Saturday, 3 September 2011

Canary Row

Telling people about a wedding you've been to is like your Football Manager game or your holiday. Very interesting for you, but thoroughly dull and pointless for the person forced to listen to the whole sorry saga, desperately trying to finish their champagne so they can go off and get another glass and find someone far more interesting in the room. I understand that, and I sympathise, but a) It's my blog and b) I have pictures - albeit only about two - so that makes this blog post perfectly acceptable.

The drive from The Shire across the country to East Anglia took just over three hours. Our destination was Carrow Road, which you might know as a road in Norwich, but which you'll more likely know as the name of the football stadium located there. A rather plush Holiday Inn is located next door to the stadium, but alas my room faced the road and not the pitch. Here is a picture I took of the Carrow Road sign using the camera on my phone: You can't read that sign, can you? You'll just have to trust me on that one.

The wedding was on Sunday, and it was Saturday, so after checking in - where we stood behind the one and only Jimmy Tarbuck at reception - and unpacking we trundled over to a bar inside the football stadium entitled "Yellows" to meet up with the wedding party. We were greeted by my step-sister who was getting married for the second time - this time to an ardent Norwich City fan, hence the location. After a few hours of socialising, we all decided to go our separate ways for the evening (even though we were all in the same hotel), have dinner in different places and then an early night. On the way back to the rooms, we were once again reminded of what was going to happen the next day, and where:

Sunday arrived, and with it came a truckload of nerves, which were nice considering I wasn't actually doing anything in particular that day. As all around me tucked into their fried breakfasts, I cautiously had a few croissants with jam and a cup of tea. Strawberry, by the way, thanks for asking. The suits were put on and off we walked to the football ground, where, after the initial photos, we were ushered up three flights of stairs and into the room where the ceremony was taking place. Sitting on the second row, next to my big bro (that rhymes Marge!) we patiently waited. Ten to fifteen minutes later, a version of "Run" by Snow Patrol - sans lyrics - began to play, and we stood for the bride. I'm not going to lie - when my sister walked down the aisle with my dad beside her, I began to feel the tear ducts wobble a little, but one look at the picture of Darren Huckerby on the wall stopped that (I'm not joking either. He's a bit of a cult hero there, for some reason).

You know what a wedding ceremony is like, so let's skip that bit. A glass of Pimms, some canapes, more photos, a walk around the main stand and then back in for the meal. You may know that the Blessed Saint Delia Smith - best know in this country for her rousing and intoxicated "Let's be 'aving you" speech - is head honcho at Norwich City and the restaurant in the main stand comes with her seal of approval. To be fair to her, the meal was amazing:

I could have done without the sorbet, which was rather unnecessary and just a palette cleanser, but I wasn't complaining. After the main course there were speeches which were touching and well handled, particularly the one from the best man who, as well as speaking, had taken the trouble to create a slideshow of pictures which were shown on the two TV screens on the wall. Pictures of the bride and groom, obviously. Not just any old pictures - that would have been odd. After the meal there was a tour of the ground hosted by a former player, but my younger brother was tired so I took him back to our room for a sleep via the bar where the United-Arsenal game was blaring out.

In the evening there was a disco, which took place in the same room as the main meal. After the gloriousness of the food a few hours earlier, the buffet that was laid on was a huge disappointment. Everything was either stale or thoroughly dull, and it was fortunate that we were all full up from the lunchtime meal and didn't have to eat a great deal. The disco was your standard fare - shit pop "classics", an over-enthusiastic DJ and middle-aged people doing the "walking to the dance floor walk" - but a really nice touch was a photo-booth set up at the end of the room which allowed you to put on some fancy dress/a stupid hat and have some pics taken. On that note, the author would like to point out he has no knowledge of who these two idiots are: About 11pm we left, armed with a small box of chocolate footballs and a cupcake ( each and that was pretty much that.

Highlight of the weekend? I'm ashamed to say it came on the Bank Holiday Monday. Before driving back home, we decided to have a walk round Norwich, which was perfectly lovely and splendid and just happens to contain a splendid Disney store. As a kid I was obsessed with Winnie the Pooh, particularly as I only lived about 20 miles away from Ashdown Forest, the setting for the stories. So when I saw this, I just couldn't resist: Drink not included.

The weekend as a whole got me thinking about marriage. I have always wanted to get married, but I honestly don't think I could go through with all of the rigmarole (at this late stage of the blog entry, what a word to pull out!) that goes with a lavish wedding. All of that planning and preparation...maybe it's fun, and exciting, and the day is certainly unforgettable, but I'm starting to think that maybe my Uncle was right. He and his lady flew off to New York, got married, had the honeymoon there, then came home. "Booked it, packed it, fucked off!" as Peter Kay would say, and neither of them have regretted it for a second.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy two tickets to Boston. I believe the Yanks allow civil partnerships now, so the second ticket is for my friend Dan. Toodles for now!