Saturday, 30 October 2010

Wedding Invitations (and minor injuries)

Much to my mum’s bewilderment, I have grown up to be a person who enjoys crafts and the art of making something from nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type who insists on making all their own clothes out of hand spun yak wool or anything, but I do like knitting hats and scarves and other pretty things that are simple to make and difficult to get wrong.

So, partly because it was expected, and partly because I was full of inspiration, I decided at an early stage that I was going to make our wedding invitations with my own fair hands. It only took one shopping trip to ensure I was equipped with both the enthusiasm and the necessary goodies to start my one-woman production line.

Sadly, it did not take long for my enthusiasm to decline into ‘make a single proto-type invitation, before leaving the remaining materials to sit untouched in a bag for months’. After several weeks of waiting for the inspiration to return, I decided to move the untouched bag into another room to stop myself from feeling so guilty about the distinct lack of progress being made.

A further three weeks passed, and I had only managed to construct a further 5 invitations. Despite my fervent hopes, they didn’t magically multiply into the required number on their own and I began to realise why people often chose the easy route of paying someone with more motivation to get the job done.

Then we hit the ‘six months left until the Big Day’ milestone, and I panicked. If I didn’t get myself into production mode, we would be the only people partying at our wedding. It was time for action.

My fingers were nimble and swift as I cruised through the creation of the first five invitations. I giggled smugly to myself, and wondered exactly why I had put this task off for so long when it was so damn easy.

I was mid-smug-giggle when I stopped production to peel some ribbon off my index finger. The smile started to fade, before disappearing completely as I noticed I had to peel a ribbon-less invitation off my other hand. Upon further inspection, I realised that my hands were pretty much entirely covered in glue, and bits of wedding invitation.

Mainly thanks to my ability to act on impulse without thinking things through properly, I tried to wipe the gluey residue off my fingers with a tissue. Obviously, all I managed to do by pursuing this course of action was to stick bits of tissue to myself, which was not a particularly helpful development at this stage in proceedings.

Determined not to let my adhesiveness interrupt the flow of work that I had managed to produce, I persisted with my increasingly sticky fingers and knocked out another five invitations. I had found The Zone and became a blurred frenzy of wedding invitation creation as card after card was finished. I got to a tally of fifteen freshly produced cards, and ignored his rumbling stomach as I asked Fiance to put off dinner for another hour so as not to lose the momentum I had found.

Eventually, my fierce determination to make wedding invitations was overtaken by Fiance's determination to eat, and I was forced to bring a halt to my creative streak. I'll be honest - I was grateful for a reason to stop because by this time, I had sustained a grand total of three ridiculously painful papercuts and had transformed my hands into a combination of glue, glitter, tissue and odd bits of ribbon. Most importantly though, I had actually crafted thirty-five completely inconsistent, but entirely hand-made wedding invitations. (I am labelling the inconsistency as ‘charming’ rather than something I should endeavour to fix, for the general purpose of maintaining my sanity). Our rough guestimations led us to believe there were only fifteen or so more cards needed before we had the required number ready for dispatch.

I slept soundly that night, satisfied that a great day’s work had been done and that major inroads had been made towards letting our guests know about our wedding. I was similarly imbibed with positive feelings when I woke the next morning - until I tried to move, at which point I was somewhat shocked to be greeted with a stab of pain introducing itself to my lower back. This was not how my day of wedding-related-smugness was meant to be begin.

You see, in my invitation-induced frenzy the night before, I had made the mistake of putting my productivity before my posture, the latter of which was completely disregarded as the hours passed and my determination to continue persisted.


As a reward for me spending the night hunched over our wedding invitations, I had been blessed not with a spring in my step and a smile on my face, but with a severely tweaked muscle in my back. The next couple of days saw me wincing every time I moved, cursing every time the knuckle-based papercut re-opened itself and ever grateful that Fiance decided food was more important than indulging my feverish determination to finish the job in one sitting.

