We woke up in Chippenham this morning and had breakfast in the Premier Inn. Full vegetarian English. Eat as much as you like. Bish, bash, bosh. Thank you very much for asking.
From Chippenham we drove to Melksham, a pretty little market town in Wiltshire, which my phone has repeatedly auto-corrected to Milkshake!
It was Nathan's cousin's wedding, or, I think, more accurately, his first cousin once removed's wedding. Nathan was singing Love Changes Everything in the church, so we got there early to work out levels for his CD backing track. As a precaution we'd thrown the sheet music into his suitcase, just in case there was some sort of technical error. It turned out everything worked really well, however, and I was put in charge of clicking play on the computer which was feeding into the sound system. I'm not altogether sure why the person from the church who showed me the ropes didn't seem to want to hit play on his own sound system. As it turned out, he spent the wedding plodding about nervously in the church's side aisle singing hymns in a voice like Harvey Fierstein, and when it came to the key moment, followed me over to check I was doing things properly!
The service was great, although the vicar went on a bit, to the extent that I wished I'd brought a book with me, or some colouring in. I'm sure no one would have noticed. If you're not going to make your sermon either theatrical or relevant, you can't expect anyone to bother to listen to you. Sometimes, when I'm forced to sit in a church listening to the droning sounds of a vicar, I think how amazing my sermons would have been had I gone in the direction of the cloth. There would be light effects, illusions, songs, dramatic costumes, smoke and crazy smells. Get the senses going, you know. Religion is no excuse for dullness.
Anyway, when it came to Nathan's moment, I duly walked to the back of the church to press my button (followed by the church's technical guy) and, horror of horrors, immediately discovered that the computer had gone to sleep. The tech guy panicked and turned the whole thing off, which was about the silliest thing he could have done.
Meanwhile, Nathan had been announced and was standing like a dick at the front of the church, making small talk with the congregation. He later told me he was about to start reciting rude Limericks out of pure desperation. I looked down at the computer screen. Still dead as a doornail...
There was nothing for it. I grabbed the sheet music and ran to the front of the church, where a nutty professor had been sitting at a keyboard playing organ music as the congregation came in. He must have wondered what on earth was going on as I elbowed him out of his seat and asked how I got the keyboard onto piano setting. I then did the unthinkable and sight-read my way through Love Changes Everything, whilst Nathan sang. It was the biggest adrenaline rush I've probably ever had, and, bizarrely, it went really well! Just call me Mighty Mouse!
We came out of the church and helped Nathan's cousin (not the cousin getting married, another cousin) to change her flat tyre in a local car park. Our puncture (which turned out to be caused by a nail embedded in the tyre) was a slow one, so we decided to drive to the reception (at a very swanky golf club) before attaching the spare wheel.
There was a very amusing moment when Nathan's uncle, who'd also helped to change the tyre, finished putting the nuts onto the wheel and proudly said, "right, jack off, Nathan." The timing of Nathan's retort, "steady," made for comedy gold, particularly when Nathan's cousin, blissfully unaware of the smutty turn in conversation, suddenly said "does anyone want a wet wipe?" We could have gone on all day with lines about nuts and spanners...
The reception was a dream: great food, lovely company, all sorts of innovative little additions, like a caricaturist who sat in the corner of the room working his way through the guests. Nathan and I had ours done. I've never been caricatured before (apart from in the form of rude poetry graffitied on a university wall) and assumed the end product was going to be about my nose. It turns out he went for the eyebrows! Great big stripes of black felt tip!
We changed our own car's flat tyre in the early evening and couldn't get the sodding wheel off the car. It had been on so long that it had sort of welded itself to the axel. Straight men at wedding parties have a sort of sixth sense for anything to do with cars (they smell grease and oil in the sea of crepe de chine and floral bouquets) and an increasing crowd of blokes in suits gathered around us, each holding a glass of wine and an opinion. It turns out that the wheel simply needed a strong kick, which was eventually provided by the most gung ho of the crowd, in an illegal-footie-tackle kind of diving motion delivered from the front of the car, which was so base and masculine I felt quite giddy!
We had to leave the party just as the music at the disco went 1970s. I have never in my life left a party whilst Staying Alive was playing. A true indication of how old and sensible we've become!