Category Archives: Wedding
Warning: the reading of the following post may cause excessive salivation. Prepare to dribble. Might be an idea to grab a cuppa, too, cos it’s longish… But you know what I’m like when we talk food, right?
The lobby at The Fairmont.
At long last Monsieur and I could begin our much-needed honeymoon in earnest. In the course of a few short days we’d said our I Dos, celebrated in style, travelled across the globe in spite of that inconsiderate Icelandic volcano and were now safely in San Francisco. At the airport they’d run out of moderate-sized cars so upgraded us to a mammoth of a bright white SUV that had so much interior space that Monsieur and I felt like a pair of Smurfs driving along the freeway. Ah yes, we had definitely arrived in The Land of Super-Size Everything.
Following a sleep so deep that we could have been mistaken for a pair of new stone effigies in neighbouring Grace Cathedral, we were now in dire need of breakfast, so followed our noses down to the lobby in search of much black coffee and eggs with everything. It would be quite factual to say that we were quite empty and desperate to refuel.
Breakfast at The Fairmont is served in a circular room located just off the main lobby. Called The Laurel Court it boasts a triple-domed ceiling and walls painted with wistful Italianate landscapes. As we found, this is a low-lit haven where food for the famished may be found at most times of the day. What’s more, the menu reads like a gastro-geek’s dream AND even better, the ingredients are ‘locally sourced, organic, or sustainable items wherever possible.’ Not to mention that ‘all cuisine is prepared without artificial trans fat’.( I hasten to add that at this point in time trans fats were the last thing on our hungry minds but it was nice to know that we could chow down with a clear conscience. Ish.)
Barely skimming the menu in our starved state, Monsieur and I decided to go for the Deluxe Hot Buffet which, quite frankly, was a bargain for $28.00 (at least, it was the way we did it). We enjoyed bottomless freshly-squeezed orange juice, ice water and coffee, and tucked right into the buffet. Our word of that particular morning was “more!” and with good reason because we hadn’t eaten properly for almost a day. That’s right, people, a full 24 hours without food and we didn’t do it for charity. FYI: I do not classify the plastic wrapped oozy object that the airline called ‘a light meal’ as food.
Laurel Court at The Fairmont.
On the bakery island we found pastries so soft and fragrant that they must have just been lifted out of The Fairmont’s own ovens. The varieties of bread catered for all palates, including the densest, darkest pumpernickel and multiple multi-grained breads alongside classic rye, sourdough, sweet brioches and slices of downright ordinary white. There were baskets of bagels, piles of fat scones from both sweet and savoury recipes, granola and porridge for cereal-lovers, a selection of cheeses from nearby Sonoma and a veritable charcuterie of cured meats. The low-fat raspberry yoghurt was the fullest tasting low-fat variety I’ve ever had the joy to slurp and the platter of fresh fruit sat so heavy with sliced melons, bulbous berries, Californian oranges and squeaky shiny apples that it reminded me somehow of The Garden of Eden.
Beneath stainless steel covers in the hot foods buffet we found bacon and sausages and morning-fried potatoes. Then a smile spread across my husband’s face: he’d found the eggs Benedict.
It always makes me nervous when Monsieur eats eggs Benedict that have been made by non-Epicurienne chefs, just in case he finds some that are better than mine. I sat and watched his face carefully as he took a bite and ruminated over his Benedictine cud. “They’re very good,” he said, “but not as good as yours.” Thank the Epicurean Lord of all things edible. I could now resume breathing. You see, Monsieur is a highly critical eater and my eggs Benedict are in the top three things I make that so far no one else has been able to beat, but I live in (slight) fear of the day when he finds a preferable alternative to my version. Silly, I know, but I’m a bit competitive about my eggs ben…
Anyway, in our time at The Fairmont, Monsieur and I enjoyed two Laurel Court breakfasts and were intensely gratified by both. On one occasion I joined Monsieur in trying the eggs Benedict, to find that he was indeed correct in his appraisal that they were very good (but I also prefer mine). On the other occasion, I asked the egg chef to make me an omelette with tomatoes, scallions, wild mushrooms and mozzarella. Once again, it was very good, but The Epicurean Brother makes them better. I gave Monsieur my omelette appraisal, to which he replied: “what is it about your family that you’re all so good at making eggs?” To that, I have absolutely no answer, apart from: “just wait until you try my brother’s TORTILLA!” I guess we just enjoy the fruits of happy hens.