And that is a true story about how making my own wedding invitations led to silly injuries that were prevented from being worse by a hungry Fiance. I guess I owe his stomach one.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An apology in advance

Bah, I gone done stupid. Despite being fully aware of the fact I have plans for tomorrow night, and a subsequent, frantic attempt to get an early post scribbbled and ready, I have ultimately failed in my mission to ensure posts will happen every Monday and Thursday. So this is a heads up that for this week only, the Thursday post will now rear its head on Saturday. Hope to see you in a couple of days!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Louie (aka accidental troubleshooting)

Let me get this off my chest: I hate Louie. With a passion. I have done my utmost to avoid our paths crossing ever since he arrived on our street three years ago, mainly because our meetings have a 100% record of ending in a battle that I could never have hoped to win. I blame this on the fact that his personality seems to be made entirely of malice, spite and a general hatred for people.

However, he is also cunning. He covers his twisted persona cleverly, by presenting himself in an adorable four-legged form with the sweetest little face you ever did see, guaranteed to make the hardest of people melt at the sight of his cuteness. 

Jack Russell Terrier

Yes, Louie is a dog – a Jack Russell terrier, which as the picture suggests, means he should be pretty irresistible to anyone who understands the meaning of the word 'cute'. Indeed, that was my first reaction to the new arrival, but it didn't take long until my opinion of him transformed from aww, what an impossibly cute ball of fur, to this:

A 12 month old Louie moved into the house next-door-but-one to ours when its dog loving residents agreed to take him in after their friends revealed they couldn’t cope with his behaviour. The alarm bells started ringing when we heard this particular element of the story, and proceeded to go into overdrive when our neighbours admitted that it would be ‘tricky’ to discourage any behaviour he had developed during the first year of his life.
It quickly became apparent that the previous owners’ method of training was either non-existent, or it involved wearing socks made out of bacon, because Louie moved onto our street with an uncontrollable problem that meant he immediately attacked the ankle region of any given human he happened to encounter.

This was far from an okay situation. Our house is a typical terrace where four buildings share one alleyway to get to the back of the properties – sadly for us, Louie’s house shares an alleyway with ours and as we used the back door as our main door, we had to venture past his domain whenever we wanted to go anywhere. While the garden that usually contains the doggy devil is fenced off, in all truth, the containment proved inadequate for such a rogue canine. Within what seemed like an hour of his arrival, he had learned that he could open the gate to the garden by leaping at it repeatedly, until he was lucky enough to unhitch the latch that kept him locked in, and us protected. 

The instant we would open our door, we could hear him throwing himself at the gate, leading us to freeze as we nervously waited for the moment when he achieved his aim: freedom and ankle eating. And this wasn’t an exuberant method of showing his pleasure at seeing us, it was a co-ordinated vicious display of his offence at our ankles. Neither was it only our ankles he took a disliking to – a roofer working on the house next door made an official complaint to the council after Louie escaped and bit him, and we had a workman call Fiance in a blind panic after another escape-and-attack-some-random-ankles episode, which left our worker effectively barricaded at the front of our property – a significant problem given that the back of the house was the location of all the work that needed doing.

For some reason – presumably the adorable face which belies his evil personality – his owners did not look upon the behaviour in the same light as those of us who suffered at the teeth of this horrible canine, instead joking about how difficult it was proving to be to train a one-year old dog who had never experienced suitable discipline before. They even tried to teach us to love the mutt as they did, demonstrating his sweet nature by inviting us to stroke him while they cradled him like a baby. Yeah he might have looked extra cute, and remained calm whilst being fawned over but I wasn’t fooled. You don’t stroke a dog with your ankles, so what was there for him to get angry at?

Eventually – after input from the council, I suspect – Louie was chained up, leaving the residents of the other three houses relieved to be able to get through our gardens without fear of attack. It was a blissful couple of weeks – until one morning, we left for work and were greeted at our back door by a lightning fast streak of dog trying to attach itself to our lower legs. It turned out that whilst trying to attack an unknown victim the day before, Louie had jumped at the gate, got his chain caught over the latch, and nearly managed to hang himself. I felt like a terrible person for having the thought, but what instantly popped into my mind was this: 

We were back to square one. The only solution we could come up with was to stop using the back door – and our garden – in order to minimise our contact with the dog. While this did work to an extent, there were still encounters with Louie that were unavoidable - if we happened to be out front as he was being taken for a walk, there would inevitably be a reunion between his teeth and our ankles until the neighbours stepped in to shout at him (and when that didn’t work, to pry his jaws open and forcibly remove him from our bodies).

