what happens when you try to arrange a wedding in five weeks

Last year I suggested we actually do it some time. I was on a beach, he was in the pub
Last year I suggested we actually do it some time. I was on a beach, he was in the pub

I have been with The Man for nearly 10 years. He has been threatening to marry me for many of those years. However, having been married three times already between us, it’s never been a priority. The fact that he has out-lasted both my previous marraiges put together has also lessened the need.

But about six weeks ago, I realised that my driving license had expired (check yours guys – I had no idea!), and it was in my previous married name. So, I was going to have to change my name on it.

I made the comment that “I wasn’t going to chnage my name on it now, just to change it again in a coouple of years time”, and with that, we went to the registry office and booked “The first Saturday available”. Which was last Saturday.

The Girl has been obsessed with us getting married eventually, and has mentioned it at least three times a week – even more so after her dad remarried. So, we obviously wanted her there, but apart from that, I’m not particularly into weddings, and I don’t like dressing up, and everything just seemed like too much fuss and bother. However, I LOVE a party!  I was in a quandry as to what to do.

So, I asked a wonderfully skilled friend if he would make our rings, to make it more personal and unique.  Him and his partner were the first outside our family to know.  Then, we finally relented and said family and closest friends could come along.  However, in ordeer to keep the amount of wedding chat to a minimum, I only told the girl 6 days beforehand when I had to take her out to get a dress!


I booked the ‘wedding breakfast’ in the back room at the Village Kitchen – Hanna and the team couldn’t have been more accommodating, and we gave the kitchen a resounding round of applause on the day.  Do check it out some time guys if you haven’t already – we had nothing but great comments from people.


The party had to be over the Rose & Crown, and I decided to get a karaoke and a photo booth. The wonderful people of Open Booths were amazing, and it really was a highlight of the evening – I highly recommend getting a photo booth for some brilliant memorable pics of your loved ones, and the Open Booth gives you so much more scope for merriment.


But then the other highlight was our cake.

After seeing a Wizard of Oz cake that he’d made for his neice, I asked my lovely friend Darren if he would be interested in making me an anti-wedding cake that was Walthamstow themed. He jumped at the chance and the conspiring began.  Originally, I had asked for me & The Man sitting on top of a pile of abandoned mattri (Walthamstow is famous for its abandoned mattresses, don’t ya know?) but it became so much more than that. It features our favourite places, our cats, The Girl, Warren Sreet station where we met (even though it’s obviously not Walthamstow where we were both living at the time), panda bowl man, pigeons. It was an absolute work of art. A showstopper – made clear by the amount of time people took taking photos of it when we brought it out. I can’t thank Darren enough!


All in all, given the amount of time I had to do it in, I think it was a bloody good day, and I am so grateful to every single person who came and shared our day. I wouldn’t have had it any other way – certainly not with months of stress and planning!

secondhand book sale – rose & crown, e17

OK – totally out of character for my blog, but this is a shameless plug for a used book sale to raise money for the RNIB that a friend of mine is organising as part of their ‘Read for RNIB‘ campaign.

This is going to take place in the Red Room at Ye Olde Rose & Crown pub on Tuesday 11th October from 5pm – 9pm.  If you’re in or around Walthamstow and love reading, please do come along and show your support (I will be helping out on the night – whta more incentive do you need?!) 😉

guffaw comedy club, rose & crown e17

Everyone likes a laugh, don't they?

So, I have been putting off writing this review from Thursday as I really wasn’t sure where to start.

Now that I have actually started, I realise that I was a bit unprepared as we saw four acts on the night, and I only remember the names of two of them, so I can’t even do a decent review!  What a rubbish blogger I really am!

The Guffaw Comedy Club has been at the Rose & Crown Theatre Pub in Walthamstow for a while now, but I had never been.  Thursday was the last night of the current season (apart from 4 nights in July where there is a fantastic line-up including Richard Herring) and so I was convinced to go along.

The two girls that I went with had been to every show bar one, and said that it had generally been good, and that the headline acts were always really good.  I hadn’t been upstairs into the theatre since they ripped out the bar – it makes a huge difference to the room.  And the removal of the overly sticky carpet has been a vast improvement too.  About 14 years ago, I used to do bar work over the R&C and I used to HATE having to work in the upstairs bar when there were functions!

Susan Murray is the compere/organiser for these shows and even though she’s been moaning about having a cold on Twitter, she seemed on great form  🙂  So, the first guy (whose name I don’t remember) came on.  He is actually from Walthamstow Village and I found him very amusing and personable.  I liked him!