Apart from trying the eggs at The Laurel Court, I also enjoyed constructing my own bagel one morning. Lightly toasting an onion bagel I spread it with a blend of smoked salmon and regular cream cheese then layered it with soft folds of Atlantic smoked salmon and slices of a perfect tomato. With a squeeze of fresh lemon, a few crisp rings of red onion and a sprinkling of miniature capers I was good to go. And that, my foodie friends, is one bagel I won’t soon forget. It has something to do with the tomato that tasted exactly as a tomato should – tart with juice, unlike the bland red fruit we too often find served up at home which, to my mind, are tomatoes in name only. The salmon was also a revelation compared to the over-farmed slices to be found on London’s supermarket shelves. It practically dissolved on the tongue with the full flavour of a fish that had enjoyed a life free of pent-up farm pond misery. The key to the success of this bagel was all down to the ingredients.
My perfect bagel with the Happy Salmon.
Returning to the breakfast menu for a moment, I must share a few of the a la carte options. There’s Fig-Stuffed French Toast, comprising local black mission figs, brioche, organic eggs, cream and maple syrup. It’s served with roasted red and gold new potatoes and a traditional breakfast sausage. For the health-conscious there are Flaxseed Pancakes, made with dried cranberries and blueberry syrup. These are presented with sides of Asian pears that have been poached in syrup, Riesling and vanilla, and a chicken apple sausage. The classic poached eggs come with Yukon gold potato latke and corned beef hash and even the oatmeal turns up at table with roast potatoes and Applewood smoked bacon. Having said that, these combinations are mere suggestions. On ordering you can select whichever sides you like to accompany the main plate. The Laurel Court calls this ‘couture cuisine’ and positively encourages their patrons to play havoc with their menu. And no, in case you’re wondering, Monsieur and I were not born with bottomless stomachs so we did not try any of the above, not that we weren’t tempted. The buffet provided plenty of everything for both our appetites and believe it or not, we’re not that gluttonous. Yet.
Had Monsieur and I been intent on growing our girths at the Fairmont we could feasibly have noshed there all day. In addition to breakfast, The Laurel Court provides light lunches of classic dishes like grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, flatiron steaks and insalata Caprese. Then there are dishes with a twist, like the Bloody Caesar Salad which uses both red and green romaine lettuce, or the simple sliders made with top-notch Kobe beef. Some guests prefer to enjoy this elegant dining room over a sedate afternoon tea including six sandwich varieties, two of those previously-mentioned fat scones and five desserts. You can even add on bubbly and caviar or chocolate truffles. (Goshdarnit. I’m making myself hungry.) If you have a taste for some end-of day relaxation with a glass of something stronger in hand, then The Laurel Court has a pianist to tinkle you into reverie with soothing classical music.
Get a load of this cheesy geezer! That grin is oh-so-very wrong.
Sadly, Monsieur and I didn’t have enough time to try The Laurel Court’s offerings apart from their superb breakfasts for we were only stopping over in San Francisco but we were impressed with our experience there. As we left on the next leg of our honeymoon, Monsieur remarked “that was one of the best breakfasts of my life.” Now, that’s a true compliment coming from a genuinely fussy customer.
My dear people,
Epic is back. As you may know, the past few months have seen me very much stuck in blog limbo, that is to say that I wanted to blog, oh so very much I wanted to blog, but Monsieur and I were planning our wedding and for anyone who hasn’t done this, it is not to be recommended to bloggers unless your blogging specialty is wedded bliss.
