Saturday, 12 October 2013

Argy bargy

We've been in the Midlands all day with Lisa and Mark and various members of their extended family.

The day started in a traffic jam. North London on a Saturday is never a good place to be if you want to get anywhere and we stuttered and stammered our way out of town.

We had to be in a village just north of Letchworth on the dot of 2.30, so once the traffic had cleared, Nathan went absolutely hell for leather up the A1.

It is Lisa and Mark's 10th wedding anniversary today and the plan was for Nathan to surprise Lisa with a rendition of the song (Unusual Way from Nine) which he'd sung at their wedding in the very church where the wedding had taken place.

Mark organised it all. It was a hugely romantic gesture. We were to turn up  five minutes before them and, with the blessing of the church warden, hide in the belfry. Lisa and Mark would come through the door of the church, have a little cuddle and a weep on seeing the place for the first time since they got married, and then Nathan would sing from the balcony, allowing the sweet music to drift down onto them.

It went like a dream, the only issue was that the belfry was highly exposed, so the two of us were forced to hide behind bell ringing plinths, lying on the carpet like giggling school boys whilst we waited for them to arrive.

It was so much fun. Nathan sang beautifully. Lisa and Mark cried like babies. I looked on proudly. Job's a good 'un.

We went on to Spaldwick for some food in the local pub. The village smelt strongly of wood smoke, which I realise is one of my favourite smells. I'm smelling it all over the place this autumn.

Sadly the weather turned at some point in the afternoon. It was beautiful in London this morning but as we drive home back down the A1, it's absolutely chucking it down.

This evening we went to Huntingdon, or more specifically Brampton, to watch Lisa and Mark's daughter, Poppy, performing in a big old dance and gymnastics spectacular in the gym at Hinchingbrooke School.

It was a hugely impressive concert. Huntingdon gymnastics school is world famous, and its students were flip-flopping like daemons all over the place. We were also rather fortunate to be graced by the presence of Olympian (and let's not forget Strictly Come Dancing winner) Louis Smith, a former student of the school, who did a number of mini-routines including some nimble trampolining.

There was some fabulous argy-bargy during the show, the like of which I never expected to see in a genteel place like Huntingdon. The flare-up seemed to involve the husband of one of the belly dancers, who was asked to stop filming them mid-way through the show. There was a lot of shouting; "I'm their manager, I'll film them if I want to..." before someone got head-butted, the man got ejected and the police got called! When we exited the auditorium for the interval, the scene was carrying on in the foyer, where someone was standing with their hands over the ears of a small child, who'd obviously heard way more than his weekly quota of swear words! Exciting biting, as my Dad would say.

It was a particular treat for me to visit Hinchingbrooke School, as it sits in the shadow of Hinchingbrooke House, the erstwhile home of Lord Sandwich, Samuel Pepys' cousin and patron.

A great day all round.

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