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!

e17 storywalk

As part of the Words Over Waltham Forest literary festival currently being held, there was an E17 Storywalk event yesterday.

Over two hours an audience visited six venues in Walthamstow and at each they heard a short story created especially to feature the place where they were standing, read out by the story’s author.  the walk was free, but voluntary donations of a suggested £5 were collected for Lloyd Park Children’s Centre.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the authors unfortunately dropped out, and I was aksed whether I’d be interested in taking their place. Rather nervously, I agreed – my reasons at the time purely being to help the group out (of which I only knew one) rather than for myself.

The venue that I was given was Lot One Ten – a curious little antique shop less than five minutes walk from my flat.  Due to current personal time constraints, I literally had about three to four hours to write my story, which I did last Saturday.  So, that was the main obstacle out of the way.

However, the thought of reading my own work out to a group of strangers absolutely terrified me. I tried it out on my lovely mate – but I know he would have said it was good even if he thought it was crap!  I didn’t get a wink of sleep the night before, and woke up a bit sniffly, which didn’t help at all.

It also didn’t help that the others reading their stories out were all ‘writers’ – unlike me!

Filled with trepidation, I wandered down to the library where the walk was due to start.

Reading my story, with the other writers, my venue and the poster

The authors and venues were:

Each group had about 20 in the audience – and it was especially cosy on my one – but we fit everyone in.

The other five stories were fantastic, and I think we all relaxed after the morning group as the readings felt even stronger the second time round.

Poor Ken gave himself the short straw as his was the only outdoors venue. The first time round we were ambushed by a drunk piss-drenched Polish guy who demanded a tenner off the group to make him leave us alone. Luckily he was convinced to leave us alone without getting a tenner!  I’d like to think that it enhanced the colourful atmosphere of Ken’s story.  The scond time round it started raining pretty heavily and the wind really picked up – literally JUST for the time that Ken was reading.

All other readings were pretty uneventful in comparison!

I hope that anyone who did come enjoyed it – unexpectedly, once I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was actally there and just had to get on with it, I really, really enjoyed myself. And I met a great bunch of people, which helps! I’d totally be up for something like that again.

Paekakariki Press are printing a booklet featuring all six stories in the next 2-3 weeks, which some of our audience have already ordered. I’m very excited about this as I see it as my first instance of being ‘published’.

I must say, although he originally got me into this, I couldnt have done it without Simon’s help. He waded in and helped edit my brain-dump first draft and was brilliant at it!

So, despite my fears, it was a brilliant experience – what next?!!?

richard herring, rose & crown pub, e17

What is love anyway?

We’re very lucky in Walthamstow to have a great little arty, cultural and giggy community.

This was very much in evidence last night when the 4 day Guffaw Comedy Fest (part of the Edinburgh Fringe Warm-Up season) kicked off at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub.  Unlike the last time I was there, it was packed to the rafters.  Probably about 140 moist little bodies squeezed into the hot, humid and airless ‘theatre’ room above the pub.  Surprisingly, I managed to count about 30 people that I knew too – rather a high percentage, I feel.

The heaving audience was hardly surprising considering the draw of the headline act – the undeniably hilarious Richard Herring!

However, I must not get ahead of myself as we were first treated to a trio called Jigsaw who performed a load of sketches for us.  I had personally never heard of them before, so was a little nervous as to what they would be like…but I have to admit, I thought they were brilliant and will definitely look out for them in the future.  I particularly liked ‘Christmas With The Schrödingers’, but there really were a whole host of little gems (not the lettuces). Here’s an example of their stuff.

Everyone disappeared to the bar in the interval (probably to get anything with ice like I ordered!) and Richard Herring started putting out copies of his programme on the seats (and it’s a very good programme btw!).  I probably should have got my copy signed, but had to rush off after the show 😦  (if Richard Herring happens to read this, can he please just send me his signature and I’ll trace it onto my copy 😀 ).

The show is ‘What Is Love Anyway?’ and I can’t actually put it any better than on his own website:

So asked the insane, Welsh, poet-philosopher, Howard Jones in 1983. But in the intervening 28 years no one has dared to answer his questions?
Until now.

Comedian Richard Herring returns to Edinburgh for his 20th Fringe and 32nd show. Having sorted out religion (Christ on a Bike), politics (Hitler Moustache) and penises (Talking Cock), the star of award winning podcast As It Occurs To Me and Radio 4’s Richard Herring’s Objective seeks to define and destroy love. Before love destroys him. Again.

Is love just a chemical reaction in our brains by which our body selects potential sexual partners or is it a magical force which guides us unerringly to our soul mate, oddly usually waiting until we’re off our tits at a night club to do so?

Could a romantic gesture involving Ferrero Rocher chocolates get so out of control as to destroy the economic infrastructure of the United Kingdom?

Is the word being devalued if Richard’s dry cleaner claims to “love” all his customers, or is he actually only enamoured with Herring and too shy to tell him directly?

“What is love, anyway?” is a heart-warmingly honest and personal examination of the romantic (and not so romantic) adventures and misadventures of the UK’s most prolific comedian, as well as a genuine attempt to define this mysterious, debilitating, evil and wondrous emotion.

Richard took us on a rollercoaster of a ride, laughing at his stories of his first love, cringing at his two very differing tales of love for Julia Sawalha and emotionally tugged with his love for his gran.  It was a brilliant, brilliant show – and this is just the warm-up – imagine what it’s going to be like once he’s polished it a bit more 🙂

If you get a chance to see him, do – you definitely wont be disappointed!

And for those that never watched Fist of Fun (or were just too young for the 90s!)

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…)

the importance of being earnest – rose & crown, e17

WHERE is that baby, Prism??

I have to say that this is one of my absolutely favourite plays.  Oscar Wilde at his witty best.

I remember going to see it MANY years ago (at least 15) at The Aldwych Theatre with possibly the best cast you could wish for – Richard E Grant was Algie and the glorious Maggie Smith perfected Lady Bracknell.  There was also Claire Skinner playing Cecily – but I only knew her from Life Is Sweet at that time, so it felt rather an odd choice back then.  I can’t for the life of me remember who was playing Jack, Gwendolyn, Miss Prism or Father Chasuble, but it may come back to me!

So, as it’s one of my favourites, if I get the chance to see it, I’ll jump at it.  So, imagine my glee when I heard that my local pub (which is a theatre pub) had a production of it this week by Immersion Theatre Ltd.

It was billed as a ‘modern day adaptation’, although I think that this was slightly misleading.  It didn’t feel very adapted to me – apart from the clothing, set and a couple of lines (Hello and Marie Clare were mentioned as were LibDems might as well be Tories!).

The girls were all very strong, Lady Bracknell and Cecily especially.  Father Chasuble was an absolute delight.  Miss Prism didn’t feel quite right – I think they were going for a kind of hippy feel about her, but she didn’t come across as dotty enough to have ever left a baby in a handbag at Victoria!  I thought Algie was OK, but jack was a bit of a let down.  However, we got to see wrestling and nekkid torsos (from the men), so it wasn’t all bad! 😀

For a theatre pub production, I was very happy, and would definitely see something else by the company.

Not only that – it literally takes me about 45 seconds to walk home, so that is a huge added bonus AND I got to meet my first two people that I only know from Twitter!  The lovely @MarcusJDL and @goronwy66 who were totally delightful and I hope I will be able to meet up with again soon 🙂

A thoroughly enjoyable evening.  now, where is it on next?  (Blithe Spirit is my other favourite play, btw, and hoping to see that later this year!)

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