Anyone who knows me will understand that it’s somewhat of a surprise that I climbed into a big, white dress and got passionate about invitation design. I simply wasn’t born that sort of girl. Jeans are my Alexander McQueen and the only shoes I get truly excited about are my Fit Flops. If you’ve ever seen that episode of Friends where Chandler proposes to Monica and she immediately pulls out a massive scrapbook filled with clippings and cuttings and samples for her Big Day, i.e. she’d been planning her wedding since well before a ring was popped onto her finger, that is not me. How was I ever going to pull off a wedding day when I had zero interest in floral arrangements? Truth be known, I did it for Monsieur, my very own Groomzilla, and in hindsight, it was a good call to follow his wishes. We had a blast.
On the day, however, I started off as The Bride on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It’s a wonder my make up went on straight, I was trembling that much. My friends did what good friends do in such situations and tried to relax me with champagne. Normally I’d neck the bubbly in a single gulp, but anything that passed my lips had a tough time going further. In quite the unprecedented of drinking events, I only managed half a flute. My chest tightened up, I ingested about half a bottle of Bach’s Rescue Remedy spray, much to the amusement of the photographer, and once in hand my bouquet shook as if it was having its own personal earthquake. But once by Monsieur’s side the shaking slowly subsided and the day proceeded at a calming pace. Well, mostly calming. The dancing to the Hawaii 5-0 soundtrack needed to be seen to be believed as quite a number of us flailed about pretending we were on surfboards. Bride on surfboard? Probably not a good look but oh yes, that was a You Tube moment if ever there was one. Unfortunately, no one caught it on film and if I have any regrets about the day, that would have to be it.
Happily, I can confirm that marriage is suiting Monsieur and me. We still get excited about using those terribly grown up words of ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and all the hard work seemed to pay off because we did indeed enjoy a truly beautiful day. But never, ever again will I arrange a wedding. The stress of it is astronomical and every spare hour goes into the preparations. In the end it feels as if regular life is a strange and distant memory.
Matrimonial planning also affects sleep patterns, as I found out. I never knew that one person could have as many wedding nightmares as I did. They started as soon as we confirmed the date and venue, and only finished about 6 weeks. That makes seven months of nightmares. No fun.
Here are some examples of wedding nightmares: at different times I dreamed of forgetting to book the florist, being 4 hours late for my hair appointment or getting married in an amphitheatre which demanded I walk down ancient and crumbling stairs without tripping. In one such ‘mare I lost my bouquet. In another, long-dead relatives visited to wish me well and when I asked how it was possible that they were there sitting next to me, they replied “Ah well, the bus from Scotland had a few delays and it certainly was a long and difficult journey, but we’re here now.” So now we know: the dead live in Scotland. As you can see, some seriously random stuff was going on between my ears each night so I was always relieved to wake up and see Monsieur and know that there was still time to fix whatever had been bugging my subconscious. But then my dreams started to freak him out to the point where a typical early morning conversation went something like this:
ME: “Darling, I just had another dream about the wedding.”
HIM: “Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. You’re starting to freak me out.”
ME: “But I just wanted to say how happy I am this morning because I woke up.”
HIM: “Yes. That’s great. You woke up. So did I.” (looks at me with puzzled face)
ME: “No, you don’t get it. I’m relieved because my dream wasn’t real.”
HIM: “That’s right, darling. Dreams are NOT real. That’s why they’re called ‘dreams’.”
ME: “Seriously, listen! In my dream I married the wrong man by mistake and I couldn’t get out of it and you were so annoyed but I couldn’t see his face at the ceremony part and he kind of looked like you but then the registrar said…”
HIM: “Didn’t I just tell you NOT to tell me?” (Before I can say another word, Monsieur hurries to the bathroom where he can lock the door and find peace, however temporary.)
So it won’t come as any surprise to hear that Monsieur and I are extremely happy and a big part of our wedded bliss is down to no more nightmares and not having to take care of any more wedding preparations. There’s definitely a reason why you’re only supposed to wed once and it must have something to do with stress levels, which in our case were not helped by that belching Icelandic volcano and grounded planes or trying to decide the lesser of the various evils in the UK’s General Election 2 days before our wedding.
