Best Foot Forward

best footWedding shoes arrived today. And boy oh boy, how excited was I? I was as excited and as jumpy-uppy-downy as I was the first time I made butter in 2012. And, as with my juvenile, uncontrollable, buttery excitement, I just had to share it with someone. The someone closest in proximity was Mr TGTBT and as shoes is not dress I made an executive decision to share my shoe joy with the Groom to Be.

Shoe joy reminds me of a little story in Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome: when asked by a little girl (described as two-feet-ten of conceit and vanity) what he thinks of her new shoes, he gushes over them with what he refers to as ‘degrading effusiveness’, having learnt that plain speaking in such situations is ill-advised.

So. How does five-feet-ten-and-a-bit of conceit and vanity grab you? Possibly by the throat if degrading enthusiasm isn’t immediately forthcoming. Mr TGTBT by now may be wishing he had been a trifle more attentive to the bookshelves and chanced upon Idle Thoughts of Idle Fellow somewhat sooner. There was not even a whiff of degrading effusiveness. No excitment. No flattery or unbounded enthusiasm. He merely – but bravely – mustered a smile. ‘Twas a smile that looked more like he’d overdone the mustard, his eyes refusing in one of those pointed blank manners to get with the programme. All ocular integrity, stoically maintaining their horrified honesty.

Six-foot-and-a-bit of effort and ill-disguised WTF gazed at my noo shooz for what must have felt like a lifetime. “Nice.” That is what I think he finally managed to say. If he didn’t I am sure it was something as equally anodyne, if somewhat less memorable. And then his gaze dared to meet mine.

What can I say. I nearly pee’d myself with laughter. Bless his little cottons he was trying so hard to share in my shoe joy he didn’t notice that it didn’t matter that he couldn’t. When joy of any description is that fundamental no amount of rain can ruin the parade. True joy comes from deep within – and no, this wasn’t five-feet-ten-and-a-bit of conceit or vanity but five-feet-etcetera of bride-ditherer who finally found something that was about something more than keeping everyone else happy.

You see the difficulty is, everything I want to write about this pre-wedding journey is stuff I can’t write about. Because it’s all secret squirrel. I can’t tell you about the dress, because Mr TGTBT always reviews the blog to check if his TGTBT stock levels are moving up or down; I can’t tell you about the invitations because some of you won’t get one and if you wanted one that would be like, well, insensitive I guess. And if the truth of it is that no-one actually wants one then I’ll feel like a prize prat; I can’t talk about the bridesmaids, the music, the cake, the flowers, the order of service or the wedding breakfast menu as it will ruin the fun for those of you who, despite yourselves, have agreed to join us for the day. I can’t talk about the pointless squabbles, the familial politics or the ever-so-bloody-hilarious tantrums in public places, because a retrospective on foolishness would more likely serve only to create more.

Even talking about weddingy things to family and friends puts me on tenterhooks in case I forget myself and say/reveal/do something I shouldn’t, thereby managing to break every written and unwritten rule surrounding matrimonial events. And there an awful lot of rules which, when applied to other peoples’ weddings, I would regard as ‘tradition’ or ‘etiquette’ or just plain old-fashioned good manners. Applied to my (our) wedding it feels like someone is always watching and listening, ready to tut-tut at me when I get it wrong. This nerviness of spirit is contrary to my more natural inclination to not give a stuff: because I do give a stuff. A very big bit of stuff as it happens.

This big bit of stuff that I give is, I think, oddly more to do with everyone else and not me. Which seeing as I get to be Queen for a day strikes me as the oddly bit. I am very conscious of the fact that it is my (our) wedding and yet I seem to be spending an extraordinary amount of time worrying about what everyone else would like. What would they like to eat, wear, hear? Who would they like to sit with, speak to or avoid? How will they get from A to B to C and back again?

It is difficult not to think of other people when making big decisions on dresses, cakes, venues and menus and I just continued the habit when looking for shoes. I was factoring in weather, floor types, photographs, gait, comfort and an awful lot of ‘what would MR TGTBT/Mum/Little Blister/Idiot (formerly known as Mr AppleG-hyphen-B)/et al like?’.

