April 2003 Archives - wibbler.com

Will’s Wedding

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Ring ring.
“Morning Jac.”
“It’s 7.30 in the morning.”
“Is your smoke alarm beeping?”
“Whhhh…. no.”
“Right. Bye.”
And so ended our stay in Fawlty Towers. It had begun so well. Michelle, Jac and I had been invited to Will‘s wedding in Raunds, Northamptonshire. It was an unusual invitation, as out of the three of us, I was the only one to have met him, and even then only twice. Still, we did manage to get the bride and groom together through the [email protected] internet dating website. Jac and I had each developed a spoof profile of ourselves, and I invited Will along for the ride. He, though, decided to do a real one (here it is), and promptly met his wife-to-be. We sensed a good time was in the offing, and accepted the invitation.

Will’s Wedding – Part 1, “The Build Up”
We set off from Jac’s house in Watford at 1.30 on Saturday afternoon, arriving at 3.15 in Rushden, well in time for the 4.30pm wedding. In our haste, we had discarded the idea of working out where the Rilton Hotel was, deciding that the area was probably only a small village and it would be easy enough to find.
Half an hour later, and with Jac’s expletives getting ever more forceful, we decided to stop at a local newsagents and ask directions. It turned out we had passed it twice in our search through the surprisingly large town. It was an impressive building, and as we swung into the car park, we noted the large sign outside – “Warm Welcome”, “Licensed Bar” and “Restaurant”. Jac, pleased at the reference to a bar, sped up the ramp.
The car park must have had over 70 spaces. Sadly, not one of them contained a car. “Ah.” muttered Jac, as it sunk in that the hotel may not be as popular as it claimed. After parking the car pointlessly neatly in the second space Jac chose, we wandered in to get the formalities done.
“Hello?” My voice echoed down the corridor. There seemed to be no-one around, and wrought-iron shutters blocked the entrance to the spirits bar and restaurant. We ventured down to the end of the corridor, where there appeared to be a reception area. That also had the shutters down. I went upstairs – not a soul. Michelle studied the reception board, and noted that there was a Bridal Suite. Jac’s eyes brightened. “Oh, thats kind,” he said, “I wonder what flavour?” His face slowly slumped as he revealed, “Oh, I thought you meant some kind of complimentary confectionary…” In an effort to redeem himself, he found a phone number taped to the reception area. He rang it. It turned out that the receptionist was at home, and asked if we could hang around for a couple of hours. We pointed out that the wedding was less than an hour away. “I’m on call, you see,” the receptionist said. We bartered. Finally, the best she could manage was 20 minutes. She turned up half an hour later.
In 10 minutes, we had changed into our finest clothes and were in the car, speeding down the motorway to the church.

Will’s Wedding – Part 2, “The Main Event”
The people of Northamptonshire are possibly the slowest drivers in the world. And Will’s wedding day was not the the best time to find that out. Constant cursing and more than a little swerving ensued for the next 15 minutes, before we somehow managed to find the designated car park, with 4 minutes to spare. As we parked up, I reached the last sentence on the sheet of directions: “This car park is approximately 5-10 minutes walk from the church.” More swearing. We ran to the church, and found the service already underway. Another curse passed Jac’s lips. As I opened the huge church door, the entire congregation turned round and stared at the naughty latecomers. I grinned inanely.
The wedding went smoothly, including the obigatory fainting of one of the bridesmaids. The hymns were well chosen, and Jac and I felt confident enough to barely glance at the words, recalling the full verses from our childhood church visits. On one hymn, we confidently finished the last verse on the page, put the songsheet down and looked around to see what would happen next. Much to our shock, the entire church carried on singing, and it took half a verse for Jac and I to find our place again.
After an hour, we wondered down to the reception. We had originally planned to make a dash for it after the ceremony, get changed, and be back in time for Will’s speech, which he promised would include a comical reference to Jac and I, at which point we would stand and curtsey. However, true to form, we completely missed that too. Our dash back to the hotel was at times a slow chug as Jac negotiated the infernally slow local drivers. Back at the reception, my initial huge disappointment was more than countered by 3 large bottles of pink champagne and two double Jack Daniels and cokes, which I was to rue the following day. Contrary to the previous events so far, the evening bash went very well, with Tom, the church usher and friend of 7 long years, providing much needed sordid information on the rest of the congregation. Jac made passing conversation with a rather well-endowed lady next to him. Half way through a particularly enlightening speech from him, the lady suddenly noticed the wedding cake being cut, and pieces being passed round. She yelled, “There’s cake!”. Sadly, Jac completely misheard, and started yelling for a person named Kate at the top of his voice. After we had stopped laughing at him, Jac made his excuses and left.
He finally found a particularly friendly girl towards the end of the night, who looked rather like Sinead O’Connor’s love child, but he fended her off. I managed to glean a taxi number off a Welsh lady at our table, and Michelle, being the only one still capable of speech (Jac: “Ah, a breash of freth air. Try saying THAT after five pints”), rang up. It turned out that it was a little old lady, who moonlighted as a taxi driver to make ends meet. During the whole of the first phonecall, she completely forgot to ask where we were going. When she phoned back and heard we were planning on going around 5 miles away, she took a deep breath and explained that it was further than she was willing to travel. I was frankly relieved. We finally managed to book a taxi, which we made Jac pay for while he was half asleep.