Next was another one whose name I can’t remember.  He started off good, lost it a little in the middle I think, and then ended well with a song on his ukelele about stalking, which he sang to one of the girls I was with and which I found pretty funny.  He was right, dark, disturbing lyrics just become adorable ditties when you accompany them on a ukelele!

Then came Michael Kossew (see, I remembered a name!).  He actually started off really really well – a sketch about the verb ‘to Michael’ someone, which was really funny.  Then at some stage in the proceedings, he just seemed to get very very inappropriate.

Now, this is hard to explain.  I am not easy to shock.  I am not some kind of virginal ‘laydee’.  BUT, I think it can be very uncomfortable in such an intimate setting to be, well…intimate!  This is a pretty small room, and there were no more than about 20 in the audience, so, if you find something a little uncomfortable then there is nowhere to hide.  It’s all very in your face!   I am NOT a prude, but I almost felt like I was being forced to be.  He’d done really well, and then he said “Have I got time to tell one more story?”…and if he hadn’t, I would’ve thought he was brilliant!

So, that was a little uncomfortable and then we had the headline act – Ian Cognito.

Now, I hadn’t heard of him before, and I had NO idea what to expect (as I said before, I only went along at the last minute, so hadn’t really thoguht about who was on!).  The problem that I had with Ian isn’t that he wasn’t funny because some of his jokes were absolutely hilarious and I couldn’t help but laugh.

It was his delivery.  To put it quite bluntly, I felt a little scared!  He is sweary (which I can take), but he is also very shouty – and quite vitriolic.  Again, I can imagine that this would be fine in a large setting.  In fact, if this had been at a small theatre with an audience of a couple of hundred or so, I probably would’ve thought he was hysterical!

But it wasn’t.  It was a small room above a pub with an audience of around 20.  And he scared me!  He shouted, he went red in the face, he punched things and I was worried he was going to chuck his pint at us!

In reviews I’ve read of him since, he gets compared to the likes of Bill Hicks – and I can see that.  i just don’t want it completely in my face!

Talking to some others after, I think he split everyone pretty much boys/girls.  The guys seemed to absolutely love him and couldn’t understand why the girls hadn’t as much.  That was a new experience for me!

It was certainly an interesting night though – and it wont put me off going when the season starts again in October.  Comedy is so individual, so personal – and the girls have been to loads of nights that they thought were great…so, hey – who knows what we’ll get next time?!

(Well, actually, I know I’ll get Richard Herring…)

such a bad parent

Ok - maybe I'm exaggerating my crapness!

I was mortified last night, when we had to go and pick our eleven year old daughter up from the pub.

OK – so it isn’t quite as dramatic as that, but I crave the drama 🙂

When The Girl started walking home from school herself, and being at home for a couple of hours before we got in, I had a panic about “What should she do if she loses/forgets her keys?!”

This is London, you know.  This is ‘The City’.  The majority of people are working all day (same as me & The Man) – the only neighbours I know certainly are.  So…I told her in case of an emergency to go to the pub (where they know us) and ask to ring us, and then at least she wouldn’t be hanging around on the doorstep in the dark and cold and it’s still a public place and less than a minute walk from our place.

So, last night, I was just leaving work when I got a call from one of the owners of the pub telling me she was there.  I was horrified!  I was so so embarrassed.  As I would still take an hour to get home, I rang The Man to tell him to be as quick as he could – and he was in a meeting and didn’t answer…so I ended up getting rather frantic.

He ended up getting there 5 minutes before I would have done – which meant that he actually had to go and apologise etc.

I wouldn’t mind, but I had checked that she had her keys in the morning, as I do EVERY morning, and it was only because she had done something she had been expressly told not to do that she’d ended up getting locked out.  she’d gone to the shop to buy sweets that she wasn’t allowed, and forgotten her keys – which made it even worse!!  (And she lied a few times before I finally got the truth out of her – she doesn’t realise I have been a child, and I was a far better liar than she is!)

I am now going to have to think of somewhere other than the pub as a potential bolthole…the library perhaps.

I was SO annoyed with her that I made her go to bed straight away at 6.30 with no dinner.  For real.  For the first time ever!

Took me ages to calm down after that.  But this morning, we made up and she was VERY apologetic.

follies – rose & crown, e17

Follies @ Rose & Crown

After seeing The Importance Of Being Earnest at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub a couple of weeks ago, we decided to go and see the next offering there which was ‘Follies’ – a Stephen Sondheim musical.