The good news is that looking back at our wedding day will always bring a kaleidoscope of wonderful memories. 95% of the day went to plan, the atmosphere of love and friendship all around us was overwhelming (in a good way), the cake was so perfect that it brought a tear to my eye and the tables all looked wonderful. Apparently yes, I do care more about floral arrangements and stationery motifs than previously, but I still maintain that this is the first and last wedding I’ll plan. Ever. Besides, on the day we were so busy with the photographer and guests that I didn’t try a single canapé and then didn’t realise that I hadn’t tried them until a full 48 hours later. As for nerves, I could barely eat at the wedding breakfast. Unusual behaviour for a foodie? You bet. It’s precisely what this particular Epicurienne considers a travesty not to be repeated and I’m sure that you, my food-loving friends, will concur. To spend months planning a wedding and not even have a single delicious little bite of canapé? Not. Blooming. Happening. Again.
And so to Hawaii! Tune in soon for tales from the honeymoon where Monsieur and I benefit from the healing effects of sun, surf, sand and sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
To read the previous instalment please click here.
So far, so good. Monsieur and I may not have been walking down the aisle, hand in hand, or trying to knock our female friends unconscious with a low-flying bouquet, but we were certainly enjoying our private celebration of The Wedding that Wasn’t. In one afternoon we’d checked in to a wedding cake hotel, hung out at the driving range, practised our putts and swum in an indoor heated pool. All that activity had worked up our appetites, so we spruced up and set off downstairs to dine at the Club’s Park Restaurant.
As we were greeted by the maître d’ – ”Good evening, Madame-Sir,” following him into a sumptuous dining room, my heart sank. Our day at Stoke Park had been wonderful; how ever was dining here going to live up to our now extremely high expectations?
Monsieur and I were seated at a table for two in the centre of the room; we were not by a window nor tucked comfortably into a plush banquette by the wall. At first I felt a little exposed but we soon overcame that hurdle when the menus appeared. Then, torn between food porn and people-watching I realised that the tables were spaced out in a way that our neighbours’ conversation could not be overheard. At least, not yet. I do like that in a restaurant.
The bread basket was offered and I permitted myself one soft, small brown bun, still warm from the oven. The butter melted slowly into it indicating that it wasn’t too hot or cold, just perfect. Then it was time for some Serious Decision-making as we selected our starters. There was something on the menu for every palate, including vegetarians. Would I choose the pan-fried scallops with celeriac purée, crispy pancetta, port reduction and caviar? Or perhaps I’d try the ragout of chicken winglets, chorizo, girolles and flageolet beans, served inside a filo casserole pan with madeira jus? Even the vegetarian option was sophisticated as opposed to a tie-dyed celebration of lentils; Stoke Park veges could enjoy the goat’s cheese, sweet potato and basil roulade with pear and fig salad and walnut vinaigrette.
Following our amuse bouches of a mushroom cappuccino?? (at least, I think that’s what it was) served with tiny spoon in tiny Mad Hatter’s teacup, the starters appeared, and not a moment too soon, for the afternoon’s activities had caused a persistent rumble in my stomach. I’d chosen the decadence of seared foie gras served on a brioche crouton with baby spinach, red grapes, pomegranate and sweet muscat sauce. Neither piled high nor lilliputian, the starter’s serving was just the right size to stimulate the tastebuds without overloading them.
Monsieur’s first course was a tian of Dorset crab, lobster, prawn and avocado with a cucumber and pink grapefruit dressing. It arrived shaped into a small but perfect tower on the plate, a work of culinary art. Apparently there are various definitions for tian, from layered vegetable preparations to casserole dishes, but in this case it took the meaning of layered presentation. I could tell that Monsieur was torn between tearing into it with his fork and simply contemplating its beauty from afar. The ending here was somewhat predictable, though, and the tian was consumed in its entirety.
We ate slowly, savouring each morsel, for this was not food to be rushed, and we were not in a hurried environment, although the maître d’ often appeared to check that everything was as it should be, each time calling us “Madame-sir”. He was practised in the efficient running of a fine dining establishment, that much was certain, dashing in silent fashion from table to table, seating any new arrivals, farewelling those on their way out, flourishing menus and assisting with wine selection or the deciphering of gastronomic terminology.