So, that was how the first six months of living near Louie panned out for us. Since then, there has been a slight improvement in his behaviour, by which I mean he still pelts towards us at top speed, but stops at the last minute to bear his teeth and growl his displeasure at the sight of our ankles instead of actually trying to consume them.

In an ideal world, even this experience would stop, and a couple of months ago Fiance (accidentally) stumbled over a solution that worked, and resulted in Louie tearing away from him with his tail stashed firmly between his legs.

The solution was a chainsaw.

Fiance had gotten the chainsaw out to cut back the monster of a hedge that adorns the front of our house, and was happily minding his own business when he received a surprise visit from our doggy nemesis. So consumed was Fiance in his task, the arrival of a barking ball of fur at his feet somewhat startled him and he leapt about a mile into the air, the momentum of which led to the chainsaw being wielded downwards towards Louie’s general direction. The dog sensibly decided that avoidance of such an object should take precedence over his lifelong hatred of ankles and he scampered back to the chainsaw-free safety of his own territory.

While it is impossible for us to ensure we are carrying a chainsaw with us whenever we are leaving the house – it is not cordless for a start, which would lead to significant impracticalities – it is nice to know that we have found a solution to the problem should it present itself again.

I guess that means the moral of the story is that sometimes, ignoring a problem is for the best - because then you might just accidentally solve it with a chainsaw.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Why I shouldn’t spend too much time on my own. Also, weapons.

As part of the recent office move, the team I work on was placed in an area on our own, completely separate from the other departments. It is a lovely area – we have an awful lot of space, floor to ceiling windows and are situated right by the kitchen (the perfect location for me to indulge my addiction to a good cup of tea). There are plenty of plants scattered around the place, and we get a view over the car park - which sounds a bit dull, but can be great for a little indulgence in the art of people watching. It really is a nice place to work.

I say that with one caveat. You see, I work on a team of only two people, which means that when one of us is out of the office, the other is left in a state of solitary confinement.

While this is fine for short periods of time, it became not so fine when my partner-in-crime went on holiday recently (not that we do office-based crime for a living, but partner-in-system-implementation-amongst-other-things-related-to-the-system just doesn’t have the same ring to it). While she was off having a jolly time of things in the sun, I was forced to spend a whole week at work sharing my own company. To make matters worse, on at least two nights of my stint alone, Fiance would be attending various drinking events in town. This meant, that with the exception of the drunken rambling I anticipated when Fiance got home, I was faced with two separate full days of nothing but me to keep me entertained.

Now, I have always known that I love talking, but I didn’t realise quite how much until I had no-one to talk to. By which I specifically mean no-one human to talk to.

You see, during this week of my own company I would catch myself turning to the stuffed toys I have on my desk to discuss some problem or other that had cropped up and how I could go about solving it. I’ll be honest – neither Piglet, or Penguin Poirot were particularly helpful, but that really wasn’t the problem here. I was talking to stuffed toys, because I just had to spend some of my day talking.

Whenever I heard a door opening, or footsteps moving around the office, I would instantly look towards the source of the sound, praying it was someone coming to see me so I could let my repressed chatter out. If the sound was someone not coming to see me, but simply someone moseying along to the kitchen to get a refreshing beverage, I would hijack their mission and talk at them for as long I could manage.

By the time I reached the 3rd day of work-based loneliness, which coincided with the second of Fiance’s nights out, people had obviously started to take pity on the tortured soul who sat in the corner of the office and talked to her toys. When I revealed my plan for the evening – “I guess I’ll be going home and talking to the table about whatever rubbish happens to be on the telly” – I was instantly invited round to a sympathetic listener’s house for dinner and drinks with him and his missus.

While I was grateful for the offer, I still wasn’t sure whether I was going to accept it when I got home some hours later. Even though it would result in a further enforcement of time spent on my own, there was something appealing about the idea of crashing out on the couch in my comfies and just staying there for the duration of the evening.