Sunday last, Mr TGTBT was at work and it was just me and Pipsqueak at home. Pipsqueak had been advised that as I would be busy getting stressed over inability to make decisions she would be better off doing her homework and leaving me to it. Which she duly did. Until homework was finished. I on the other hand still hadn’t made any decisions.

“What’s the matter?” ventured Pipsqueak, and I looked up to see four-feet-nine-inches of genuine concern, holding out a freshly brewed cup of tea. Pipsqueak is still of an age where life is essentially pretty simple and perspective is generally only skewed when sweets are involved, and so I explained my dilemma. I showed her my footwear selections and asked her to choose. Without hesitation she did. So I ordered them. It was that simple. In that simple moment Pipsqueak quietened the wedding clamour in my mind and reminded me of who I am. She made the perfect choice. She made the choice I would have made if I’d only listened to me.

These new arrivals may just be shoes, but they are my shoes. Well. Mine and Pipsqueak’s. They fill me with indescribable excitement and joy. Proper J.O.Y. Inner joy. Not because I am vain, conceited or a little bit shallow, but because they represent something I never expected – that four-feet-nine-inches is all took to remind me of who I am. The innocent wisdom of youth reached through the pre-nuptial chaos and showed me how to put my best foot forward.

My new shoes may not be to everyone’s liking, but they certainly are to mine. And to Pipsqueak’s.  As for Mr TGTBT, well he is working on it. Which is why I love him. Which is why choosing the perfect shoes to walk down the aisle seemed such a big deal.

Yours, with only weeks to go, AJ x

Piste Off

Piste Off

Writing should be a place to lose myself. It always used to be. When I knew no-one was reading it because it was hidden away in my diaries and notebooks, hidden in cupboards and under the bed. OK. Not so well hidden perhaps but certainly not classified as public. And now it’s gone and gotten itself all wrapped up with that worrying about what other people think. Or might think; or might read into; or between the lines. There is a little saying oft seen printed on those popular vintage hanging boards for the home, ‘ dance like no-one is watching’. It’s about time I commandeered the sentiment and begin to write like no-one is reading.

Now is a good a time to start as any because tonight I wanted an off piste literary adventure, to just write and see where it took me. Then I reached this junction. The nasty little junction of self-doubt: should I be doing this? Shouldn’t I be blogging? Shouldn’t I be working? Why are you wasting time when you could get back on the internet and search the world wide web one more time to find that elusive item required for bridesmaids?

Somewhat distracted, I can tell you now, it’s not called the web because it’s all connected. Oh no. It’s called the web because it is all nasty, icky-sticky circles that you get tangled up in that lead to absolutely (ahem … well no-one is reading) fucking nowhere. Just the same crappy suggestions time and time again. What I seek is not an unusual colour, an unusual shape or an unusual material yet the world wide wonderfucking web says it doesn’t exist – unless I get an overseas sweatshop to knock one up for £2.48.

It is not enough for the world wide wonderfucking to claim my object of desire doesn’t exist, dear me no. It is the claim that keeps on giving. Every time I open my Gmail or pop by Facebook some stupid clever algorithm inspired ad campaign starts suggesting the same crap to me that I have already dismissed. If the algorithm was that bloody clever it would know that I’m not interested because I didn’t buy the crap the first time I saw it. Or that I did buy the crap so now don’t need the ads. What I need is adverts for things I haven’t found because – according to the world wide wonderfucking web – they don’t exist. So stick that in your algorithmic pipe and smoke it.

Well. At least I got off piste. Kind of.

Yours, AJ x

Do I or Don’t I?

two wooden barrelsThis Project: Name Changing blog isn’t proving as popular ( with readers or the writer) as Project: Life Changing did. Mr TGTBT and I were discussing the reasons for it  and concluded it is because A) It doesn’t have enough edge-of-your-seat-drama because B) Everyone already knows the ending. Unlike Project: Life Changing which was written when I had no idea of how things would turn out, this blog is more of a running commentary of activities most people already have T-shirts for.