In between mouthfuls, Monsieur and I were thoroughly enjoying alternating between a delicious chablis and thirst-quenching Hildon water but we didn’t have long to contemplate grapey notes between courses. Our mains arrived at just the right interval, having allowed us time to ruminate over our delicious starters but not enough time to fret over tardiness in the kitchens.
Monsieur was in carnivore’s heaven with his Beef Wellington. Served with seasonal chanterelles and warm cherry tomatoes (still on the vine)on a bed of mash, he thought nothing of ordering sautéed potatoes to add to his meat- ‘n’-two-servings-of-the-same-veg main. (It even came with the letters SPC in puff pastry – the initials of the Club).
My choice was the trio of fish. Presented on an oval, almost fish-shaped platter with thumb hole at one end for serving, I enjoyed three entirely different, yet complementary, types of fish. First was red mullet ‘escabèche, a delightfully tender fish with zesty marinade. Next was John Dory with pea purée and confit fennel, which struck me as a humourous five-star approach to fish ‘n’ mushy peas. Last on the platter was sea bream with baby provençale vegetables – essentially a ratatouille of mini-veg to match the serving size. For a fish lover, such as me, this was heaven. With a few sautéed spuds pinched from Monsieur’s side order, I couldn’t fault it. Everything tasted freshly-caught, ‘never seen a freezer’, and had evidently been prepared with the utmost attention to the detail of both recipe and presentation.
But we hadn’t finished yet. Oh, yes, there was still dessert to come, and somehow, thanks to considerate portions, we miraculously had room to accommodate another course.
Monsieur tried the Tiramisu Plate – a chocaholic’s perfect falling-off-the-wagon platter. Everything was tiny – the bitter chocolate pot, the artful spoonful of mascarpone and kahlua ice cream, a teeny coffee soufflée and quenelle of tiramisu. Yet the richness of the combination of small tastes just about finished Monsieur off. Even so, I don’t think he would ever have considered not finishing every last bit.
Feeling in the need of a fromage fix, I indulged in the cheese platter. “But please, no blue cheese,” I told the waitress, feeling very When Harry Met Sally in such a high-maintenance demand. Sure enough, the cheeseboard arrived laden with perfect small slices of soft cheeses and hard cheeses but not a blue in sight. I didn’t touch the homemade walnut bread, which looked wonderful but which would only have stolen the last precious intestinal centimetres reserved for cheese. Instead I nibbled on the oatcakes and grapes and perfect slivers of celery to temper the strength of the cheeses and even so, I was quite ready to turn my back on food for a few hours at the end.
And so, feeling like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Monsieur and I rolled ourselves out of the restaurant and up the narrow set of stairs to our room, where we had earlier stored a bottle of New Zealand’s Lindauer bubbly (if you haven’t tried this yet, do! It’s affordable and doesn’t give you a sore head the following day.) with which to celebrate The Wedding That Wasn’t. We needed ice so called the porter who brought it to the door within minutes, asking, with glint in his eye, if we’d like champagne flutes. Either he’d done the turn-down earlier, spotting our bottle chilling in one of the sinks (there was strangely no fridge or mini-bar in the otherwise beautifully appointed room) or he was accustomed to people bringing their own bubbles to Stoke Park. Once he’d left, I couldn’t decide if this chap was superb customer service, a psychic in our midst or a spy.
Whatever it was, it didn’t matter. Monsieur and I lay there in the Hastings Room, warm and comfortable on the soft bed, sipping on bubbly and talking about the superb day we’d just had. But no, we couldn’t laze about for long. We had to get a full night’s sleep, for the next day we’d be trying our hand at the championship golf course. Tee off was set for 9.40am and you can’t play 18 holes without breakfast.
Monsieur and I were to be married this year, but as we’re grown up and responsible, we made the grown-up and responsible decision to postpone the happiest day of our lives, just in case we lost our jobs, something that was a very real threat at just the hour when the demands for deposits various were due.