All that changed, however, when I went to pour myself a glass of whiskey and coke. I had just opened the fridge door when I noticed the silver glint of a can of beer I didn’t know existed. I was so pleased I actually greeted it like an old friend.

Enough was enough. If I couldn’t find enough to do at home to stop me from talking to inanimate objects, then action most definitely had to be taken. Within half an hour, I was in a taxi en route to my saviour’s house.

This is where the weapons come in.

Despite knowing that he and his wife had a love of all things Taekwondo, I had never really linked the martial art to weapons. We didn’t even notice them in the living room when Fiance and I had visited their house before. But there were weapons, and there were lots of them and this time, I spotted them. Well, I spotted the handle of something that looked quite pretty and asked a question.

It turns out there was an entire arsenal of weaponry scattered around the room – I am not going to pretend I can remember the names of them, so I will stick to the general description of swords, knives and sticks.

At this point, I should stop before you get the wrong idea, and explain that I’m not for a second implying these friends are psychos with an unhealthy love of shiny sharp things that can hurt people. They are highly trained in the art of using them, the blades have all been blunted, and there was a lot of explanation about how the weapons should be used primarily as defensive tools.

There were also demonstrations and they were highly impressive. Especially considering the amount of whiskey that had been consumed prior to the weapon wielding. And never once did I feel nervous that nun-chucks were being flung around, or that a sword was being professionally twirled. I can’t say the same for the TV speaker, wall, or door panels that each lost a little chunk of their being, but despite those rather loud exceptions, it was clear that the various weapons were being brandished by an expert.

And then Fiance called as he reached the end of his night out, and was invited to join us. Now – and this is relevant – I am sure he would be the first to admit that he has experienced many clumsy tendencies throughout his years – if anyone is going to knock a drink over with an out-of-control flailing limb, the chances are it will be him. So while I was delighted when he arrived, I was rather nervous as I saw his eyes light up when he spotted one of the swords poking temptingly out of its storage place.

With the same instant generosity that led me to spending the evening in company, Fiance was invited to hold the sword. I think even he was aware of the potential danger posed by his drunken grasp on the hilt, and he sat stock still with all his concentration aimed at not making contact between blade and anything. There wasn’t even a probing swish. Unless there was and I was so terrified I have blanked out the entire episode.

Fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, I am able to report that on this occasion there were no incidents or accidents that resulted from Fiance wielding a weapon. However, that hasn’t stopped me from realising how dangerous being on my own for a prolonged period of time can be. As this story clearly demonstrates, it could easily lead to me being accidentally injured by a blunt sword held in the hands of a drunken Fiance.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Back to our venue for a wedding fair

We went back to our beautiful venue on Sunday for a wedding fair that we’d been invited to – the main purpose of which was to chose which of the ‘feature rooms’ we would like to spend our first night as a married couple in.

They’re quite clever little blighters – we’ve opted for a great value fixed price deal which includes one of these ‘feature rooms’ for the newlyweds – but not necessarily one of our own choice. We can express our interest in any particular room, but if some cruel, wedding crushing individual came along and decided to pay for the room we had opted for, our wishes would go straight out of the window. 

Straight out of the window unless we gave them some more money that is. Sneaky - their experience means they know how brides behave and can capitalise on this :

Now, we might have been prepared to take a chance had the rooms been of a similar standard – but some seemed to lack the practicality you would expect of a bridal suite. Like somewhere to hang a wedding dress. It understandably might not have been at the forefront of Fiance’s mind, but I’m sure not spending all that money on a dress only to have it hung up on the floor at the end of the day.

After an hour or so spent fighting our way past the other groups who were also inspecting the various suites, we finally decided on our favourite – complete with a fancy spa bath and adequate hanging space. As soon as we had decided, a switch flicked in my head that told me every single other person present was getting married in our venue, on our day, and had decided they wanted to book our room. The race was on for us to get back to reception through the throng of wedding couples - and past a rather inappropriately placed string quartet - so that we could get our room sorted.

