Saturday, 26 May 2012

The race home

We're in Hampshire. It's 5.30pm. Our Eurovision party begins in exactly one hour and thirty minutes' time. I reckon there's about a 50 per cent chance of our getting there in time. 87 miles to London and counting...

Marinella's wedding was wonderful. She was blessed with almost perfect weather for a garden wedding. I've just passed a giant thermometer which tells me the temperature is 29 degrees. It's 5.30pm, and it's still bakingly hot.

We travelled down to the New Forest late last night and stayed at the crappiest Travelodge known to man; mosquitos everywhere, mildew on the bathroom ceiling, stains on the bed. The room was mega hot. It reminded me of a hotel room in Leningrad I stayed in in 1989! 

We had breakfast in a Little Chef and then went to the wedding hotel to hang out with Marinella whilst she was having her hair and make up done by a harem of Brazilian and German women.

5.42pm, and we're 76.6 miles from home. We're making good time...

My wedding duty was to walk Marinella down the "aisle" in the absence of her father who was too poorly to travel from Brazil. Nathan's task was to stand at the front and sing an unaccompanied folk song as we walked towards the celebrant.  Marinella and I waited nervously in a room with patio doors onto the garden until the clock struck 2pm and the doors to the garden were flung open for us to make our grand appearance.  Just we took a step forward, the wedding organiser rushed over to say the singer had gone AWOL and no one knew where he was. "Is he not out there ready to sing?" I asked. Apparently not. 

I couldn't imagine what could have happened and switched on my phone to try and find out where Nathan had gone.  In the meantime a waiter, who said he knew what Nathan looked like, went to check the loos, and I went running out to the car park, to see if he was there.  Eventually my phone switched on and I was able to call him. "Where the hell are you?" I shouted... Nathan was sitting in the garden, exactly where he'd been told to sit, waiting patiently for his cue to start. Massive storm in a tiny tea cup! Poor Marinella! Poor Nathan!

5.52pm - 64.4 miles to go. Chances of getting there on time are rising, but the M25 and North Circular could well destroy us, if sun-worshipping day-trippers clog the blinking roads.

Nathan sang beautifully, and the bit at the end also went quite well when I had to accompany him singing "I Only Have Eyes for You", which is a curious song to play on the piano if you're not a natural jazzer! 

The wedding breakfast was nice enough, although we were embarrassed to have to leave after the main course, which, for the vegetarians was a filo pastry basket filled with roasted vegetables, topped with an absolute mountain of rocket. Why do people insist on placing these mountains of bitter lettuce on the top of all vegetarian food? It's always dry. It's never dressed. And more crucially, more than a mouthful is minging!

6.03pm - 50.4 miles to go. My phone's GPS anticipates the journey will take an hour. It's a close- run thing. Fiona is now at home prepping a salad. Things are in hand.  Nathan is driving at 100 mph.  This reminds me of one of the lines in A1: The Road Musical... "Oh my God, if we crash at this speed will we die or just be seriously maimed?!"

6.12pm, and we've just entered Surrey. 36.7 miles.

6.21pm. People have started calling us to say they're coming. We're going to be crammed in to our front room like sardines!  27.6 miles. 

350 years ago, Pepys spent the morning going through Sandwich's accounts and found him to be some 7000l in debt, but with an astonishing amount owed to him, so everyone one seemed quite happy. Pepys went to Trinity House in the afternoon and found himself eating his dinner next to someone who talked continually about the wickedness of English nuns, who were apparently routinely ejected from convents and rehoused due to their insatiable lust... Wow!

Pepys returned to London to see a rubbish performance of Marlowe's Dr Faustus, which became terribly frustrating as he'd vowed it was the last play he'd treat himself to until Michaelmas at the end of September. 

6.31pm and the traffic is bunching up. We're down to 50 m p h with 24.8 miles to go. Only three miles in 10 minutes! Still, we're now on the M40...

6.42pm - 11.1 miles to go, but we're going slowly and have not yet hit the north circular! 

6.49pm - north circular traffic jam. Horrid. Typical. Stationary. Misery!  I'm gonna post this blog now. We're through the traffic jam and I predict we'll be home by 7.15pm. Hurrah!

2.27pm - Sunday - Eurovision Party was wonderful!

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