Some grown up and responsible months later, the day that was to be our big day approached and I felt a tinge of sadness.
“Darling, I think we should do something to celebrate, especially as it’s a bank holiday weekend.” I said to Monsieur, eager to eliminate the threat of regret.
“You’re right,” he agreed, “I’ll look into it.” Even better, Monsieur was making the arrangements and if there’s one thing I can say about my future husband, it’s that he’s VERY good at surprises.
At first I thought we’d be going to a restaurant, perhaps somewhere with a star or two after its name or even a starless wonder with enough starch in just one of their white tablecloths to keep a man’s shirt collars stiff for a year. Yes, the sort of place that makes a girl feel adored, even when she gets out her camera to snap the foie gras from sixteen different angles.
And so, as I can’t remember a single time that Monsieur has failed in surprising me, I spent an inordinate amount of time fantasising about where we might be going. Before long, curiosity got this particular cat and the Epic Inquisition began.
“So where are we going?” I demanded on a daily, if not hourly basis, sometimes by e-mail with giant, red font in BOLD.
“It’s a surprise.” came the reply, over and over and over again. He would not budge. He would not stir. Monsieur would simply smile that infuriating smile he has when he holds a secret.
Then, the week before our celebration of The Wedding that Wasn’t, Monsieur let slip that we would be staying overnight wherever we were going. No, he would not be whizzing me off to Venice for some O Sole Mios in a bobbing gondola; I knew that much because Monsieur’s passport was at the consulate. We’d therefore be somewhere in the UK, but where?
Next he booked a car – another clue to toy with. Knowing that Monsieur would never drive 5 hours to spend a single night at a place, only to drive 5 hours back the following day, I figured that our destination must be relatively close to London. Hmmmm. But where?
The e-mail font got bigger and bolder, but still Monsieur wouldn’t tell me where we were going. I felt like a five year old counting the sleeps until Christmas. At long last D-day dawned and we packed our overnight cases.
“Bring your golf clothes,” instructed Monsieur. Ah, apparently small white balls would be involved in the surprise, as he pulled our golf bags out of the closet.
“And a swimsuit.” he continued.
“And something smart to wear to dinner.” Well, that was a given. I’d taken for granted that I’d have to dress up for some special food on our special occasion. After all, Monsieur has never been a fish ‘n’ chips-on-a-freezing-beach-with-a-bottle-of-wine-sort of romantic.
Then we got into the car with our clubs and our bags and some little white balls and drove out of London. Goodbye, Westfield Shopping Centre. Goodbye Heathrow Airport. Goodbye Windsor Castle… and just before reaching the Slough of John Betjeman’s disparaging poem of the same name, which starts with ‘Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough, It isn’t fit for humans now.’, and only worsens in its damnation of the town, we turned off the motorway.
“We’d better not be lunching in Slough,” I thought to myself in unattractive snobbish manner, as Monsieur turned the car this way and that, eventually easing it onto leafy back-roads dappled with shade. Here were not concrete block buildings and superstores but tall brick walls and gate houses and hedges and vicarages and lots and lots of green. Perhaps we were going to Bray? It wasn’t far from here and Monsieur and I have long planned to visit Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck for some bacon and egg ice cream, among other culinary delights.
“I know where you’re taking me.” I said, rendered smug by my skills of deduction.
“No you don’t.” replied Monsieur, rendered equally smug by his own self-assurance.
And with that, we swept across to the left, onto a broad driveway climbing a gentle slope amidst the handiwork of Capability Brown and the manicured greens of a golf course.
No. I didn’t know where Monsieur was taking me. Not in the least.
January has been a total twister of activity. It’s a very good thing that we had such a decent break over the silly season, because when I got back to work on 5th January, I felt like a house had landed on my head, which is actually quite an appropriate use of simile because it’s the crash of the housebuilding market in particular which is giving me grief at The Day Job. By 11am on our first day back, an announcement had been made to staff concerning future redundancies looming on the London skyline, and by the end of Tuesday, we’d made another group of people jobless.