Of course, my Bridezilla inspired paranoia was misplaced, and we managed to get our room booked with no problems whatsoever. And the extra charge just went straight onto the bill, which doesn’t have to be paid for ages – and thanks to the way my brain works, this is as good as free as I will no doubt have forgotten about it by the time it comes round to settling up.

There were also some great table set ups that would go perfectly with our theme, and I got some info about the hair and makeup people who are actually located at the hotel and therefore perfectly placed for the primping and preening that me and my bridesmaids get to enjoy on the morning of the big day. These are another couple of things I was keen to get straight sooner rather than later.

While I still haven’t reached full time stress at the amount of stuff that hasn’t been sorted yet, I am admittedly starting to experience the odd moment where it hits me and I have to stop and take a deep breath. In my (probably) naive way, the fact I now have contact numbers for people who can decorate me, my girls, and the room kind of means those things are now sorted. Even though that is, in all honesty, some distance from the truth.

In other wedding news, I finally got the name of someone at the dress shop who I can trust – after a week spent waiting for a call that I should have known wouldn’t emerge, I called back and spoke to someone who promised they would keep me informed of any progress. She could obviously detect the forced calm in my voice as I explained my situation and to my delight, I got a call last week that confirmed my dress would be arriving in December (woo!). Continuing her good work, I got a call this afternoon to let me know that the sample of fabric had turned up, would be put in the post straight away and would probably be with me tomorrow. I’m so pleased to have finally gotten a decent response from the shop, I probably won’t even go mad if the sample doesn’t arrive for a couple of days.

And for the final piece of news - we have been mega-huge-lucky on the wedding cake front. A few posts ago, I mentioned my mum’s new job and its potential for wielding a discount on the fruity/spongy artistic concoction and my mum has finally done some investigating. Not only can we get a 20% discount – which is most definitely not to be sniffed at – the lady who makes the cakes has just won an award. In fact, she is so good, she beat a rival who is frequently asked to make wedding cakes for the footballers of Manchester. Suck it Manchester footballers, our cake will be better than yours. This is the kind of result that makes me glad of our fairly laid back attitude – if we had panicked and booked at the last wedding fair we went to, we’d have missed this amazing opportunity.

So I guess what I am saying is that our wedding is teaching me that patience is a virtue. And what an inspirational way that is to end a post.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Bridezilla contemplates a format change - and I remember hiding from my parents

My parents expressed their anger-slash-disappointment in very different ways as I was growing up – Dad was the explosive one, who would shout and rage intensely for five solid minutes before blowing himself out and instantly forgetting about whatever incident it was that caused the rage in the first place, whereas Mum was much more of the silent, glowering type, who would not rage, but who would insist on referring to the incident quietly and calmly over a period of hours.

Mum definitely was the superior in terms of making you regret your actions over the long term, but I was more scared of Dad, who would make you regret everything you’d ever done throughout the five minute tirade – I guess loud things are more intimidating than self-improvement to a child. I think I will always remember one particular occasion when my mum once used the dreaded phrase ‘Just you wait until your dad gets home’ in response to one act of naughtiness, the actual details of which I have since completely forgotten. 


In the several hours I had between the threat being issued and the time Dad was due home, I was convinced Mum would be building an excellent case against me, and decided the best plan of action would be to hide somewhere so I could not be found. Employing the kind of logic only a child can muster, I reasoned that Dad would then shout at the fact he couldn’t find me, before forgetting the whole incident (including the original sin), at which stage I could safely reveal my presence without fear of the rage descending upon me.

I was so sure my grand plan would be a success, I decided to put it into action immediately and proceeded to squeeze myself into a small gap between the fitted wardrobes in the spare room and a nearly adjoining wall. Note that there was no consideration as to how long it would actually be until Dad got home.

I stood, squashed in this tiny gap, for what seemed like hours until finally, I heard the front door open. I stiffened and crossed my fingers (an act which guaranteed success in everything when you were a child) that this was to be the beginning of the triumphant conclusion to my grand plan.

