Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Well, since getting married, I've managed to encounter a number of 'firsts'. I've had my first filling (discovered a hole in my tooth the hard way when trying to pick out the pip that had got stuck - the pin went right through...) I was recommended a dental surgery round the corner from us, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were still taking on NHS patients. I registered on the Friday, had my appointment on the Monday, and had the follow up appointment to actually have the filling the Monday after. Very impressed.

I’ve managed to lock someone into a building for the first time (locked myself out plenty of times!) – in this case, John. Our flat doors are completely key operated – they don’t slam shut behind you meaning that you lock yourself out by mistake. However, this time, I managed to take both my keys and John’s to work, and, as John is not dedicated enough to the company that sucks the life force from him, he wasn’t willing to contemplate climbing out of a window to go to work (not only that, but leaving a window open would have been an obvious temptation to burglars…

And, my very big first – I’ve had my first multiple vehicle car accident. I’ve been in a couple of cars that have had single vehicle accidents before; when I was 11, a sliding Yellow Pages meant that my father drove into a lamp post, and a couple of years ago, our bonnet flew open on the motorway, smashing the windscreen. However, this was the first when I was driving, and the first when I was alone in the car. I’m not going to beat about the bush – I was in the wrong. I was tired (the accident happened at about 9.50), I’d got lost in an unfamiliar part of Bristol, and I was not concentrating as much as I should have been. I ended up pulling out in front of someone, and hitting them on the passenger side door. Fortunately, although both myself and the driver in the other car were shaken up, neither of us were hurt at all. The cars, however, were a different matter. Whilst her car managed to get away with a dent on the passenger side, and a burst tire from where she swerved onto the pavement, our little Punto ended up with a stove-in bonnet, passenger side lights smashed, and, fatally, a broken radiator, that leaked water everywhere. The upshot of this is that the car is on the verge of being written off (we are waiting for the insurance assessor to finish his report).

The one thing that struck me about the whole thing was how many people there are who will go out of their way to help. Within a minute of the accident, a number of the householders around had come out to see if there was anything they could do. They offered advice (including what details to swop – my brain had gone into shut down, and I really didn’t know), checked that we were both ok, and one incredibly kind gentlemen (retired paramedic) offered the use of his front room whilst I was waiting for the recovery vehicle (and he was very persistent about it – I didn’t want to impose on him and his wife, particularly given that it was now half past 10, and the breakdown vehicle wasn’t going to arrive till half 11. The third time he asked, I accepted!), and brought me out a glass of water whilst I was waiting on the phone. Even the parents of the person I hit were amazing – the mother going as far as giving me a hug when I got overwrought – something you don’t expect when you have just hit their daughter’s car!

So, for the first time since we both moved to Bristol, we are car-less. It is amazing how much you rely on motor transport – neither of us cycle. The public transport round Bradley Stoke, whilst acceptable during rush hour (I get the train to work in the city centre), is appalling at weekends (the regular buses around our house stop running at 6 pm in any direction on a Saturday, and hardly anything runs on a Sunday), which makes doing the shopping very difficult (and I am incredibly reluctant to shop online. However, with delivery being £5, which is the same cost as getting the two of us to Sainsbury’s and back, I might think about it!) The hardest thing (on my part – I think John is not too happy about having to walk to work every day rather than going five minutes round the corner!) is not being able to get to orchestra – I find that I rely a lot on the relaxation that comes from playing as a group, and not being able to go, even for a couple of weeks, has left me feeling a bit empty.

But the one thing that we have not had, in the midst of all of this disruption and destruction. We have not had our first row. John has been amazing through all of this – he has not shouted, he has not sulked, and he hasn’t even blamed me. He has been upset, obviously, but he has not taken anything out on me, even though I deserve it. I couldn’t ask for a better husband.

In other news, I'm going to be taking part in NaNoWriMo - I am going to try to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This means that I might not be posting as much as I should, though I'm sure I'll be able to post some story updates on here :-)

Friday, 19 October 2007

Autumn Days when the Grass is Jewelled

I am not a fan of the colder months of the year. Any month from September through to April will usually find me cuddled up under many layers of jumpers, complaining about the office heating and overdosing on coffee just to keep warm. It also finds me sullen and morose, particularly as the nights start getting longer and the rain sets in. My patience, never particularly good at the best of times, gets very low, and I get stroppy over people that I consider to be fools. In short, I'm not a happy bunny, and I'm definitely not a nice person to know.


We are now over midway through October, and I've been finding myself suprisingly cheerful. I've been looking out at the crisp blue skies and looking forward to my lunch break because it means I can get outside. Even though waking up to the alarm clock is still difficult, I'm not finding waking up in the dark depressing. I've been really enjoying watching the leaves changing colours, and have particularly enjoyed the walk to and from work, where I've been finding the biggest piles of dead leaves and scuffing through them, watching them fly into the air, or crunch underfoot. (probably making far too much work for the poor street cleaners - sorry!) Yes, I'm wearing two jumpers at the moment, and my scarf and gloves have come out (no hat yet, but I'm sure that will be making an appearance in a matter of weeks), but the bundling up has made me feel warm and cosy, not down.

I'm not sure if this is all part of the a outlook on life in general, whether the cathartic post a few months ago has helped to clear more than just those old injuries, or whether married life is agreeing with me!

We shall see if this good humour continues, particularly into winter and the first snows...

Sunday, 14 October 2007


This is going to be a very quick post on the honeymoon, mainly because John has already blogged about it.
Norway is beautiful. The Fjords are amazing. Bergen, where we stayed, is gorgeous, both in scenery and in character - the people are so friendly, and were very kind when we tried to speak our basic guide book Norwegian.