The first month of 2009 has not been entirely doom and gloom. It’s certainly been a toughie, with long hours at work and stressful meetings aplenty, but fun has not been left entirely on the doorstep. A few days into the working year, I was invited to hang out with Jason Mical and the gang at Edelman. In case you’re not one of those dedicated Epicurienne readers who memorises my each and every post, Edelman does the PR for Stella Artois and Stella Artois had an airship over London last summer and through my blog I won a prize to go up in the airship but because the weather was so well um English and my luck was a bit um er pants, I never actually achieved the much coveted flight in the beer blimp. (you can breathe now) BUT I did get to meet Jason, and Jason is a lovely chap who gives me Stella Artois branded glasses, so we think he’s pretty cool and I’m trying to finish the post I wrote about our night out but The Day Job keeps getting in the way.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Monsieur and I went to the Ice Bar at Plateau in Canary Wharf, in order to be force-fed chocolate martinis and other vodka-licious delights with those splendid people at Splendid Communications. A post on that is on its way also. All I’ll say for now is that Smirnoff Black makes other major voddy brands taste like engine fuel.
Last week’s highlight was wedding-related. Monsieur and I are turning into Bridezilla and Groom of Doom as we kick off the New Year by trying to organise our nuptials. As I’ll explain to anyone with ears, I was born without the bride gene, but I really am trying. Honest, I am. Unfortunately, due to the closeted nature of a boom in British bureaucracy, all my careful planning to get the venue organised totally screwed up but it’s NOT MY FAULT.
Picture the following scene: Epicurienne tries to check available dates on ceremony venue. Ceremony venue tells her she can’t have dates until she registers intent with Monsieur. She calls local registry office to book a Saturday appointment to do just that but they won’t allow Saturday appointments unless there is a need for an emergency wedding. Apparently we’re not an emergency. Yet. So Monsieur and Epicurienne book a day’s leave and go to the registry office to register intent to marry. Everything’s proceeding as it should until the Nice Receptionist asks which room we’ve booked. Epic explains that no venue has been booked yet because the particular venue that has been chosen has insisted that it operates differently from other venues and therefore requires intent to be registered prior to setting a date. Nice Receptionist insists that this is not the case; that no intent can be formalised until a venue has been confirmed. Then she tells us we can always come back on a Saturday. (Receptionist immediately slides in the ratings from ‘nice’ to ‘bovine’.) Epic calls the venue people, hoping for some help from them. (Bunch of paper pushing losers springs to mind.) One venue person tells Epic that she must not register intent without a confirmed venue booking. Epic asks to confirm the booking immediately so as not to waste the day. Venue person (also of the bovine family) says she’s too busy to do that now and hangs up with a huffy sigh. Meanwhile, Monsieur thinks his future wife will never be able to organise the wedding and Epic tries in vain to convince her future husband that it really wasn’t her FAULT! The icing on the four tier wedding cake was when the Venue Person called back to say that they’re dealing with a new registrar who has been giving out misinformation and please would we accept their apologies for any inconvenience caused. Meanwhile, Epic’s Shirley Valentine fantasy of jumping on the Heathrow Express (alone – the fantasy only works with a solo traveller) and taking a plane to Wherever gathers momentum and it’s hard to keep her on London soil. Where’s that airship when it’s needed? In other words: Friday was complete and utter crap.
I have to say that staying engaged for the rest of my natural days is sounding more and more appealing, but I guess we should give it a shot, right?
So what might you be reading here soon? More about Venice, a LOT about Sicily where Monsieur and I spent New Year, some interesting facts about the Mafia, a review of Galler’s Kaori chocolate and my attempts to chase a little white ball around a golf course. In the meantime, here’s a song called Walking on Air, which is all about a creepy girl, sung by a Slovenian songstress called Kerli. When we were in Sicily, it played everywhere we went, especially on that bastion of the Italian radiowaves, RTL, where they insist on telling their listeners that they’re ‘Very Normal People’. Mmm hmm. Yep. Right you are.
(Double click twice on the You Tube to get past the embedding crash or link to the official Kerli MySpace site here