Suits and Housewarmings

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Saturday was a busy day which rolled into a drunken night. My best man duties entailed me driving to Epsom with Nick, his brother and dad for suit fittings. Handily, it proved a good opportunity to test out the Lexus. We discovered that rear leg room was an issue (“I can’t feel my legs anymore”, Nick’s dad exclaimed halfway through the journey) and that most of the controls were unnecessarily complicated. And I can certainly vouch for the build quality of the rear bumper, which was tested to destruction by a Ford Fiesta that missed my plethora of brakelights and plowed into the back of me. Epsom is not a place I’d recommend driving round on a Saturday afternoon…
Nick had a set idea of the kind of get-up he’d be wearing at his wedding. A red waistcoat, apparently, was a must – and there was a red and gold theme that had to considered. I never knew weddings were so complicated. After a good hour and a half choosing the waistcoats (eventually settling on one that has to be ordered in, bless him) and half an hour verifying the choices with the wife-to-be, we burst out into the dazzling sunlight of the unseasonally warm weather.
Sadly, I was expecting to be back about an hour earlier to plan for the first party in our new house – it was more of an apology party for not organising a housewarming sooner. Michelle and I had prepared the legendary party bags earlier in the week, and she and Sarah had gone shopping in the early afternoon for food-based essentials. Jac and Shaun had turned up early to watch the Grand National. Jac had managed to win money for the last four years, and he wasn’t going to miss this one. News filtered through while we were suit fitting that his horse had fallen, much to the secret joy of everyone around. When I arrived back at the house the food had been lovingly prepared and they were all playing cricket in the garden. The garden, however, isn’t quite as big as a cricket pitch. Jac and Shaun’s competitive edge saw the softball regularly ending up in both neighbours’ gardens, with one of them eventually offering to leave their garden gate open so we could pop over whenever the ball strayed. “Can we put a fielder in there too?” Nick enquired, pushing the boundaries of neighbourly conduct.
As the sun set, 20 people came through the front door and joined in the revelry. We’d decided on a barbeque, but forgot that fact that I’m useless at them. Nick and Sarah eventually had to take over as the arrival of guests and drinking eventually took its toll on my concentration. Shaun and Michelle found some strings for my guitar and managed to plug away at it through the drunken haze for a good hour or so. The newly-installed Nintendo Wii and Xbox360 were put to full use (an enthusiastic punch from Shunta on Wii Boxing managed to break a ceiling light) and a lot of us managed to stay up until the early hours drinking, laughing and strumming.
The next morning, however, was not so enjoyable…

James Hunter Has Arrived – The Homecoming

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So, Michelle and I trotted off to meet James Hunter last night, and lo and behold I got mushy. Only for 30 seconds, of course – I’m a man, and I’m hard. The whole family were there, and our presents of baby clothes and champagne went down suitably well. James was awake/asleep/crying alternately throughout the night, as proper 1 day old babies should, and pictures were still being taken every minute or so. Everyone wanted a turn holding the little bugger – everyone apart from myself, who has an inherent fear of dropping babies on their heads. “Maybe, if he’s lucky, I’ll give him a fireman’s lift when he’s seven,” I surmised.
Nick and Jac are joining us for a second visit on Friday, before a swift meal at a local restaurant. How jolly grown up we all are nowadays…
P.S. Simon H has posted photos of James here. Some highlights:
Photo 44 – The Missus and I.
Photo 11 – The emotional dad and his less emotional brother Shaun.
Photo 27 – Shaun and Kate – in a pose I imagine Kate will regret.
Photo 36 – “Thank God that’s over…”
Photo 51 – Simon H’s receding hairline makes a cameo appearance.

Jac’s Embarrassment

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After all the FUN OF THE FAIR on Friday night, we were all washed out. Jac looked truly awful, emptying his stomach for most of the afternoon, while I was at work, a virtual zombie. A small night at the Cranley Hotel was called for for us all, where Jac and Shaun were due to sing their hearts out at Open Mike night. After Jac’s previous night’s success with Becki, both of them were a little apprehensive of meeting again, but things went well. Until, sadly, the landlord (a personal friend of Jac) turned up. Interrupting a perfectly civil conversation between Jac and Becki, the landlord drew up the table and announced, “So, Jac, I hear you pulled last night.” Everyone stopped talking. Tumbleweed skitted past. Jac’s life flashed before him, as everyone imagined the blokey gossip, congratulations and slaps on the back that must have gone on not half an hour before. “So, who was she? Was she nice?” the landlord asked again, ignoring the utter horror on our faces. “Well?”, the landlord again asked, desperate to glean any information at all from his clammed-up friend. Eventually, something had to give.
“Steve,” said Jac, “meet Becki.”
After the laughter died down, we tried to rescue the evening, but Jac, out of sheer embarrassment, and Becki, out of sheer awkwardness, barely talked for the rest of the night.
It was ALMOST worth it…

Birthday knees up

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Well, what a weekend! a BIRTHDAY weekend, to be precise. An enormous knees-up with subsidised drinks in Bar Zuka and The Drink with Michelle, Becki, Nick, Paul D and Tom, followed by a good old get-together in Cranleigh watching Sparky sing away splendidly, with Jac, Simon H, Shaun, Elli and Zoe. I am now recovering. And trying to get the photos online before I fall asleep.

I should think I’ll probably fail…