War Memorial Gary Trouton

Best Laid Plans

November 2002

A daughter gets married

You may, or may not, remember that in my last contribution to the Pump I mentioned that we had to visit our daughter and her 'future intended', so that I could be measured for a wedding suit. Hired of course, as me and some of the suits in my wardrobe go back a long way! Well the great day has been and gone. Last May actually, but I needed a little while to recover.

To give them their due they had booked and organised the affair, (sorry wrong choice of words), arrangements, for the wedding. We just gathered the information, worried that they didn't seem to be getting on with things, and nagged them until they did. Well isn't that what parents are supposed to do???

To set the scene, the church is in Downham, the groom and best man are staying in Denver, the groom's family are in a hotel in Downham with my wedding suit, we are in Stoke Ferry, the hairdresser is in Southery, and the flowers are in King's Lynn and they don't deliver! !!! So the big day has arrived. Everything has been gone over and planned with military precision.

Now you all know the saying about 'Best laid plans'; yes, well ours were no exception. We needed to get the flowers from Lynn to the groom's family at Downham so that they could decorate the church, and we could bring the bride's and bridesmaid's bouquets home with us. No problem we thought. That was before the florist told us that on no account must we touch or knock the white roses as they bruised easily and would go brown!!

So after something like ten minutes placing and replacing these flowers in the car so they didn't touch each other or were not liable to fall onto anything, we set off I thought I'd better drive fairly steadily to further reduce any risk of damage, (this girl's got a lot to answer for!) and thought perhaps it was a good idea to phone ahead to warn of the delay. Only trouble was we'd forgotten to charge the battery on the mobile, and it was flat. So it was some eight miles down the road before we came to a phone box that didn't need a great deal of traffic negotiation to get to it. OK we thought, just running a little behind schedule.

But of course time passes faster than Concorde when your sorting out which flowers to leave, chatting with the future in-laws, and collecting my wedding suit which they have brought down with them. So it's a mad dash back to Stoke to get the girls all off to the hairdresser. Still it gave me a chance to catch my breath, have some lunch, a shower, and rehearse my speech, (I'm quite looking forward to that bit, because nobody knows what's in it, and they're all a bit worried about what I'm going to say, not least my wife.) Telephone rings, they're on their way back and could they have such and such for lunch Now I knew I'd been left at home for a reason! !!!

In an ideal world you would expect, with the wedding at three o clock, the cars and photographer to arrive somewhere around two or two fifteen.

HALF PAST ONE, They're here already!! Don't panic! Don't panic!

The bride is only half dressed as are the bridesmaids. My wife is dashing from one to the other to try to assist. I'm the only one who's ready. It's great being a man at times like this, I mean you don't even have to decide which shirt or tie to wear as it all comes in the hire package, right down to the shoes. Which brings me to a painful reminder. They didn't do half sizes and when I was being measured up, the size nines were too big, so they sent size eight. Perhaps my feet had shrunk with the cold when I tried them on in the shop, because when I put them on to get ready on the big day it was like putting my feet in a vice. No way could I wear them for the next six or seven hours! So back to my old faithfuls, which unfortunately didn't have a patent leather finish. Oh well I always did like to be different, well, in some things!!

So finally everyone's dressed and ready for the photographer, as is the weather, it starts to blow a bit of a gale. The bride's veil decides it wants to be a kite. I button up my coat to stop it blowing about, and what little hair I have got, decides to misbehave. Anyway photo shoot over and it's into the car and we're on our way.

Now this particular daughter tends to show her emotions fairly easily, so I was expecting a few tears and suchlike. But I'd never seen her so calm and collected, in fact on the way to the church she asked me if I was OK. 'Fine' I said. Not telling her I was quite choked up by the occasion. (Some of you may ask if it was the thought of losing a daughter, or at last giving someone else the task of looking after her. Well I'm not saying!!!)

It was a lovely service, I gave her away, (as there were no better offers), and the groom didn't look too terrified. (He's a great guy really). Again lots more photos were taken. It wasn't until we saw them developed that I realised I'd forgotten to unbutton my coat. So there was the groom, best man, groom's father, and usher, all showing off their fancy waistcoats but alas, not me.

So to the reception. The meal was great, and I managed to eat well despite the thought of having to give my speech at the end. As I didn't think I'd be able to memorise all I wanted to say I'd typed it out. Knowing what I'm like speaking in public I thought it would not look so good with all these bits of paper shaking in my hand. Eventually I hit on the idea of the 'Big Red Book', and gave it to them as 'This is Your Wife'.

Which brings me to the final 'Best laid plan', I'd left my camera at the reception venue ready for when my duties at the church were over. Now it's not a modern one, just a point and click with motor wind-on and a dial with the number of the picture on. So I clicked away during the reception, and the numbers progressed, I saved a couple of shots for their departure, when those were taken I discovered, (yes you've guessed it), no film in the camera. I've managed to scrounge similar shots from other guests, so all was not lost. All in all it was a wonderful day despite the blips, and everyone said I didn't scrub up too badly, considering. Although I wasn't too sure what they meant by that!!

Only two more daughters to go!


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