Fifteen minutes later, there still hadn’t been the bellow of anger I expected as Mum relayed the details of the now unknown atrocity, so heinously committed by their eldest daughter. I tensed as he headed upstairs to get changed, but there wasn’t even a glance around the room to see where I was. I was baffled, and grew more nervous. Had she told him, and he’d decided to store his rage until our paths crossed instead of using his anger rations at the distinct lack of his daughter's presence? Half an hour later, and there had still been no reaction. I had been crammed into the cubby hole for hours by this stage so the discomfort, as well as the temptation presented by the smells of dinner wafting up the stairs got the better of me. There was also a certain sense that it would be better all round if I just got it over with.

I carefully un-squeezed myself from my hiding place and tentatively headed downstairs. 

I poked my head round the kitchen door to face my fate, fearing the absolute worst. There was absolutely nothing – well, there could have been a cheery ‘hello, where have you been?’ but there were no quiet and calm comments and there was definitely no shouting. The entire incident, the one that led me to hiding in an impossible gap for hours, had been forgotten. I was elated that I had dodged a bullet, but also a little disappointed that I had put all that effort into wasting an afternoon playing hide-n-seek on my own, when I could have been up to whatever stuff it was that made being a kid such fun.

I would like to think I transformed into the perfectly behaved child after this incident but I suspect this was not the case. I do know that thanks to the different techniques employed by my parents, I have grown up as a balanced individual. By which I mean that I fall back on both types of anger-slash-disappointment management – certain incidents are met with an explosive and impressive volley of loudly uttered swear words, yet others I handle with a grim sense of acceptance that manifests itself in frequent calm, yet passionate statements of general annoyance. Generally, the former is the result of someone else’s actions, the latter is in response to situations I have created entirely by myself and could have been oh so easily avoided. And Heaven forbid if I put myself in a stupid situation that someone else makes worse. 

And on to the fate of Bridezilla. As the posts have become longer, I've realised that I really enjoy the freedom of writing this way and that I've had less pleasure from coming up with ideas for the comic lately - probably because of the restrictions of the current template. So, I am considering a change of format. The idea is to create a new page on this blog for the comics to be posted on - and this main page right here is going to continue the more recently adopted stories about me and my frequently silly life. And the wedding of course. I’ll still be updating here every Monday and Thursday, and the Bridezilla page will be updated whenever the inspiration grabs me. I'm not forgetting Bridezilla by any stretch of the imagination, just shifting the focus of the main page. And that note, I have some redesigning to do. Watch this page for the changes!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Bridezilla doesn't do anything - because I gave myself food poisoning

As a present for my parents' birthdays, me and my sister decided to treat them to a rather special meal at a two star Michelin restaurant, no less. Having never experienced such fine dining, I was positively giddy at the prospect of our night out and could only just control my excitement.

The restuarant we had booked was near to my sister's - a 2 and 1/2 hour drive away. I didn't feel great when my parents came to pick me up, but wasn't sure I was ill - I had been out the night before, and while I was pretty sure I hadn't drunk enough to leave me feeling so shaky, it was an easy suspect to point the finger at. After half an hour of slow decline from shakiness to distinct queasiness, I decided to blame it on travel sickness.

With ten miles to go, I had terrible heartburn, so admitted to my parents that I was feeling a little rough and would appreciate a bit of fresh air. Dad pulled over into the next lay-by and as soon as I stepped foot out of the car I was horrendously sick. I’m not sure if me, or my parents, were more surprised.

Even at this stage, I was convinced that a lie down when we arrived would see me right for the meal we had planned and with that positive thought in mind, we made it to my sister’s flat with no further incident. Sadly, rather than a quick power nap seeing me right, for the next eight hours I found myself hovering between a vague state of sleep and dashing to the toilet, unsure for the most part whether I should be sitting on the damn thing or kneeling in front of it. It was an entirely horrible experience and one that I do not want to repeat again. Especially if it means that me, and my family, have to give up a chance to dine at a very posh gaff.

Anyway, thanks to the lack of food consumed in the last 72 hours I have been transformed into a weakened wreck – it took all my energy to turn on the laptop and scribble the drawings for this post. I had nothing left for Bridezilla so she has had a stress free day today. But she promises to return on Thursday, when I am hoping to be back in tip top form.

