Posts Tagged ‘Kendal’

Well, I’ve finally managed to get online. It’s taken a while but, hey, I’m six months old and I’ve only just worked out that a) I have hands and b) that they can do stuff. And I’ve been busy: keeping Mum and Dad up all night isn’t just a question of the odd cry between the hours of late and later. Oh no, it takes real dedication to keep two fully grown, reasonably intelligent adults awake. You have to be up early to catch me out. Or, rather, up all night.

I seem to have inherited my mother’s ability to digress. Right. The reason I’m writing is because I need to report a Very Strange Weekend. One where I was not – repeat not – centre of attention. I know, I know – it just doesn’t make sense. Anyway, there I am in yet another new place (quite nice as it turns out – old house, big kitchen, exposed beams and all that) and it’s the usual set-up: lots of people wanting to play with me. And then, all of a sudden, Mum and Dad make some sort of announcement, that I can only presume has nothing to do with me, and all hell breaks loose. I’m put to bed and I can hear them laughing and having a lovely time without me. If I hadn’t been so tired I would have kicked off big time.

Next day, things get worse. Mum trusses me up in a three-piece suit – I’m a baby, for nappy’s sake, not a bouncer – and then hands me over to one stranger after the next as she puts on some fancy outfit with flowers. I then have to share the back seat of the car with Aunty Cathy (I mean, she’s OK and everything but if she’s taking up the back seat where am I supposed to store my toys?). So off we go – but do we end up at Head Over Heels? Do we heck. We end up in some draughty old gaff where I’m parcelled off while Mum and Dad stand at the front of the room and start spouting all sorts of soppy nonsense (something about love, promises and becoming husband and wife). Of course, I express my annoyance – and then Sarah takes me outside! Without Mum and Dad! And, more importantly, without any toys! Is every adult an amateur, or is it just this lot? Sheesh. So by the time Sarah realises she’s made a Big Mistake and we go back in, Mum and Dad are all smiles, Eliza and Cathy are wiping away tears and everyone’s making like David Bailey with the cameras.

Things picked up when we went back to the house. There were lots of bubbles (I joined in by blowing spit bubbles), a cake was cut, speeches made, presents unwrapped and games played. Mum gave me lots of kisses and Dad carried me round on his shoulders. One can only assume this was their way if making it up to me. Whatever. I made sure they knew who was the boss at bedtime: I turned the dial to LOUD, set the alarm for EVERY HOUR and filled my nappy as much as infantly possible. Ah, happy days. And nights.

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It’s Friday night in Sedbergh. The Howgill Fells rise majestically behind the town and the sun is setting over a valley patchworked by fields, fells, baa-ing sheep and sturdy stone cottages. Inside Fell House, an assortment of friends and family gather round the kitchen table. Everyone’s here for a weekend to celebrate Simon’s 40th birthday. They know we’ve arranged some sort of surprise for early next morning, but don’t know what it is. Eliza is thinking along the lines of a hot air balloon ride (‘will we need any special equipment for it?’); David is leaning towards quad biking. Pete, suffering horribly with a cough and a cold, just wants to go to bed.

Downstairs, in the kitchen of the little flat beneath the main house, nestle buckets of flowers, an enormous fruit cake and lots and lots of champagne. If I listen closely, I can hear the fridge down there emitting a painful hum as it struggles to chill bottle upon bottle of booze.

‘OK, OK,’ I say, getting everyone’s attention. ‘So, this surprise tomorrow…’

I trail off. All of a sudden I’m feeling very, very nervous. I look at Simon. Simon looks at me. He takes a deep breath and says, ‘Everyone needs to be ready to leave the house at ten tomorrow because… we’re getting married at eleven and we’d like you all to come.’

There is silence. I picture minds reeling, jaws dropping and Catharine making a mental ‘Oh. My. God.’ As the gathered group processes this rather unexpected piece of news, Simon squeezes my hand. The silence is punctured then by excited questions, congratulations, corks popping, bubbles being blown and the rustle of paper as I hand out bags with instructions, maps and orders of service. Vic takes the boys off to the Dalesman, and Eliza starts making plans to separate bride and groom before their big day.

‘But you haven’t had a hen do!’

‘And you can’t travel in the same car to the register office – you’ll have to come with us.’

‘I can’t believe you’ve denied me the excuse to spend thousands of pounds on a new outfit.’

‘If we got up at eight, I reckon we could get to the TX Maxx in Lancaster by nine and be back in time for the wedding.’

‘Or Preston. There’s definitely a TK Maxx there.’

‘So we’re not quad biking then?’

‘No, we’re not quad biking.’

‘But I quite fancied quad biking.’

‘Oh give over….’

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