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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Tales from the wedding at 30,000 feet!

11th August, 2010, 3am Hong Kong Time

Anyway, back to the reception. Once the dance was done, folks took their seats and I stood up to make a speech, mostly thanking family and friends for the support and toasting those who had made the journey to what my step-mother Angela rather touchingly refers to as “the end of the known world”. However, the speech also included the tale of how Mel and I actually came to find ourselves in this position. But before I tell it, I must just offer a little aside to the story at hand to let you know that I am currently sitting sipping VB next door to Mel at 30,000 feet in one of Qantas finest premier economy class seats – it’s not a bad place to write I can tell you – and the service is quite special up here too! So, as I was about to tell you… Some years ago, back in the early naughties, I was at drama school in London. At the weekends my best man Tim would invite me over to stay at his house with his then girlfriend Ann. These weekends usually turned out to be somewhat debaucherous, full of semi lucid moments clutching at the edge of sanity as we sought to test our young bodies and minds to the limit as young people do. On one such weekend, I was sitting in the recovery position on Tim’s sofa, which at the time felt like a womb when something caught my eye. It was a photograph, sitting on the table nearest me. In this photo was the image of the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, shapely, blonde, wearing a white dress and clutching a handbag. “Wow, who is that girl?” I enquired. “Oh, that’s Mel” came the reply, “She’s my best friend from up in Scotland, at Uni in Newcastle just now”. “I’m going to marry that girl” I said. And hand on heart, I had never before, nor since, uttered those words, and now here we are on the flight to Hong Kong, before our wedding in Brisbane.

The food at the reception was really nice, everyone ate more than they could comfortably stomach, and we had so many different things on offer to satisfy even the most challenging of pallets, except that the chef had forgotten to provide sufficient food for our two vegans, Sam and Elly, something we were a bit cheesed off about as we had been very specific with our French chef Laurent. I spoke to him after Mel alerted me to the issue – “Laurent, what’s happened to the vegan food?” This question was greeted with a famous response; mastered by all Parisians the world over, it’s a look which encompasses a great number of statements, all carefully choreographed to not only make the Parisian seem innocent in the situation, but bizarrely and very annoyingly, it makes the receiver of the look feel guilty! It is a shrug over the shoulders, a la Thierry Henry, followed by a deep exhalation and a jutting of the lower part of the jaw, followed by the baby who has just had his dummy taken away by you face – clinical finishing! “Errrrr, we did not errr discusse the, the vegans Charlie.” “Laurent I was very specific about the vegans.” That bloody shrug again! You get the picture!

Needless to say, the rest of the reception was superb, the speeches by Craig, Phillippa and my dad – copies of which will retrospectively be included I hope – were well received and the Ceilidh went down a storm, as did the cake and a little Chinese Lantern ceremony out on the lawn accompanied by lots of sparklers. Many drank too much – especially my new brother in law who had to be carried back to the B & B by Claire and Tom, friends of ours from Hull. Fortunately both Claire and Tom know what Henry is like when he’s off his face, and they still love him!

There is more I could mention, but I must move on...

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