What we have learnt

  • Never assume that every town north of London is bound to be sparsely populated.
  • Always add 30 minutes to your driving time if you are due to be behind any driver from Northamptonshire.
  • When booking a hotel, always go with what you know. A Travelodge would in retrospect have been luxury, compared with the “warm welcome” we received at The Rilton.
  • Watford is the cheapest in the country for unleaded petrol.
  • Rilton Hotel sounds similar to the Hilton Hotel. That, however, is where the similarity ends.
  • There is nothing more annoying than an out-of-reach smoke alarm emitting a low battery warning every 30 seconds at 7.30 in the morning.
  • Drinking 3 bottles of pink champagne renders the drinker very ill for at least half of the following day.
  • There is something to be said for planning ahead.
  • Jac is incomprehensible before 8am.
  • Our snobbish theory that nothing works north of London turns out, in fact, to be correct.
  • There are more rivers named River Ouse in the United Kingdom that any other name.
  • Have I mentioned how slow they drive?

Finally, I’d like to thank Will, and congratulate him on his marriage. Even if we did miss the key moments…


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An announcement to the techie-minded readers here: MovableType, the blogging software of choice (well, for a lot of us), have launched a new user-friendly service on their own servers, called TypePad (here’s the press release). Is this a first direct hit at Blogger, a service they have denied gunning for, in light of Google’s move? Will it work? My vote: Hell yes. MovableType have not put a foot wrong yet, and now they’ve got fellow webite blogger Anil Dash on board, the lucky tyke…


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“So, been busy?”
My manager breezed in this morning after a week-long jaunt to the sunny beaches of Saint Lucia, sickeningly brown and bearing chocolatey gifts. “Busy?” I said. “BUSY?” I exclaimed. Then, muttering something about a blue-arsed fly, I detailed the amount I had done while 2 of the 3 other managers had taken a small easter holiday. Still, I’ve managed to finally install broadband at work, and I’m now busy ‘testing’ sites.
Brilliant. This site works then.

There’s a reason for everything

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Taken from the BBC website:

“There is an economic as well as political aspect to the views of countries
including France and Russia. Russian firm Lukoil says it expects its
contract to develop Iraqi oilfields to be honoured while France’s
state-controlled oil company TotalFinaElf also reached similar potentially
lucrative understandings. France was also the leading supplier of goods to
Iraq under the UN’s oil-for-food programme.”


Dear Reader

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Dear Reader,
How are you? Hope you are ok. I thought i’d post you this, as I feel I haven’t been updating you as regularly as i should.
What I’ve been doing this week? Well, I’ve been working away as usual, trying to please the bank manager. I got a pay rise, which is nice, but cleverly just about covers the start of my graduate loan repayment, which is a little annoying. On Thursday, I was just settling down for an afternoon’s emailing in the office, when who should come and sit next to me but an old school friend! I hdn’t seen Nick since 1995, and he was in fine form, even managing to stay behind for a quiet beer after work.
When I’ve not been working, I’ve been unpacking boxes, unpacking more boxes, moving boxes around, and generally spooning myself into my new house, which is very nice, if a little smaller than the last one. My friend Jac should be arriving soon with a van to move the remaining bits and pieces.

Talking of Jac, he’s had PC troubles. The poor thing finally gave up on him, which worryingly coincided with a piece of software I gave him. He took it to the the PC World Clinic, whose job, you’d think, is to repair broken computers. Not so. They refused it, presumably on the flimsy basis that it was a broken computer that needed repairing. Jac swore, and as a final flourish tried to storm out the store entrance, failing completely.

BT kindly offered to come round and install our phone line in our house last week. It was only after they finished that they found that, while everything inside the house was beautifully installed, they’d completely forgotten to get any form of cabling into our house from the exchange. So, a couple of days late, we now have internet at home, bringing my long-suffered internet drought to an end. No broadband, mind, as our neighbours have decreed we can’t dig the road up. They have, however, decided to present us with a lovely pot plant and welcome card, forming our unexpected moving-in present.
Of course there has been the usual social frolics. A small trip to Michelle’s brother’s house for a barbeque (nice house, that), an all expenses paid chinese meal with 8 others at Head Office, all sorts of things.
Anyway, I hope things are going well with you. I know that a few of you have sent in some complaints about the lack of posts – some of your kind words could bring a tear to a glass eye, they really could.
Speak to you soon,



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It’s April. It’s snowing.
And in other news, I have a hangover.

Nights Out

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Good gravy, I’ve completely overlooked two fun nights out in the past couple of weeks. Naughty me. Shunta’s brother turned the ripe old age of 18, and to celebrate, he invited us over for a knees up. We duly made fools of ourselves, having egg fights with Shunta’s mother and singing kareoke like a group of strangled cats.
And on the Saturday before last, in place of the cancelled Matchbox Twenty concert, we ventured into Watford to Jac’s new house. Many a good drink was downed, culminating in 3 traffic cones and a small shrub being placed outside Alex McH’s house, much to the neighbours disgust, and someone falling asleep in the bathroom, snoring loudly and preventing anyone from emptying their bladder for the entire night…