31 May 2013

The wedding dream and how it ended before it really began

Why is it that talking about other people's wedding plans is so completely and utterly dull?  Every bride thinks that her wedding is going to be so different and that she's going to find such a new angle on this whole wedding ceremony thing.  "We're going to have the speeches before dinner and not after" and "Instead of a band we're going to have a Frank Sinatra inpersonator".   Wow, you're so radical, you arse hole.  You can't reinvent the wheel.  I've been to so many weddings now that no matter what, weddings are more of the same.   What would be good if everyone got stinking drunk in the morning and then had then had the ceremony at the end of the day when the groom is swaying and bride has already been sick twice.  Actually come to think of it, that sounds like a Las Vegas wedding.

I was talking to a mum in the school playground (actually she was talking AT me, I just happened to be the closest living being with ears - hmmm actually don't all living beings have ears?  Trees don't.   But is a tree a living being?  More like a living object? What about a caterpillar, do they have ears?  I suppose that would be called a living creature).  Anyway, she couldn't wait to tell me that she had found the perfect dress and it had only cost her £2000.   £2000!  She's been with the bloke for 10 years already, she's got children, and a mortgage (and let's be honest, a fat arse) and she's getting married on a beach!  If that were me I'd be all sweaty and sandy and squinty and I certainly want to be in two thousand pounds worth of fabric.  Surely a tenner would cover the essential bits of your body?  Couldn't she find something more worth while to spend two grand on?  Like two months rent on a luxury flat where she could escape from her children and read magazines in silence.   Or maybe a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel called Pepe?  She could even hire a man-butler to answer her front door, prepare her tea and call her M'Lady?

But then again I've never been the type of person to dream about getting married and what type of wedding I would have or the dress I would wear.  Thank The Lord I wasn't a gypsy, the traveling community would have been woefully disappointed with my lack of vision.

My own lovely mum had a spectacular amount of white fabric for her wedding dress, it was boned and laced and embroidered with lilies of the valley. I can't really pretend to describe it more than that, as all I remember was the fact that at age 5 it ended up in my dressing up box, which literally was a box.  A cardboard box stuffed full with my parents discarded clothes.  There weren't off the shelf fairy outfits or a vast collection of Disney Princess dresses to collect back in 1976.  No, you just made do with your Dad's old paisley waistcoats and your mum's tattered petticoat slips and stained day-dresses.  So why her hugely expensive designer wedding gown ended up in there,  Lord only knows. On second thoughts after 3 children, 13 years of marriage (the kind where a hot meal was expected on the table on the dot of 5.30pm) perhaps I do have a clue.  I'll leave The Lord out of this one and if indeed there is a Lord, I'll bank my question for another more pressing issue.  Like why do posh people all have that ruddy-cheeked complexion?  And why weren't women invented with a handy zip down the side where you can just lift out babies when the time is right?  That time of course is when they can feed themselves and do the washing up afterwards.

Naturally after a few tatty petticoats, there wasn't a hope in hell's chance that I'd take my mum's old wedding dress off for the entire school summer holiday.  For 6 weeks of humid days and balmy evenings, I paraded up and down my street in it walking my Dutch rabbit Sooty on her lead.  How regal I felt dragging yards of lace behind me in the dirt.  Poor Sooty's walkie-time adventures came to a bad end I'm sorry to say - a story for another time.  My play mate Becky who lived next door was so green with envy that she badgered her mum to pass down her wedding dress.  Her poor mother obviously felt the pressure because sure enough, there were two brides in over-sized sacrificed dresses the following week.  That was probably the first ever incident of Trash the Dress and we didn't even notice nor care.

I wore the dress during teatime and afterwards to meet the gang on the street corner for the hour before bedtime when we'd play knock-down-ginger.  For those not in the know, a game which involved banging on your neighbours' front door and then scarpering before you were caught and dragged back to your parents for a rollocking (and god forbid sworn to make it up by doing bob-a-jobs). Admittedly it wasn't the most practical wear for a speedy getaway, the 10 foot lace train was a little hindering and collected a lot of debris and sticks along the way.