People like drama but unfortunately there is little drama to be had in your average, run of the mill wedding. This is not Eastenders, so I doubt very much that I will fail to turn up at the church having at the last minute decided that after years of  turning him down I have finally agreed to marry Colin Firth (and Bridget Jones can bugger well off because I saw him first) (Colin, if you’re reading, I’m so sorry but after 32 years enough is enough.).  It is equally unlikely that Mr TGTBT will fail to turn up because he has eloped with the Best Man, wanting nothing more than to spend loved -up weekends snuggled up on the sofa sharing gherkins and pretzels watching Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, the box set.

I only have myself to blame. I started off with the wrong blog. Because at the heart of the reason for beginning this blog is not the wedding, but the name changing. Do I or don’t I? It seems quite normal in an off-hand way to change your name when you’ve only owned it for 20 or so years. And it seems equally as easy to not change your name when your political views make you think of doing so as letting down the sisterhood and giving in to patriarchy.

But I am getting married for the first time at a time in life when my peers are either getting divorced or have no more time for philosophical pondering because their diary is rammed with school pick-ups, ballet classes, dental appointments, birthday parties and the occasional date night to remind themselves of how it all began. I am getting married when I have owned my name for well over forty years and although my diary management has been tested to some degree with Pipsqueak, it will never be rammed because I still can’t drive  and the dogs aren’t very good at ballet. I am getting married at a time in life when the concept of  sisterhood is little more than a distant memory of alcohol infused rages against the opposition that I am now, so to speak, in bed with.

So do I or don’t I? Pipsqueak has, of late, taken to referring to me as AJ-soon-to-be-Mrs TGTBT. (Actually she uses my real name and combines it with Mr TGTBT’s real name, but you get the idea.). So perhaps I should take a leaf out of her book and, post point of no return, thereafter refer to myself as Mrs TGTBT formerly known as AJ. Or perhaps, formally known as AJ? I also –  in retrospect, unwisely – mooted the double-barrel option and Mr TGTBT came over like a Susan (as in sulky, with a capital ‘s’). His reasoning is too sweet and too soppy to be of any benefit to this particular blog, suffice to say that the preliminary flouncing was all the more endearing for it. Besides. If you double barrel our names one way it sounds like a location and if you double barrel it the other way the syllables don’t flow. And I am so not going to be an even more precise location than I currently am.

On discussing this very issue with Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B, who is unofficially double barrelled up to the eyeballs, I discovered she reserves the right to choose her name as it suits. If being married to Mr AppleG-hyphen-B (official owner of the B) sometimes seems more penitential than it has a right to be, then Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B drops the ‘ -hyphen-B’ like a distasteful potato. It is then re-instated after a suitable period of time has elapsed in which Mr AppleG-hyphen-B can reflect on his sins. (Mr AppleG-hyphen-B doesn’t know this. He has led himself to believe that he is the bestower of the B and it seems kinder to let him enjoy his fantasy: to undeceive him would be akin to denying the existence of the tooth fairy to a gappy seven year old.).

So I close this blog with thanks to Mr & Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B. For be it fantasy or reservation of right, I now have a nomenclative naughty step on which to sit as I continue to ponder on Mr TGTBT’s sweet and soppy reasoning. And what it means to say “I do.”.

Yours, with less than three months to go, AJ x

A Waste of Space

Yes. I am tapping away at the keyboard and my vowels and consonants are forming recognisable patterns, so on a literal level I must be writing. And as you are now reading said writing I guess on a technical level I must be blogging. Only today I know neither what I am blogging about or where it is heading. Suffice to say I am have to create another blog because I received hand delivered military orders from Big Cuz today, who even arrived in uniform to press the point home.

