April 29th, 2007


Catching up: house move and wedding

OK, I promised to talk about the house move. To be honest now it's 6 weeks ago, and hard to remember most of the details. Rachel, Ian, Richard, Pete and Laura were all great help though, and we got done in much less time than anyone expected due to lots of helpful hands (OK and to forward planning too). I took quite a few photos the day we moved, and of the place as it gradually got into shape over the next day as we unpacked, and couple of weeks as we bought and built more furniture, they're vaguely commented in the gallery below. Suffice to say that we're really really happy with the place, and loving living here. The only downside is a noisy neighbour, but another neighbour actually contacted our landlord about it, so he's looking into it for us. We've been and bought yet more furniture today, carrying a 23.5 kg media unit back from Fitzroy Street, and that's currently gluing together in the living room. We're just waiting on our dining table and chairs to arrive and then the place will be ready for a housewarming of some sort. Can't promise to invite you all, sorry.

van loading

I also promised to talk about the wedding, and that's now a fortnight ago, so I'm hazy on details there too. We went up on Thursday night after work, and had a quiet night in with mum and dad before going shopping on Friday morning for a few last minute odds and ends like earrings! Friday afternoon Steph came over and we had a trial run of getting her into the dress, which was corsetted with big ribbons up the back, and thankfully turned out much easier than mum had feared. Later we were joined by Grandad, Alan and Sharon (over from Northern Ireland), Hilary and Gem (friends from when Steph was at Uni) Em and John, and Dave and his family. It was a bit of a mad evening but we eventually had a lovely meal at the Navigation Tavern down by the canal.

On Saturday we had to get up early to get all of us through the bath and the shower before breakfast of scrambled eggs on toasted bagels, with bucks fizz to drink. Then mum, Em, Steph and I had to dash down the the hairdressers at 9am (when they open) to have our hair styled for the day. With three of us it was just a wash and blow dry (straight for me and Em, with plenty of volume for mum), but Steph was having hers put up in curls, and it was incredible how lovely it looked but didn't half need a lot of hair spray! We didn't have much time to faff though, for the cars were coming at 10:15, so it was back to the house to change and do makeup in a mad rush (including sewing my underwear into my dress to stop it showing - do you know how impossible it is to get a strapless plunge bra in a 40DD?). Still, we waved Steph and my dad off in the Rolls and Em and I followed in the Daimler, and John was left to drive Mike, mum and the buttonholes over to the wedding venue at Oakwell Hall.

Steph and Dad had arrived just before us, and we were escorted round the back with them to the old kitchen to go through the details before the wedding, before it was time for the music to play and for Emily and I to follow them down the aisle. It was a lovely wedding, with two readings from Mum and from Dave's sister Jenny. Steph and Dave both looked lovely (well, especially Steph) and both Emily and I were witnesses, along with Best Man Thomas. After the service we all congregated outside in the glorious sunshine in the gardens and rose petal confetti was thrown and lots of photos taken. Much amusement when the photographer asked those who were not family to leave the shot and nearly everyone stayed.

Mike and I had a quick look round the hall itself, before we were called because it was time for me to go. This time Steph and Dave in the Rolls and mum and dad in the Daimler with us too, and again John got to play chauffeur for Mike and all the stuff. This took us on to the reception venue at Haley's Hotel and Restaurant in Headingley. There we had the public rooms to ourselves pretty much, so had a nice lounge around in the bar and library before a lovely dinner and some excellent speeches. Lunch finished at around 5, and then nearly everyone congregated on the steps or the lawn outside. Drinking wine and talking and playing catch with the small kids (Jake 5, Anna 3, Alex and James about 20 months). It was all rather lovely. And after we'd managed a small nap in our lovely hotel room we got up again for the evening do at 7ish, with more guests, a blues duo playing live in the lounge, a buffet dinner with a recorded "radio show" I'd prepared playing in the backgroun for that - though timings didn't work out right and only about half of it got played. Then Steph and Dave danced their first dance to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl", and we partied on with more dancing in the lobby for the young-uns til Mike and I wimped out shortly after the best man around midnight. According to mum most of the rest gave up around 1 or 1:30, but there were a small bunch of die-hards up until 3.

And the lovely thing about staying in the same hotel was that we all got to meet up again over breakfast, and wave Steph and Dave off for their honeymoon in Turkey, before packing everything up into John's car and the immediate family heading back to Mirfield for a quiet couple of hours and a tapas lunch before we had to get the train home. Part of me still can't quite believe Steph's married, but I'm really really happy for her, and we all had a lovely lovely day. We didn't get a chance to take many pictures, we were too busy enjoying ourselves, but the few we did are here (mostly taken by Mike).

Bride and bridesmaids

me and mike, me and mike/gurney

Mike's birthday present

This year I couldn't think of a thing that Mike would like for a birthday present which seemed like enough of a present, so instead I decided to take him out for the day, and that day was yesterday. We got the train into London and then the tube to Piccadilly Circus and then had a lovely day out in the West End.

First up was lunch, at The Living Room, just off Regent Street. It was such a warm day they had the big windows at the front opened up, so we dined almost al fresco. I had a lovely rib-eye steak with chips and bearnaise source, and Mike and roasted belly pork, with slow-roasted tomatoes and chick peas. It's a fairly smart looking place, and rather nice for what is really a chain, even if the W1 version has its own different menu. Once you get downstairs and see the loos though it's rather eccentric! They've had to put signs up in order for you to spot the rather camouflaged doors, which fade into the walls with only a single lady's or gent's shoe above them to show the way. And then the cubicles are wallpapered in carpet, with shelves of books at the back, and Radio 4 piped in to listen to. Very very strange.

Anyway after lunch we went for a little walk through the backstreets between Regent Street and Shaftesbury Ave, pausing to watch and listen to a Falun Gong demonstration march. It was a lovely day, and we arrived at our next venue a bit early, so we ended up dozing in a churchyard park for half an hour, just chilled out, before heading over for the next and main event.

This was a pair of seats for the matinee performance of Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre. Neither of us had seen it before, or knew the story, and suffice to say we both ended up needing Mike's hanky, and there was a standing ovation for the cast. I don't think I can describe it, for I wouldn't do it justice, but it was wonderful. Just wonderful.

Rather emotionally drained (but in a good way) we left into the evening sunshine and wandered up Wardour Street through Soho. Sad to note that the Intrepid Fox pub is closed - Mike knew and liked it - we instead stopped for a drink across the road in the Ship, which had rather good music, so we were mildly put out to see the posted saying that by Westminster Council's conditions on the pub we weren't allowed to dance, though mostly just amused. I really do find it hard not to bop along to things a bit if standing in a pub though.

Last stop was for dinner, a short walk away up Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road to an italian called Camerinos. The menu sadly didn't have anything which quite managed to make Mike excited, but I think in the end he was happy with what he chose. My smoked goose breast for starter was probably the highlight, but with lovely prawns served shell-on with a garlic and chilli dressing for Mike, then salmon and ravioli, and finally chocolate and almond tart and tiramisu I think we were both very well fed. Then it was time to get the train home again, slowly via the Liverpool Street line due to engineering works, but life can't be perfect all the time, and otherwise it was a pretty near perfect day.