I went with four other lovely E17’ers and it was not a musical that any of us was familiar with.  To be honest, that probably should have set our inner alarm bells ringing.

What can I say about Follies?  Hmm…  Actually, I’ll start with what I can say about the production.  The stage and ligting were good with the space that they have;  the musical arrangement was brilliant, and they sounded great;  the costumes and make–up were fitting for the play.  I think they did really well with what they had to work with – REALLY well.  It felt a lot ‘bigger’ than the space they were actually performing in.

The general plot is that a load of old showgirls have come back for a reunion at The Weismann Theatre where they performed about 30 years before as the theatre is about to be pulled down.  Two of the girls are there with their husbands who they met at the time, and the ghosts of their young selves are haunting them – stirring up old feelings and playing out what happened all those years ago.  roughly – in a nutshell as far as I could make out.

Some of the performances were particularly good.  I liked Weismann, Buddy and Phyllis in particular – and also the woman who was playing in a green dress and was the lead on the Mirror Song.  In fact, I have to admit I LOVED the mirror song routine – where the older women were recreating the song & dance and then ‘faded’ into the background and performed alongside their younger selves.  I found it quite rousing (especially the woman in the green dress!).  I also quite liked the Broadway Baby song which I’m sure I’ve heard before – but thinking about it, it might have been parodied by Family Guy – I’m sure they did a Prom Night Dumpster Baby, which sounded very similar!

However, there were quite a few niggles.  The main guy, playing Ben, had a great singing voice – but I found his acting extremely stilted and unbelievable.  Sally was a little too screechy, both acting and singing and there were a couple of the older ones who really shouldn’t have been singing or dancing – so much that I felt a little embarrassed for them.  On top of that, some of the songs felt very difficult to ‘enjoy’, and the main storyline was extremely blah.  These two facts of course were of no fault of the production – and probably just more that it wasn’t to my taste.

When we came downstairs for the interval, I found that my companions were even less enthralled by the show than *I* was – so much so that they refused to go back after the interval.  Personally, I hate giving up on things (and someone I spoke to did say that the second half was apparently a lot better!) and so if I had been on my own, or with people a little more, well, ‘forgiving?’, I would have gone back for the second half.  But I wasn’t going to go back on my own as I wasn’t enjoying it enough to leave the people I was with, who were FAR more entertaining!

The only thing that made me uncomfortable though is that one of the staff personally came over to me to ask if we were going back up as they know me, and I had to say that we weren’t.  I was mortified!!  I SO hope they didn’t take offense, as it really wasn’t the fault of the production!

It’s not going to put me off seeing anything else at the Rose & Crown (or Pose & Frown as we affectionately call it), or from the same people – but it WILL make me think twice about just going along to anything.

farewell to the noughties!

Yes - people will be making my 2010

So – it’s farewell to the noughties (obviously sung to the tune of Farewell to the Fairground by White Lies who I saw at Brixton a few weeks ago).

I love New Year’s Eve/Day.  I always have.  It means more to me than Christmas that I have never really been that keen on.  I love the idea of a shiny new year – one that can be full of anything.  I love the fact that everything that happened in the last 12 months is now definitely behind me and can be classified as ‘last year’.  New Year’s Eve is like a final full stop at the end of a chapter that you have now finished editing.  that probably makes no sense, but it always fills me with a little frisson of excitement to be on a new page of life.

2009 had some very hard parts for me, but I think it will probably go down as the year that me, my other half and my daughter really got so much closer.  That’s something I really want to build on in 2010.

Last night was bloody marvellous – our local must be one of the few pubs in London that doesn’t charge entry on New Year’s Eve, and seeing as it takes us less than a minute to get from our front door to theirs, it’s always a favourite haunt of ours.  So, our mate came round first and we had a few swifties and went over there about 9ish, by which time most of the regulars were there anyway, so we were in brilliant company.

There was a live swing band there who weren’t too bad either.  And my friend also came down that I wrote about yesterday – the one where i’m trying to put an elastoplast over our slightly broken relationship.  So that was nice.  the disco went on til about 3 so I had a good boogie and came home feeling happy, full of love, laughter, vodka and the excitement of a new decade.

Although what the hell IS this decade?  It can’t be the teenies as 10, 11 & 12 are ‘teens’ – they’re ‘tweens’.  Do we call it the tens?  It’s just very confusing, and I don’t like unanswered questions!

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