It has to be said Big Cuz’ orders were somewhat surreptitious; so much so that potentially even he didn’t know he was delivering them. But he did. I mentioned I had chosen my wedding dress today. He said maybe I should blog about choosing a wedding dress …. and then casually recollected that I already had. To more naïve listeners that statement was quite clear but to my well-trained paranoia his full stop was quite clearly bloated with microscopic shoutiness that continued with “OVER TEN DAYS AGO”.

I know it was over ten days ago because it was more than 3 days ago I received a slightly less shouty email from WordPress saying how brilliant I was to have got this far and how brilliant it would be if I could keep it up. Brilliant.

Last time Big Cuz got all microscopically shouty with me over my lack of diligence with my blog and my wuthering complaining that I had nothing to write about, I ended up writing about sex. In capital letters. Which – now I am a fiancee (with two ‘e’s because I am female) – seems a wholly inappropriate subject to discuss publicly. So. Not wanting to be entirely uncontroversial I have decided to drop the ‘s’ and talk about my ‘Ex’.

Yes. My Ex. Him Formerly. And when you have regained your composure after choking on your tea/coffee/diet coke or Swizzlers Drumstick (Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B), I will explain. At least I will try. Because I am working through this as I write and who knows where it will lead.

For those who are new to my Project Blogs and are now looking around to check they aren’t the only one not choking on anything, I will summarise. Him Formerly = (        ). Between the parenthesis is, in fact, a waste of space. I could have typed something really wonderful in that space, but I didn’t. Nor did he. So when he has the audacity to turn up in my dreams – as he has done so of late – I am somewhat irritated at him taking up valuable space that could be better utilised by Colin Firth. Or Jonathon Rhys-Meyers. Or Mr TGTBT.

To add insult to injury, my lucid dreaming skills always seem to disappear when Him Formerly makes an entrance and I can’t make him turn into a pony and jog-the-fuck-on because I am too busy panicking that Mr TGTBT will arrive and think the worst of me.

Dreams such as this are annoying. They have a tendency to play on my mind as if ominously significant of something ominous. I get all Freudian or Jungian or pop-psychology on myself and start checking online dream dictionaries to try and interpret this unwanted vision. I get frustrated at myself for not understanding why Him Formerly is appearing, unwanted and unannounced in my dreamscape.

.And only now, only through spelling it out quite literally has it dawned on me that once again I am looking through the glass darkly. I am regarding my dreams as representations of reality and imbuing them with a rather grandiose sense of importance. More importantly, I think that everyone else can see them and will therefore know all my deepest, darkest secrets. Which of course they can’t and won’t … unless I blog about them.

See. That’s the trouble with blogging.

Yours, in pre-wedded dreaminess, AJ x








A Simnel Solution

Keeping CalmI am as Little Blister put it, having a Wedding Sabbatical. In plain English, taking time off. Because quite frankly I can’t be doing with all the bloody choosing. There is just too much choosing to do, choose a man, choose a date, choose a ring, choose a venue, choose your flowers, choose a cake, choose your guests (well, those you can choose, some aren’t optional). It’s all bloody choosing and quite frankly I am all choosed out.

It’s nice to have a choice but it’s nicer to have a choice when choosing makes sense. Like salad or cake. If you have salad, it’s a healthy choice; if you have cake it’s a not so healthy choice. It doesn’t really matter which one you opt for, at least you know what you have chosen. Anyway, you’ll probably get the chance to make your choice again so there isn’t really any pressure. And your previous experience in knowing that cake is the only sensible option will stand you in good stead.

I’m not standing in good stead at present. I have no previous experience and I don’t quite know what I am trying to choose between or why. I am of course, talking dresses. Wedding dresses. The Dress. The Dress I didn’t even think I wanted FFS. The Dress I didn’t think I wanted because I wanted something else and then discovered something else would mean taking out a mortgage to cover the cost. Even the dresses I didn’t think I wanted are not so favourably marked up that you can get like a Saturday morning in Miss Selfridge and say, “Oh to hell with it, I’ll take both of them.” And those damned dresses I didn’t think I wanted suddenly become quite desirable. And I so hate it when Little Blister is right.