Oh, and for anyone who is wondering – if you’re eating butter and it tastes a little like blue cheese, I’d highly recommend you stop eating it.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bridezilla Goes to a Theme Park - and I go Argentinean

During our seven years together, Fiance and I have quaffed an awful lot of wine - and because he is good at paying attention, Fiance has used that time to accumulate an impressive amount of knowledge about different grape varieties and the foods they are best suited to. I am grateful for that, mainly because my ability to differentiate between types of vino is strictly limited to ‘ooh, that is red/white/rose’ and my choices often revolve around how much I like the name of any given brand rather than its suitability for a meal.

Also, this:

Because the knowledge would not do me any harm, and because I knew Fiance would enjoy it, I booked us in for an Argentinean wine and food event at a local restaurant. Last night finally heralded the arrival of the eagerly anticipated evening and things got off to a great start as we were greeted at the door with a glass of white, and invited to take a seat at the bar so we could enjoy the beverage whilst awaiting the arrival of the other guests.

Forty-five minutes and two glasses of wine later, we were seated at our table but still waiting for the last of the revellers to arrive. A further fifteen minutes passed with no action, and so I decided it would be safe to make a quick dash to the ladies.

It was not safe. I had just locked the door when I realised the worst case scenario was kicking into gear as I heard the chink of a wine glass that signalled the start of the wine spiel. This was awkward. I had shoes on that became as loud as gunshots when combined with the wooden flooring adorning the establishment, and there was a tight path of other diners to weave through in order to get back to our table. With a confidence that can only be mustered after two glasses of wine on an empty stomach, I envisaged myself making it back to our table, both subtly and elegantly, winning admiring glances from the elderly patrons whose eyes would glaze over as they cast a fond memory back to their lives as late-twenty-somethings.

That did not happen. Thanks to the combination of two glasses of wine and an empty stomach, my return to the table was neither subtle or graceful. Sounding like a rhythmical round of gunfire, I tottered back into the dining room, bumped into an empty table and knocked the menus onto the floor.

People were watching, but not in an envious, I-wish-I-was-still-that-age kind of way. I walked on as if nothing had happened and gratefully made it back to the haven of our table with a lot more noise – some of it undoubtedly the result of the combined tutting of the elderly guests at the other tables – but without the dreaded I’ve-just-walked-straight-into-a-pensioner incident.  

Some knowledge later – the only piece of which I can remember today is that cuttings from European grape vines were first introduced to Argentina in the mid-1500s – and we were poured another two glasses of different wines and asked to enjoy them with the first course that was due to arrive, and to observe how the food changed the flavour of the tipple. During the 5 minute wait between the wine arriving and the food being delivered, I’d drunk half of each of the two glasses of wine and proclaimed that one of them – a chardonnay – ‘tasted like church’.

Despite it being an inherently silly comment, this was probably the highlight of my wine-based-intelligent-chatter throughout the evening. By the end of the first course, we were 4 glasses of wine down, and only half way through the event. The main meal was preceded by another two glasses of wine. We suddenly realised why everyone else there was so old – they were all happily retired, safe in the knowledge that they didn’t have to get up early the next morning if they didn’t want to.

By the time it got to the third and final course – a triumphant vanilla and caramel cheesecake (I think) – we were both incapable of finishing the glass of mega-sweet desert wine intended to pleasure our taste buds. Our reluctance to induldge may have been due, in part, to the vast amount of wine consumed by this stage, but also accountable is the fact that the last glass was introduced as a wine made from grapes that had been left to go mouldy on the vine. I could think of a dozen better ways of endearing an audience to a particular product, and none them involve using the word ‘mould’. 

Despite - or may be because of - the very drunken end to the evening, we had a wonderful night. However, I can't help but feel like I didn't walk away with an enhanced knowledge of wine - unless, of course, you count my new belief that Argentinean chardonnay tastes like church, and that mouldy wine is not the perfect end to a heavily marinated meal. I suspect this was not the proprietor's intended outcome for the evening.

On that non-bombshell, let's get on to today's Bridezilla, who's having her usual bad experiences when she goes to a theme park for a day out...

