Sunday, 10 August 2008

Becky's Wedding

I sit here, in the little alcove of my exquisitely furnished living room, DJing to a near-professional level (despite lack of headphones), drinking dodgy Polish beer. My PA is studiously catching up with three years of a neglected PhD in the kitchen, dropping her hard work only to fetch me another drink, which I communicate to her by text message. Outside, the light dims, but the screeches of the universally-despised seagulls remain bright and loud, with the higher pitches of the pathetic baby seagull also registering: oh, how I wish for a national cull. Perhaps a little later, I'll tire of my "dex-skillz" and progress to the snooker room, and knock around my shiny new snooker balls. Until finally, when the beer has run out and I decide against the cognac, I'll stumble up the dangerous stairway to my attic haven and fall into a delicious sleep in my massive, extremely accommodating bed. And throughout all of this, I will make no mistake: this is Aberdeen, and not Norway.

I was supposed to be in Norway by now; at least, I would be in some parallel universe where oil schedules meant something. Fortunately they don't, and on Friday morning, as I emerged from deep sleep into a world of hangover ruin, I received a phonecall with the very welcome news that Saturday's voyage to Norway had been postponed.

That news ultimately made for a far more enjoyable Friday evening, though it barely made a blip on the vile misery that Friday morning turned out to be. I found myself in a country house near Birmingham, then in a dining room with a bride, a groom and their family and friends, and then in a small car with a six hour drive ahead. The most ghastly of the misery - a deep nausea receiving little sympathy from the teetotal honey, Roxana - passed after the first couple of hours, mercifully, but I apologise to anyone who happened to venture into a service station toilet between Birmingham and Carlisle anytime after 10am that morning.

It was all worth it though, because the Thursday that caused the damage was terrific. I'd been invited down to see an old friend, Becky, get married. Becky was an integral part of "back in the day", when I lived in a castle and didn't sleep, only pass out. She wasn't in the last bit a good influence, instead preferring to phone at the moment I was about to drive home, and persuade me to venture to some seedy nightclub. She wisely jumped ship just before the whole scene dissolved into the darkest of mania, but to hear of her getting married, presumably forever, was still quite a surprise. This was someone from a group of people for whom commitment meant remembering to be at the pub for 10pm. The sobering influence on her life is a man, and very charming and pleasant he turned out to be, with the impressive name of "Hereward", an old friend from before "back in the day", who has nursed Becky into a healthier world and convinced her to be a dutiful wife.

I arrived into Birmingham very late on Wednesday, so late in fact it was actually Thursday, the wedding day. After meeting Rox, the driver, in Edinburgh, traffic and then weather had been horrendous, and we'd slipped way behind schedule; nonetheless, Becky was happy to direct us as we entered the unknown and deeply murky world of Birmingham, and greet us as we finally found her house. I stayed with a couple of her friends, and survived a whole night of being stared at by their unsettled cat. I won the contest, and it missed its tray when crapping, so buoyed by this victory I was in good form going into the wedding.

I didn't know anyone there except for the aforementioned Rox and Becky, but this turned out not to really matter, because it was a fairly small wedding (about 60 people) and a very friendly one, where everyone got on. Of course, the steady drinking from 2.30pm didn't hurt, and the fact that the country house hosting the wedding was also the hotel for everyone.

Anyway, I was going to write more, but my PA has just poured me a White Russian, and I kind of feel like venturing on to the snooker room, where the activities will demand more of my attention rather than my DJ exertions. So I will briefly reiterate that the wedding was really enjoyable, praise the 7-year-old boy who stole the dancefloor, express concern as to the drinkability of a whisky and Amaretto, and look forward to the next drinks I buy being about £15 a pint in Norway.

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