She said, “You have to try them on.” in response to my bemoaning the fact I now had to go clothes shopping. I hate clothes shopping. I hate clothes shopping now that I no longer have my figure of 20 years ago and am insanely jealous of the fact that today it is possible to buy an entire wardrobe for £50 when I had to work for two weeks to pay for my Doc Martins. I hate lights in shops. I hate shopping malls. I hate crowds. I hate getting all flustered dressing and undressing in changing rooms that have walls that bang your elbows, hooks that catch your hair and funny mirrors. I have dressing room experience only because I hate them fractionally less than having to go back to the store for a refund or exchange. Refunds and exchanges that take place at the Customer Service counter, tucked in the place farthest from the exit and run by ex-Doctor’s Surgery Receptionists.

Will all this on my mind I nearly popped a cork when Little Blister told me I’d have to make an appointment. An a-what-ment? A frickin’ appointment. Those bloody ex-Doctor’s Surgery Receptionists get everywhere. How on earth do I make an appointment? How do I know at what point in the future I might want to try on a dress? FFS. Why does it have to be so difficult. And that was the easy bit because Little Blister booked the appointments.

Little Blister loves booking appointments and so with gusto and good cheer she booked away. She booked multiple appointments;  in multiple locations around the UK. Except Nottingham, which is where the dress I really wanted was. (Typical.) Anyway, all that was left for my dear self to do was get on the train and  head South. From that point on various carriages would await to deliver me hither and thither. Our first point of hither was, Little Blister assured me, a very nice place with very nice assistants. All of whom had been thoroughly briefed of my general hostility towards clothes shopping. I must say, the briefing clearly worked. My assistant barely batted a falsie when after only twenty seconds of being inserted into Dress Number One, I demanded to be let out. Immediately.

And I kid you not. Wedding dresses are not a solo operation. You need help getting in and you most definitely need help getting out. Unless of course you are Kate Moss and can get away with a floaty white nightie affair. Which I’m not and therefore can’t. So Team Wedding Dress fluttered into action and extracted me with a deftness that momentarily felt nothing short of miraculous. I could breathe again. If I had wanted to. But I didn’t. No. I just gasped a bit, goldfish like. I gasped a bit more and then burst into tears. I think I swore lots too but nobody mentioned it. Little Blister just laughed and asked if I had ever seen Sex in the City.

So. having dutifully entertained the troops I could now get on with the business of choosing a dress. By Dress Number Two it was quite clear I was indeed right all along and having had forty something years of choosing my own clothes I did indeed know which neckline suited me, which cut suited me and what fabric I was prepared to put up with. Standing on the footstool I had Team Wedding Dress scurrying around, fetching me this and that as I primped, pulled and redesigned Dress Number Three. Perfect. Only £700 pounds over budget.

Little Blister then thithered me to the next appointment. I was clearly getting to grips with things and now knew exactly what I wanted. At least I did until my rather insistent assistant almost forcibly injected me into a frock of her choosing that I knew I was going….to…..oh. OH. WOW. *Big Smiley Grinning Capital D*. Now Little Blister was crying. I didn’t see that coming. Dress Number Seven it is. Only Team Wedding Dress refer to it as The Other Dress.

Because there are in fact two dresses I have fallen for. And I just can’t choose between them. I have revisited both on numerous occasions, with various memebrs of Team Wedding Dress – Little Blister, Munchie, H,  TGTBT’s Mum and Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B have all viewed one or both. Did it help?

Of course it didn’t. Little Blister kept getting all teary-eyed and pretending to misunderstand what I meant when I said I knew what I wanted and then elected for something completely different:  Munchie was bored and fretful, woried that someone might pour her into something frilly and/or pink: H got the appointment time wrong and missed the best bits and TGTBT’s Mum sat on the stairs making everyone laugh with her sometimes inappropriate East End wit. Normally I wouldn’t mind such inappropriateness, only she made me laugh when there was no room to laugh as my ribs were strapped down to my spine. As for Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B. Well. She needs to get photography lessons.

