wedding.
In fact, there were remarkably few flying things, maybe because fumes from my repellent had rippled out to a radius of half a mile.
There was a barbecue (catering by a local hostelry), cake, cheeses, fruit, wine and (a brilliant idea) Haribo. When I started to flag, around 9.30pm − my usual time − a handful of jelly cola bottles and other confections, gave me the sugar rush I needed to get back on to the dance floor. I danced and danced until I dropped − about six minutes later. My daughter, however, was still dancing on the way back to the car, after the reception.
My goodness, I’ve been on the razzle, this week. A wedding and then, a few days later, a fashion show. My sister-in-law had invited me to go along to the event at a country hotel. I admit, I had imagined a catwalk with chairs lined up each side and a team of pouty, lanky mannequins showing off fashions I wouldn’t be seen dead in, even if they went up to my size. Photographers would be flashing (their cameras) and the front row would include celebrities from Towie or Made in Chelsea.
It wasn’t quite like that.
I’m 63 and when I entered the room, it’s possible I brought down the average age. The designer event, featuring well-crafted and very wearable women’s clothes, was organised for existing customers and their plus ones. We sat at tables covered in gleaming white cloths and watched, er... a power-point presentation.
It was mostly interesting, especially as the garments are proudly produced in Britain − a rare and precious thing these days − but not quite what I had expected. Whither Kate Moss? Whither Naomi Campbell?
After a cup of tea and a scone (pronounced to rhyme with “bone” − I won’t touch the ones pronounced to rhyme with “gone”) the assembled guests had a chance to browse the autumn collection and place orders.
My sister-in-law, who loves the designer label, bought a number of items while I roamed the vacated tables in search of unwanted scones.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, means I had two outings in a week which constitutes, for me, a mad social whirl. Indeed, my feet have barely touched the ground, partly because I wore my best shoes and I can’t walk very far in them.
It is 1973 and Lynne is off to university with a second-hand tin trunk painted blue to cover the rust, a tea towel, a mug, a knife, fork and spoon, pencil case, travel alarm clock and transistor radio. There wasn’t much more a student needed. Phone calls were made via phone kiosks, messages were on the notice board and Word for Windows was handwriting.
It is 45 years on and stores now stock ranges of low-priced student crockery, towels, desk lamps, cutlery, bedlinen, kitchen utensils, ironing boards (no use for those, surely?) and cushions.
Apparently, you can never have enough cushions so it’s as well to start collecting them early... who knows when you may need to arrange three cushions on the guest bed?