We went on two Fjord trips, and also sightseeing within the environs of Bergen, including going up the Floybanen and the Ulrkisbanen cable cars, and going out to Grieg's house.

We also spent a heck of a lot of money - Norway isn't cheap, and we were spending the best part of £70-£100 per night on food! However, it was all definitely worth it - and I would love to go back, when I win the Lottery....

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

The Wedding Part III - Return of the Guests...

{EDIT} Just to say, I've only just realised that it has posted this with the date that I first started writing it in Blogger - I did only publish it Saturday night (13th...)

Final part of the trilogy now :-)

And given that it is now over a month since we got married, I really ought to get this published! (Bear with me - work has been manic, and it has been tricky to find the time to write) The photos all link through to Facebook, however you do not need to have an account to be able to see them...

We left the Westminster Suite to find that a few of our evening guests had already arrived. There was lots of chatting, quite a few photographs, and even a few tears from my aunt. It was very difficult to try to get round to speak to everyone - I really hope that I managed to, and that no-one felt like I was ignoring them. The band, Diabolus in Musica (we had Paul and David - shown at the bottom of this page of their website), once they had set themselves up, came out to play some pieces for us as we waited to be allowed back into the Westminster. They really helped to set the tone for the evening, and it was brilliant to be able to hear the tunes that I'd enjoyed from their album. Their whole performance was given in Elizabethan English - fantastic!

We also had to disappear (although I did delegate most of this to Emme) to clear our 'civvies' out of the changing bedroom and move through to our own rooms.

By the time I got back, pretty much everyone had arrived, and I was walking past the Atrium to hear John calling me through the second door. He wanted me to meet his friend Adrian, and we chatted for a bit by the Atrium bar. We were both so happy with the way the whole day had gone - "It's just been fantastic. Absolutely nothing has gone wrong!" John said, waving his arms expansively, and knocking the pint of beer standing behind him all over the bar. Fortunately, it was his father's, rather than the beer of anyone who would make a fuss...

Then the band announced that the Westminster was ready for us to go back in, and we headed through. The new layout was lovely - the long tables had been replaced by circular ones, and they had moved the runners across, added circular mirrors and put little candles everywhere. It looked magical.

Diabolus Paul (not to get him confused with Best Man Paul...) took John and myself aside to teach us a few simple steps (yes, called Simples) for our first dance. I had managed to completely forget the fact that we would have to do a first dance solo, and was a little bit nervous at this point... Fortunately the moves were very easy, and Paul told us that he would let us go round the room a few times, and would tell us through the music when it was time to stop.

So, we headed to the dance floor, and D. Paul announced that we would be doing our first dance. The music started, and we stepped forwards. At this point, for me at least, all co-ordination seemed to cease. I was juggling dress, husband and trying to concentrate on when I was stepping (and in which direction - front, left or right), and when I was doing the funny little lift... However, you would think that by the fourth or fifth time round the dance floor, I would have been able to get it right... However, it was all fun, and set the scene for the evening's entertainment.

This started by D. Paul getting as many people as possible onto the dance floor for another version of the Simples (this one including going backwards...) A very stately and genteel dance, and much enjoyed by those taking part - particularly shown by the fact that no-one really wanted to leave the dance floor when the dance was over. (and this was really notable throughout the evening - in most Ceilidhs that I have been to, the music finishes, and everyone instantly disappears to get a drink. Not only did we not lose that many people between dances, but after the dancing breaks, they all came back for more!)

Then D. Paul announced "The Horses Brawl." At this point, I couldn't stop myself grinning, because this was the dance that D.Paul had made us do in front of a Nottingham audience when we went to see them play so many months ago. Therefore we knew what everyone else was in for... Essentially, this is a dance from Tudor France. Along with the Simples steps, there is a section where, in turn, the men and women must raise their hands into hooves, paw at the ground, and turn round. It all looks very silly, particularly when the music started speeding up. But not as silly as the "Peas Brawl", where we were peas in a pod, 'popping' round the circle, or the Washerwoman's Brawl, where we had to scold each other.

In between dances, Diabolus took the time to show our guests how the hurdy gurdy worked, and generally kept everybody very much entertained. Rather amusingly, at one point, he was playing the hurdy gurdy over the pram of little Guy Sidney, at that point just over a month old. The son of our orchestra conductor and lead cellist was so used to music that he didn't even stir.

Whilst the music was playing, the Tortworth staff had also brought out the evening buffet, complete with fantastic butterscotch choux pastries (the only thing I could eat all evening - my adrenalin was still running high!) The cheese cake was also available for people to eat, though they didn't have nearly enough (we ended up with a shelf and a half full of cheese in the freezer afterwards!)

The evening really went by in a bit of a blur. Talking to family and friends, dancing, and just generally looking round at everyone enjoying themselves.

11 came round far too quickly, and Diabolus played their last piece. This was not a dance in itself, but a story in song - the story of Brave Sir Eglemont and the Dragon - acted out by guests Bruce (Sir Eglemont) and Jayne (the Dragon), and the chorus being provided by the audience. It was very silly, and great fun!

Then Diabolus left, and the guests started to leave too. Quite a few, however, stayed until 1, when the Tortworth staff rather plaintively asked us to leave, as they had to reset the room for a conference the next morning. Whilst most people went to bed, a few of us (including my brothers) ended up in the guest bar for one last drink before retiring. We ended up in bed at about 2 in the morning - the room provided for us by Tortworth was room number 1, which looked out over the gargoyles which guarded the entrance to the hotel. They'd also very kindly given us a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates (both of which we took home rather than consuming then and there!)

And that is the story of the wedding, in all of its glory and detail...

Sorry that it has taken so long to get it posted, and well done if you managed to get to the end!
(I will now go back through the previous posts and link some more photos...)