To be fair, Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B  did risk being barred for life from Wedding Dress Shops by taking sneaky photos on her ‘phone. To be fair, this was a completely altruistic gesture, her idea being that I could review my favoured frocks and decide at leisure. What wasn’t fair is that Mrs AppleG-hyphen-B took photos of the wrong girl. She had loads of pictures of some knackered looking blonde, standing bewildered amidst a pile of wedding dress. None of me.

It seems that despite Team Wedding Dress’ best efforts, when all is said and done it’s just up to me to choose. This Dress or The Other Dress? Everyone – and I mean everyone because everyone in the whole wide world has been married before me and even if they haven’t they act like they have; even if they are a bloke who isn’t even supposed to have opinions on wedding stuff – everyone has a solution. The solution being “Just go with the one that feels right to you”. Brill. E. Ant. Why didn’t I think of that?

So you know what I am going to do? I am going to wait for a certain someone to come home and I will go with her. She is the one person – and always has been – who makes me feel right, even when I might just be wrong. And she is the one person guaranteed to make that knackered, bewildered blonde girl feel that whatever choice she makes is the right one. She is , of course, My Mum.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Yours, on Sabbatical,  AJ x







High Maintenance

Wow.  So finally someone wants me for keeps. Proper, legitimate, let’s-go-the-whole-hog-because-I-really-mean-it style keeps. The kind of keeps that makes you feel ever so sort of special. Keeps that make you feel all warm and hugged. Forever hugged. Three little words can make you feel pretty spesh, but two on a post-it note can take your breath away.

“Marry me?”. That’s all it took? Having answered the first question positively some weeks ago I now found myself asking the second question in my head. Because I now feel different. Sort of relaxed. Sort of. Obviously a relaxed state is relative … no amount of deep breathing,  rescue remedy or chocolate can get create calm in a wedding dress shop. I mean relaxed in myself, in the deep down bits .

Actually, to be perfectly honest, those nasty little voices occasionally try and get a rise out of me with the ‘what if he doesn’t really mean it’ chain of thought, but to date they are getting short shrift as I am learning to avoid the ‘what if’ conversations in my head;  they inevitably lead to me sitting on roadside with a bin-bag and sharing a can of dog-food with Rockstar, Bob and Doo. In the rain.  On a Monday. Now that Little Blister has a garage conversion that is a highly unlikely outcome. Ergo, ‘what iffing’ is pointless.

So. How do I answer ‘that’s all it took?’. If you are of the sniffy inclination that says stuff like I’ve-got-better-things-to-spend-my-money-on or I-don’t-need-a-bit-of-paper-to-prove-anything, feel free to move along because there’s nothing to see here. Because I don’t agree. In fact, I wholeheartedly disagree. Because you have missed the point.

You have better things to spend your money on? Really? I would posit that if you really can think of something better to spend your money on than a declaration of love and commitment to another human being then …well…then. Ok, maybe I won’t posit anything, but I don’t get it. What else is there to spend money on that’s better than that?

Oh. I see. Perhaps what you are really saying is that weddings are too expensive? Well yes. Obviously they can be. I do believe the average wedding spend these days is somewhere aroud the £15-£20,000 mark. Which clearly is whole heap of gulp inducing spondoolies. A whole heap of gulp inducing spondoolies you don’t need to spend. To keep things legal – and that too is optional as you can always undertake a giving of hands ceremony in the woods – you only ‘need’ a few hundred squid for the licence and you’re sorted.

As for the bit of paper. No-one needs that either. But they may have a want. A want to take part in one of life’s major celebratory rites of passage, replete with its rich symbolism, centuries of tradition and celebration and its very public declaration of commitment. It’s not the bit of paper us betrothed people are after, it’s something much more profound.

The great celebrations in life can of course be cynically dismissed and I do see how and why it happens. People get depressed and jaded by commercialism creeping into every aspect of their life – weddings, births, christenings, birthdays, Mother’s Day (30th March in the UK this year if anyone’s interested/forgotten/not remembered and is now checking how long they have to get the obligatory gift/card to prevent a maternal hissy fit), Christmas, Easter, Hallowe’en.  But take out the commercial incidentals – the obligatory hissy fit preventative measures – and the celebration lives on.

