Sunday, 3 October 2010

Rehearsal dinners

I’ve just woken up. The sky is a brilliant cornflower blue and it seems Sharon may well have picked the right day to get married. What a relief.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm in New York. After arriving back in Manhattan, we immediately made our way to the West Village and I went for a second massage. I couldn't really afford it, but when you're in pain, it's not easy to think about money. Thankfully, and touching all the things in Christopher’s apartment that at least resemble wood, it seems to have done the trick. My back is still a little tight, but it feels so much better than it did.

Last night was Sharon’s “rehearsal dinner”. This typically American tradition has always struck me as being a somewhat bizarre thing to do and if it wasn’t for Friends, I wouldn't have known it was something that even happened. I’m still not quite sure what the point of a rehearsal dinner is. I, for one, don't need any practice eating food, and if you practice reading your speeches, then surely the point of them is lost? Rehearsal dinners have always struck me as one of those American traditions, like baby showers, that seem to exist purely as a licence to print money.

That said, Sharon’s version made perfect sense. We didn't all sit down formally. She’d hired a largeish room in the condo where they live, organised what my Mum and Pepys would call a cold collation, ordered a few drinks, and we all stood around having a natter and meeting some of the people we’ll be spending time with today. Sharon and her husband to be, Dan, looked very well indeed. Both had lost weight and seemed terribly nervous yet incredibly excited, which was rather sweet. I was thrilled to meet at the party two people who lived at the two ends of Route 50, which is the US road I am hoping will form the basis of a follow up to A1: The Road Musical. One of them runs a restaurant in Sacramento, California and the other is a musician from Maryland, thousands of miles across the country. Two people united only by a road.

The Happy Couple to be...

The party was in Brooklyn, and we walked back over the Manhattan Bridge at night, which felt incredibly romantic, although terrifying every time a subway train rattled across and made everything vibrate. We walked up through China Town and Little Italy, which was positively buzzing with everyone eating out on the sidewalks and twinkling red and green lights as far as the eye could see. By the time I’d got back to the apartment I was ready to drop and I slept like the dead for 9 hours flat.

A view from the bridge

Wednesday October 3rd 1660, and Pepys’ day started with a big meeting in White Hall attended by, amongst others, the Duke of York, Monck and Montagu, who by this stage in the diary was constantly referred to by his newer title, Lord Sandwich. Pepys was sent by his Lord to over-see the delivery of an iron chest into the King’s Chamber and was astonished to see the fine artwork hanging all over the walls, including an example of trompe l’oeil, that technique of making two dimensional paintings look three dimensional, which was all the rage at the time; "among the rest a book open upon a desk, which I durst have sworn was a reall book."

There then followed the arrival of all Sandwich’s belongings from sea, which were delivered to various addresses across London, including his new official home at the wardrobe.

Pepys went home in the evening and watched over the painters who were now at work in his house (following the plasterers and carpenters...) Would his house ever be ready to live in?

1 comment:

  1. If I cycle 300 miles, I will be in Darlington...