It is with great sadness and an aching heart (but an immense sense of relief) that I have to announce that I no longer regard myself as a PARTY ANIMAL. How has it come to this, you may ask yourself. How can the Lifestyle Support Guru have reached this sorry state? What momentous event can have caused this? Let me tell you…
DODO and I decided that we would venture into the city centre to sample the bright lights of a Saturday night, something we had not done for some time. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.
We started in a new ‘games pub’ where everyone was playing board games, which wasn’t so bad, although it’s not how I personally would have chosen to spend my Saturday nights when I was in my twenties (or thirties, or forties, or…).
Looking for something just a touch more lively, we moved on to a Latin-American-themed establishment. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.
At first we were ignored by the bar staff, who probably thought we were the cleaners and had arrived early. After getting served (we were the only ones not drinking cocktails), we managed to get a seat and gazed around at the clientele. I came to a number of conclusions:
i) Too many women were wearing dresses at least one size too small
ii) Too many women had failed to purchase ‘no VPL’ (no Visible Panty Line) underwear to go under their small dresses
iii) Too many women had not practised walking in stilettos before coming out for the night
iv) Too many women were too concerned about flicking their hair alluringly over their shoulder then looking round to see who’d seen them do it
v) Too many women were ‘shaking their booty’ – not a pretty sight in a dress two sizes too small, and quite unnerving for DODO because they were ‘shaking it’ in his face. He almost choked on his beer!
I am all for self-expression and not judging others, but there are limits… I doubt very much that the young woman with the VERY large bust and VERY narrow hips wearing a VERY short, tight dress with large flowers (possibly peonies or cabbage roses) on it had intended to look like a drag queen… THIS WAS A MISTAKE.
But there has been one final ‘event’ that has settled it in my mind that my PARTY ANIMAL days are finished. I was preparing a gourmet Sunday lunch (fish and chips – or ‘frites’, since they were from M&S) for myself and DODO. It was as I was lifting out the baking tray to turn the ‘frites’ over halfway through cooking, as per the instructions (is there a knack to this? They seem to end up on the floor or not turned over unless I use my fingers, which HURTS!) that a thought sprang unbidden into my mind – ‘Hmm, I could do with some new oven gloves.’ NEW OVEN GLOVES? NEW OVEN GLOVES? NEVER in the LSG’s long(ish) and illustrious life have oven gloves ever featured in any significant way. And certainly not on a Sunday afternoon with lunch and a glass of wine waiting.
And that, beloved believers, is when I realised that my PARTY ANIMAL days are finally over. One cannot allow PARTY ANIMAL and OVEN GLOVES to exist in the same mind. I am off to the Aga shop tomorrow…
THIS MAY BE A MISTAKE.
As LSG followers will know, I recently attended a pre-wedding party. I had also been asked to contribute something to a video offering marriage guidance (no comments, please!) to be shown at the hen weekend. That weekend has now passed and I have been given ‘official’ permission to publish the advice. Please feel free to follow this advice or to pass it on to anyone you know who may be contemplating marriage at some point in the future:
By now you will know that your sibling has asked people to contribute a video on WhatsApp imparting advice on success in the marriage stakes. There were a few problems for me with this: 1) I’m not great with technology; 2) I hate videos of myself and 3) I’ve never been married! I am therefore sending you a picture of me as a little girl in full Welsh costume instead of a video – much more attractive! – and some advice in my role as the Lifestyle Support Guru, someone of whom I’m sure your mother has spoken – and if she hasn’t, she has been sadly remiss in her duties as a proper mother!
The Lifestyle Support Guru (LSG for the sake of brevity) exists only to offer advice and support to everyone as they travel through life, trying to make sense of difficulties such as how to make bread-and-butter pudding (and, more pertinently, why?) or the role of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in ensuring that we can all sleep safely in our beds at night (the answer eludes me at the moment).
I shall keep this brief, since you will want to move on to the ‘proper’ videos of real people singing, dancing and generally enjoying themselves in anticipation of your forthcoming nuptials. I may well wear a Welsh hat and dance around the house on your wedding day, but I promise not to video it!
So, what marital advice can the LSG offer? Firstly, Jane Austen is always a good source of information on the subject of marriage (and, since she never married either, I feel I am in good company): “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Therefore, I hope you have found a single man in possession of a good fortune but, more importantly, that he is willing to spend that fortune on you! That’s the first point covered.
Secondly, look at your parents’ marriage and, in your case, use it as a blueprint. A joint liking for wine is a good start, but you must also have different interests, such as one of you enjoying obscure, incomprehensible foreign films and the other showing a preference for playing the saxophone (if Andrew doesn’t play the sax, may I suggest a course of lessons as your wedding present to him?). This will help keep your marriage fresh because you will always have something to talk about.
And, finally, remember to respect each other – if Andrew respects your opinion on all things and you respect his willingness to defer to you, you won’t go far wrong.
It only remains for me to wish both of you a long and happy marriage and a bright future.
As Lifestyle Support Guru followers know, I was invited to a pre-wedding party and I could well have made a complete and utter fool of myself by turning up at the wrong time, believing it to be an evening ‘soirée’ before finding out it was an afternoon do. As it was, the LSG achieved perfect symmetry by arriving at an acceptable time – a fashionable 20 minutes late – and leaving at 7.30 pm, the time originally planned for arrival. The only sad point was having to leave half a glass of wine because the taxi to take me home turned up unusually early.
The afternoon went well, if you discount the bride-to-be – who has known me for several years, including two as her French teacher – introducing me at one point as Ian. I explained that I had not had any gender-reassignment surgery since I had last seen her and she seemed quite satisfied with that, so I shall simply put it down to one glass too many of French wine (which flowed copiously).
It was lovely to see so many people whom I hadn’t seen for many years, including the delightful Mark who made so many French language classes a joy to teach, and it was even fun to sit on the ‘sad settee’ with two other women as we discussed Trump, Assad and North Korea while all around us others were reminiscing about the joys of organising school trips before Elf’n’Safety reared its ugly head. I also had a good conversation with the (Irish) husband-to-be about the likely team choices for the forthcoming Lions rugby tour. This may not have been everyone’s idea of a fun afternoon, but I was having the time of my life!
Airport – WHERE?
I think one of my enduring conversational memories (apart from the sex-change operation) will be talking to a friend and ex-colleague about my plans for a visit to Turkey in the near future, flying from Humberside because, as I said, ‘It’s such a small and friendly airport.’ ‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘I didn’t even know they had an airport there, especially for international flights.’ Her husband gave her what can only be termed ‘an old-fashioned look’ and asked me to repeat the name of the airport. ‘Humberside,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ she responded, ‘I thought you said Ambleside.’ Ambleside is a small village in the Lake District!
Under Lock and Key
I was most impressed when the bride-to-be’s father, when I asked for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, produced a set of keys and said, ‘I’ll fetch you one.’ ‘Wow!’ I thought, ‘This must be something special to be under lock and key, especially since they’d been telling me about the bargain they’d got for 2 euros 10.’ It turned out that it was only under lock and key because it was a party-size box that they had to keep in the garage because it wouldn’t fit in the fridge!
It was a wonderful afternoon and the party was still in full flow when I left, so I could easily have turned up at 7.30 pm and still had a good time! Not a sign of cocoa, slippers or ‘Casualty’!
Thank you, one and all, for a joyous afternoon – may your wedding be peaceful, happy and bright, whether you are the bride, the groom, the parents or just friends!
PS The gin cheesecake was delicious! (= Cheesecake made with gin and lime)