A celebration survives because it symbolises something important to people, it touches them, it moves them, it inspires them. Old celebrations and new, with meanings long lost or newly declared. Celebrations surround the great events of life’s journey from the cradle to the grave. They mark occasions to remember or never to be forgotten. They appear at sunrise and sundown, with the changing of the seasons and the spinning of the earth. They are intimately bound to us with bonds forged throughout the history of humanity.

So in answer to my original question, yes, that is all it took. Thousands and thousands and thousands of years of global natural, cultural, religious and social meaning squeezed into two little words.

And there was me thinking I wasn’t high maintenance.

Yours in pre-wedded thoughtfulness, AJ x

Risky Business

A symbolic Whoop-Whoop

A symbolic Whoop-Whoop

Being all retrospective about this wedding stuff is difficult. Being all funny and witty about this wedding stuff retrospectively is difficult plus. Sitting here feeling blog pressure to get another post up before the week is out, is difficulter still. So I ain’t going to do it. Force the retrospection I mean. That the damned post is being done is evidenced by the fact you have something to pretend to read (to show willing) but aren’t really interested in. I don’t blame you. Geez. Even my interest feels somewhat lacklustre at times. and it’s my wedding. I am forsooth a pitiful Bridezilla … but an astonishingly adept Brideditherer.

It didn’t start out that way. Nope. It most definitely did not. After the request, acceptance and announcement were done and dusted, I got down to the business of showing the world just how easy this wedding lark was and began my to do list:

1. Decide budget. 2. Decide date. 3. Choose venue. 4. Guest list. 5. Make invitations, probably next week. 6. Decide menu. Perfect. I’ll have this sorted in no time I thought to myself, disdainfully pooh-poohing all advice proffered regarding the need to stay calm and not get stressed as utterly pointless. I mean. What is there to get stressed about? All it needs is a little forethought and planning. Then Little Blister asked me if I had chosen my engagement ring yet. She then took my hands away from my ears, ordered me to stop with the la-la-la-not-listenings, and asked me again.

Typical. Just when I was beginning to enjoy myself she had to come along with her swooshy hair and practicalness and RUIN. MY. FUN.  I harrumphantly went back to the list: 1. Choose ring.  1. 2. Decide budget. 2. 3. Deci…. Choose ring? CHOOSE ring?? CHOOSE RING??? How the bloody hell am I supposed to choose a ring? I don’t know anything about rings. I know very little about jewellery of any sort other than the gruesome fact as outlined by Mrs Hodgkinson that it will mutilate you in some way, shape or form if you dare to wear it during PE. To this day I remain in awe of Wimbledon tennis players and Olympic athletes who risk life and limb by competing with jewellery positioned menacingly around their chins, wrists or fingers.

But. Needs must. Only it wasn’t just a need or a must. It was – deep down – a want. I wanted an engagement ring. I was just a teensy bit embarrassed at admitting it. After years of playing it cool in the face of my left-hand nakedness I suddenly felt decidedly uncool at wanting to waggle a newly adorned finger at the world. I was sure there was something unpleasantly triumphalist at wanting to proudly display evidence of the fact that I was engaged ….

And then I finished the sentence. I was engaged … to Mr TGTBT.  If that’s not cause for some self-congratulatory, self indulgent, OTT, celebratory triumph, I don’t know what is. Yes people, bring on that bling because I want the whole wide world to know that I is a winner. With a capital Wuh.

The purchase process of aforementioned bling remains another tale to be told, but suffice to say, I am now waggling with pride at every given opportunity (and it must be said at some taken opportunities too).  This symbolic whoop-whoop-I-won is as Mrs Hodgkinson rightly said – a menace. Namely to pockets, gloves and the side of my face when I sleep on it, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Much like those Wimbledon Champions and Olympic Gold Medallists.

Yours triumphantly, AJ x