Ssh! Is it Getting a Bit Noisy in Here?

Oi, oi, oi! It’s getting a bit noisy in here…

I have been reading a rather excellent book of late about introverts. Introverts, y’know, we folks who prefer own own company and who never need to tell secrets so everyone else notices?!

My original wedding plan was: small family wedding followed by large party for friends. The logistics of this were such that it looked easier to combine the two and lo, the big wedding was born.

Go online and our 110 (ish, we still have not worked this out for sure) guest list looks modest. It stills seems like a terrifying amount of people to me. In the name of good manners, I talk to them all at the wedding. Flip, that’s a whole load of small talk to conjure up.

So, weddings… Surely the introvert’s nightmare? Everyone stares at you. I volunteer myself to do a speech from feminist principles. I feel obliged to talk to lots of people. We have to dance by ourselves and everyone watches.

Hmm. I appear to have chosen the extrovert’s, and not the introvert’s, ideal event. I’m hoping Susan Cain’s excellent book on being a wee quiet person in an extrovert’s world will set out some strategies to cope…

My Wedding – My Way (Totally)

According to popular rumour some women get pretty worked up about all things bridal…

Popular culture calls this Bridezilla territory and I heard one story this week that I feel compelled to share. My mum and I went mother-of-the-bride outfit shopping (personal shopper appointment at House of Fraser – do IT) and while mum changed into the 15 or so different combinations the talented personal shopper had picked out, I chatted to the lovely lady*.

It turns out she is going to a wedding this year and is to be a bridesmaid. The bride-to-be insists that her bridesmaid grows her hair so that it fits with her vision of how the bridesmaids look.

In the world of me, I view this as utterly unreasonable. And who flippin’ cares either? My mum, bless her heart, chipped in at this point with a comment about me being a very non-Bridezilla type.

Strictly speaking, I am a bit Bridezilla – if only with myself. I am frantically exercising, frantically dieting and frantically doing all kinds of extravagant skincare** things in order to make sure I look my best by May.

This self-improvement is very shallow – perhaps I should instead frantically research how to be a good spouse, the secrets of modern marriage or what I need to live a worthwhile life. (I have a feeling that the fixation with skincare, cookery programmes and my waist to hip ratio isn’t so worthwhile.)

So with this newly-reinforced ‘I am not going to be a Bridezilla’ resolution in place, my fiance and I have re-entered the minute-by-minute negotiations for what happens on our wedding day.

Me – speeches before dinner. Him – speeches after. Me – ABSOLUTELY no alcohol before the ceremony. Him – I would like a drink with my brothers beforehand. Me – so, despite our shared atheism, we do have a Catholic priest from New York coming, shall we get him to say the Selkirk Grace? Him – NO. This could be interesting…

 

 

*So, how did you get into this job? Do you love your work? Are you happy on Mondays? What happens, each season the new collection comes in do you familiarise yourself with the garments? What kind of discount do you get? You worked for the Mary Portas franchise? It wasn’t so great?

**Ahem, while in House of Fraser, I got tangled up in its beauty counters. I bought Clinique’s pore refining solutions serum and the instant pore corrector. Serum – I’ll deliver the verdict three weeks down the line. Instant corrector thingie – pretty good, but it’s never going to meet my perfectionist standards.

Together Forever… Whatever?

In precisely eight months’ time, I get to stand up in front of beloved family and friends and say: “I do.” (Should Mama Nature spare us and providing neither of us decide there is a better other half out there – y’know I can’t predict the future.)

Neither of us are religious: I am an out and out non believer and my fiancé describes his religious beliefs as “weak and conventional”. So, we have chosen a registrar wedding rather than a religious service.

The privilege of this is that one does get a say on one’s vows. My fiancé is pretty excited about this. He reckons he can work in something which results in me vowing to be his lawfully wedded wench, possibly also resurrecting the obey bit (as if!) whilst I am wondering about a long term promise, via wedding vows, to always fetch me wine when I ask, and forgive me my grumpiness as I forgive those who grumpy against me.

I’m very fond of my engagement ring…

One wedding vow I have been mulling over is the “in sickness and health bit”. Thanks to having relatives that lived to very old age (the magnificent Granny B lived to 101) and perhaps through a heightened awareness of the issue because of the organisation I work for, this one’s a bit of a clincher…

Some 17 years ago, my fiancé had a bad motorbike accident; unconscious for a long time, blood transfusion, permanent disfigurement etc. His future is likely to include a walking stick at the very least. I myself have a chronic condition which means cataracts may blind me, dialysis is a possibility and heart disease four times more likely. The ‘in sickness’ bit is just that bit much more likely to happen.

Projections for the future estimate that three in five of us will end up in an unpaid caring role. That brings with it all sorts of challenges – a relationship changing, the loss of independence, equality, finances and savings, not to mention loneliness, isolation and resentment.

Fate works in its own wee way. And there are plenty of self help tomes which will recommend that you always live in the present.

In sickness and in health… With the intelligent bit of ourselves, we can work out that the ‘in sickness’ bit is much more probable. Does that put me off? Not a chance!

 

Eat Out; Be Happy Together

On the Twitter-sphere a few months ago was a post about the five things you need to say to maintain a happy relationship – Can I Help You? I Love You. I’m Sorry. You Look Great and Let’s Eat Out*.

Simple but true? You must explore it all for yourself and work it out, but commenting on the last one – why definitely! As one half of a couple and so speaking for myself, I LOVE food. For example:

  • I plan meals and menus all the time
  • I find cooking incredibly soothing and relaxing
  • I get a kick out of writing the weekly shopping list (no, really)
  • our TV finds itself tuned into Channel 260 a LOT (the Good Food Channel through Virgin Media)
  • I buy food magazines a lot
  • I read cookery books in bed.

As a two-some, eating out is a big part of our life. I find myself pitying celebrities – so many of them are on such restrictive diets that the joy of regular eating out is a no-no. I’d say 75% of our relationship is made up of food – the talking about, the sharing, the cooking for each other and the eating out.

And we eat in a lot too – yes, I know well of course we eat in regularly really, but it’s such a joy to make it a special occasion. You plan a special meal, buy the ingredients (even if it involves trekking out the way of your usual food shop of choice) get dressed up and light candles. I’m also my mother’s daughter – she had a horror of TV dinners and I too would rather eat at a table (though we switch on the TV to watch in the background, sorry mum!).

I’ve been lucky enough to eat out a lot in the four years I’ve been with my partner. It’s not a luxury available to all so I so know how fortunate I am. We’ve had some brilliant experiences (Charcoals, New Lanark Mill Hotel, Fifteen Cornwall, the Ashoka Ashton Lane, Tulloch Castle… I could go on) and some not so brilliant – I won’t list them here, as it’s better karma to write nice, not nasty things. I always feel very cheated though, if I order food that I could have made myself in a much better way.

Yup, the way to a man’s heart – sticky toffee pudding and red wine…

And when eating in, some of my cooking experiments have worked incredibly well (Good Housekeeping, BBC Good Food and Delicious magazines all do fab, almost fool-proof recipes, as does darling Delia Smith). Some though – and they tended to be the ones where I thought, “only one tsp that’s a bit mean” and started wandering off ingredient-list – weren’t so great. But y’know tomorrow is another recipe!