By the time school started again in September,  all my desires to dress up in wedding wear were exhausted. The dress was ripped to shreds and the once white silk and taffeta was unrecognisable, no doubt it was laid to rest in the dustbin by my remorseful mother.  From the first day of the new school year in Miss D'Silva's Year 1 class, it never even occurred to me to fantasise about weddings or marriage ever again, at least not for the next 26 years until the day Ben proposed and all anyone was interested in was 'What's your dress like?'

The horrific realisation that I actually had to find a suitable bride-like dress and then wear it for 14 hours didn't really hit home until 6 weeks before the wedding.  I had tried on every wedding dress going.  None of them felt right, none of them looked like me.  I settled on one of course.  I had to.  I had it re-worked, re-stitched, re-shaped and would have been returned but the day of the wedding had come and I had run out of time.  I loved my wedding day, but I felt very odd in my dress.  I was cross with myself for having 32 years to decide on a dress and so why did I leave it til 6 weeks before?  I think I'll blame my teacher Miss D'Silva, as from that first day in my Year 1 class, and for many years after, my young brain was all consumed by the baffling mystery of why a lovely young primary school teacher, who looked like a woman, would be called Mr Silver.

29 May 2013

Hello I'm Tess of the Burbs

5 years ago I moved away from the City to a small English county town.  With 3 children under 7 and a husband under 45,  I've been desperately trying to play the role I've been cast into but instead have been getting myself into all sorts of socially awkward scrapes.

On paper, I'm LIVING THE DREAM.  I have a husband, 3 beautiful daughters and a lovely house and garden.  This is what people aim for in life.  I should be at the pinnacle of happiness, floating around in a state of self satisfied bliss.  Husband, house, kids.  That's where the story ends isn't it?  And they live happily ever after...... but what does actually happen after?

This town is very beautiful, but being within commuter distance to London, it is also full of very wealthy city types, older landed gentry types and Country Living readers.  Tories, the lot of them.  You can count the ethnic minorities on one hand and Boden probably has a special delivery van that comes here on a daily basis to deliver mini-packages of mega price-inflated clothing.  As for the women, despite only being 30 minutes from England's fashion capital, the dress code here is Barber jackets and Joules polo shirts.  It's not even like they don't have the time, their kids are at private school all day and even after Yoga at 9am and Tennis at 10am and coffee at 11am, they have all day to venture outside the town border to the shops beyond.  But no, if it ain't sold in Betty's Boutique on the High Street then it ain't suitable.

I don't fit in.  I'm trapped but the limitations of motherhood and the small town mentality of the place I live.  Yes I am middle class, we have a huge mortgage but can afford a nice holiday once a year.  I'm a city girl who just wanted a slightly nicer place to bring up my kids.  But what a sacrifice, I miss the old me.  The young woman who didn't have children, the one who had the energy to spend an hour each morning trying out a new hairstyle, the one who'd pop to the pub on her way home from work for a quick one with colleagues, the one with disposable income,  free time and a vibrant exciting city at her disposal.

Still,  let's not whine, at least I've got the joy of the school pick up to look forward to, perhaps a browse round the charity shops and maybe a little caffeine fix in Waitrose cafe.  Then of course there's 7 loads of washing, the kids tea, bed by 10.30pm and back on the train to work tomorrow.   Perhaps Ben and I could go to the cinema next month if we shell out £30 for a babysitter.  You've guessed it.  I need help.  Now.  Please.

Like Tess Durbeyfield I'm out of my natural environment and out of my comfort zone.   Plus we're both sensitive loyal and kind, although I've got a mouth like a sewer and keep myself sane by drinking far more Sauvignon Blanc than she had tears for Angel Clare.  Angel Clare?  What kind of man has a name like that?  More of a love interest for Thomas Hardy than Tess I suspect....

This may be stuff only a trained therapist should hear but hey, let the mind chatter begin....  Mwah ha ha ha.

New kid on the blog

The first post.


See, that was easy.