I travelled 6 hours across the country from west to east, to Suffolk, a land with an unfathomable tangle of misty country roads and absolutely no available taxis. My cousin’s daughter’s wedding (my second cousin?) not sure, being an only child once, with one aunt and uncle I never really had much reason to experience the cousin rules, and this weekend only clarified how confusing they are to me, sometimes I am Uncle D, and that will do nicely if slightly fraudulently.So we met with 2 other cousins and their sons and daughters who also have children, young ones, but they didn’t come thankfully, and the whole cousin thing isn’t talked about. no one knows, apart form a woman at the bar later on in the evening, but because I was the designated driver, and not drunk while all around me resembled an Bacchanalian Orgy full of red faced drunken louts (later later) I soon grew tired of her explanation; she belched cousinology, I sweated under the lights, uncomfortable and distracted.

I’d bought my Mum, recently widowed, and me, recently de-fathered, to the family wedding, with prior whisperings of the 11 of us (all cousins really, and my Mum) of having being split up for the wedding breakfast (at 4pm he whispered. Quite obviously night workers). But my actual cousin, the one throwing the wedding, being rather a stickler for details and pretty dull, but still a relative and thus over friendly, made for this type of situation a slightly awkward affair, symptomatic of these type of long distance relationship dynamics. We kind of like each other at family occasions but when strangers are invited, the whole dynamic shifts and cracks appear where cracks probably weren’t seen before. This, however, could have been something to do with the fact of me being the designated driver for the day, and suddenly being aware that drunk people are such arseholes sometimes. Especially strangers.

My Deaf Mum, finally admitting this was the case, was loving being with us relatives, 11 of us, and then about 6 of more of them, but they were involved and tied up in the wedding, so the 11 of us had heard whisperings of the table plans, and whisperings of being split up; trouble makers see? So the idea to split us all up so as we could meet new people to talk to and make up some bullshit, so as later on in the bar area, or on the dance floor we could nod to each other, possibly raise our glass to each other without really remembering who we, or they were earlier on and who they were now. To combat this lapse in concentration we took the 11 of us, the cousins and Mum for a team dance. Turns out Mum’s got the moves (aged 85)and to see her dance with cousins, wife, daughter and son and me genuinely bought a tear to my eye, she looked so happy, the first time genuine joy spread over her face since Dad died last December. Come to think of it I can’t remember her looking so happy for years and years. It genuinely bought a tear to my eye, and will remember this wedding as the wedding when Mum danced.

One of the people I met at the bar queuing for cocktails, when I was talking to the cousin explainer, was tall, in  grey suit and asked me who I was, to which I asked him the same question, and continuing just repeated the questions he asked me to him, this was when I was reaching top heat, and so had to give my card to my daughter to get the drinks while I went and sat outside sober, but bloated and gassy with non alcoholic beer, and no cigarettes, yet surrounded by people who wouldn’t like to see me smoking anyway. A test for me to not try and ponce a fag off anyone, which I passed with a distinction. Anyway the tables; the 11 of us were split up to be on 4 different tables, not next to each other and with random people, whom had to converse. It felt like a dirty trick, my 14 and 18 years old kids on a table with some 30 year old Rugger Buggers, my older cousins on a table with a group of 50 years olds (result for them) myself and Mrs T and my Mum on a table with another old old lady and some Funcles and an Aunt or two, the two other mid 20’s lads, Scottish and in Kilts, on a table with two babies and a pregnant lady, sat between an Army Captain and a massive Electrician. Odd, Poor Tabling. 

The wedding speeches and church service inevitably mentioned the Queen and her Death, and tended to linger a little longer than normal to please the congregation and diners, and My Mum told the father of the Bride that the church service was too long, and the sermon also, contributing to the length of the service. The campanologists rang the bells as we waited for the bride and a few piece fo plaster fell from the roof landing on a cousin behind me, before  the string quartet launched into Barbers Adagio for Strings, TUNE!!!

As the wine flowed, the Champagne and the San Miguel, all free, but I had to pay for Bitter, which was fine, the alcohol free stuff was deemed a soft drink and thus free of charge, so I must have drunk about 8 over the course of the day and had terrible gas when I got to bed, but imagine how I would have fitted in if they had all been alcoholic pints… Today I would have been as shabby as Mrs T was this morning, until she was saved by a walk in the misty Suffolk Dawn.

When the speeches toasted the Queen, the King, the Government and New PM, like some hideous made for TV lightweight political satire, a resounding, impromptu 

“GOD SAVE THE KING” rang out from the left near to where my son and daughter were sitting, a few tables sang out and then erupted into guffaws of approval and chinking of free San Miguel (fucking freeloaders). San Miguel shouldn’t be drunk anywhere other than in Spain and in a glass from a freezer with the frost on, not from an only slightly chilled pump. Plus one of the chaps on the chinking glasses table was telling Mrs T later, whilst leering over her at the bar,  that Boris was a “jolly fine chap”

This is the sort of thing you notice when you’re not drunk at a wedding, which in truth was the first time that its happened to me since I was about 14. But then again someone has to be in charge.

Summing up, M and C (the main protagonists, the people who married) looked beautiful, were gracious and so generous and looked made for each other, but then what do I know? They hail from Suffolk, live in Beaconsfield, and I have no idea of the customs and traditions of such places other than they are deeply Tory.  I wish then all the happiness and love in the World going forward, and will and have already invited them over to Malvern where the River Teme runs Shit coloured Blue due to the policy to dump a load of effluent into said river.

Night night.  

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