Monday, 4 October 2010

Bridezilla Goes to a Game - and I get terrorised by an arachnid

We have apparently reached that time of year when the evil spider clans send their strongest members to march forwards on the dwellings of humans, armed with eight scary legs and the chief mission of finding a bolt hole from which they can commence Operation Horror on the residents of the freshly invaded houses.

Fiance and I are currently suffering such an attack, with the latest spider-gang member announcing his presence last week. The assailant elected to place himself strategically at the top of the tallest wall in the house - the one that flanks the stairs - before proceeding to sit there proudly for hours, not moving, just carefully observing whilst calmly conveying his intent.

We weren't prepared to hand over the ownership of our wall, so we needed to take action against the unwanted squatter. I set to work, assessing our options and the potential strategies we could wage in our war against the arachnid.

Plan A was the usual newspaper-based spider splat - however, thanks to his ingenius positioning in a very high, pretty much unreachable spot on the wall, there was no way I could reach the offending creature without the momentum of the swipe sending me over the railings and down the very steep stairs, where I would await the inevitable moment where the spider claimed his victory by bungee jumping onto my (probably broken) back.

Plan A was therefore swiftly ruled out. Plan B needed to eliminate the personal injury potential, and so I considered throwing something at the eight-legged monster. It would need to be a fairly solid projectile - something that had enough weight to ensure an instant squishing on contact.

I quickly deduced this was not a fool proof plan.

You see, I'm not a very good shot, and there's a good chance I'd take a chunk of plaster off the wall at a significant distance away from my intended target. Even if I had gotten close, the spider would have likely seen the giant shoe hurtling towards it and scuttled away, thus denying me my goal. So Plan B was also out, given the high probability that it would have left us with a startled, but still very much alive enemy, as well as a mark on the wall that I would forever glimpse out of the corner of my eye and jump at, convinced the dark shape signified a spider's presence.

Plan C involved a cat. This was possibly my most flawed plan yet. They are indeed masters at spider disposal, but I don't actually own a feline arachnid removal device, which presented the first significant problem. I could have borrowed a cat, but even then, I'm not entirely convinced it would have been able to scale a vertical wall to get to its target, so there was a high chance we would have still been facing a spider nonchalantly sitting in a location that is impossible to reach.

And I'm pretty sure that combining plans B and C would mean that no neighbour would let me borrow their cat again.

After consulting Fiance, we eventually opted for Plan D - which mainly revolved around us pretending the problem did not exist for the rest of the evening, and hoping the giant eight-legged spider scout would relocate itself somewhere more convenient for its demise. We slept with the bedroom door closed that night, and woke the next morning full of nervous anticipation.

Our plan failed. The evil spider disappeared and 5 days later, has successfully maintained whatever cover it has found itself. This does not mean I am satisfied. I leap out of my skin when I spot anything moving out of the corner of my eye. Even if that something is Fiance.

The problem now is the unknown, and that is far worse than our previous situation. At least for that one evening, I knew where it was. By now, the huge spider could be anywhere - hiding in a pocket maybe, just waiting to give me a nasty surprise as I dip my hand in to find an old packet of gum.

Or hiding in a bedroom based cubby hole (it was impractical to keep the door closed forever), waiting to explore and find a new home while we sleep.

Or maybe - and this is probably my greatest fear - it is just sitting and waiting for the perfect moment. The perfect moment to prove my point about why spiders are so damn scary in the first place, and why I never wish to have one living in our house.

I am half prepared for all of these things to happen to me at some point over the next few days. I am turning into a paranoid, nervous wreck who refuses to believe the wall-dwelling spider has simply slipped away quietly. If it has left the house, I am sure it will only be a temporary relief as it rallies the troops and builds a spider army who will camp out in the unreachable spot of our house.

In summary: I do not like spiders, and there is still a huge one running amok in our house.

At which point, I believe it is high time to conclude the lengthy spider-based ramblings, and move on to today's Bridezilla installment, where she has the pleasure of going to a sporting event. Obviously, it was a far from perfect day out, but at least she isn't terrorised by an unseen-but-still-out-there arachnid.