26 June 2024

Mother of the Bride

By popular request (well, by Lynne, who is a regular visitor to my blog) I attach a picture of my wedding shoes. She had remembered that I had ordered online about 14 pairs of shoes to try on at home with my mother of the bride outfit. I could not take the dress or wear it to umpteen shoe shops to try them on there, so had ordered them online to try with the dress  at home. Of course I was not going to keep all 14 pairs, but to find the best match to the dress and ones that were comfy as they had to stand the test of wearing them all day. 

The dress was a shocking pink colour. It was not my usual go-to colour. In fact my favourite colour is blue - in all its shades - but most of all I love navy blue. It is slimming, never dates, doesn't make you stand out and is conservative with a small c. I had in fact bought a lacy navy blue dress back in November and was comparing any other dress I saw or tried on with that, each time conceding that the navy dress was by far the best. However, it had been belatedly decided that the bridesmaids were wearing blue and the groom's and groomsmens' ties were also blue, so we considered blue for me might not be an option, if I wanted to be a bit different. Then around 10 weeks before the wedding, Kay and I visited a mother-of-the-bride shop not far from us, just as a joke really as I never fancied any of the dated styles in their shop window. When I tried on one of their fuschia pink dresses, Kay immediately said THAT was the dress I had to have. 

This is me trying it on in the shop. You will see the shoulders look funny. That is because I am obviously shorter in the bodice department than the average woman. This "problem" had never identified itself to me before now, but this couturier dress is styled in such a way, that it became very evident. If the shoulders fit, the waist is too low. If the waist fits, the shoulders are too high.  So the shoulders were pinned correctly in the shop to be cut later by a seamstress and resewn. 

The beige shoes belonged to the shop just to get the right effect when trying their dresses on, but we all agreed that beige (or "nude" as it is often called) was probably the best colour to accompany the dress. The venue for the wedding reception stipulated no stilletos as the venue is 300 years old and the wooden floor therefore very precious, so there were many boxes that the shoes had to tick. In the end, out of the 14 pairs I had ordered online, surprisingly the cheapest ones were the most comfortable and fitted the bill in every way.  These are they....

Made of beige fabric which simulated suede, they had block heels, cross-over straps to keep them on my feet and were comfortable enough to see me through the day. I did wear them in whilst watching TV for about two weeks beforehand, so I didn't wear them for the first time on the wedding day.

The dress was duly altered at the shoulders. I hired a hat in matching colours from a local hat shop and this was the finished effect. 

Now if ever I fancy a trip to the Ascot races, I'm all ready, otherwise I can't see this look is going to serve me well doing the weekly supermarket shop in Sainsburys.

20 June 2024

Wedding of the Year

Well, after a build-up of at least two years, the wedding of Kay and Darcy took place last Saturday. It seemed so long coming and the last month seemed slow too, but suddenly the day arrived and because of supeduper planning on Kay's and my part, it went like clockwork.

Darcy's parents and two siblings plus their partners (six people in all) were put up in Darcy and Kay's house two days beforehand. We had the church rehearsal on the Thursday evening to figure out who went where and how. On Friday, we had access to the reception venue in the late afternoon to deliver things we needed there and on Friday evening we had a wonderful Turkish meal with all the arriving bridesmaids, groomsmen and their partners.

The weather forecast had looked atrocious for the days building up to the wedding and to a certain extent did not disappoint. On the morning of the wedding, the sun did try to break through, but the sky remained largely full of dark clouds and it was cool for June. Things kicked off very early. My house was the hub of the bride's party. Kay had stayed with me the night before as her last night as a single girl. Her hairdresser turned up at 7:45 and started work on Kay's hair. The make-up artist arrived at 8:45 and pretty soon started on my make-up. The five bridesmaids and one bridesman turned up around 9:30, so pretty quickly my house was teeming with people in every room. We had laid on a prosecco/croissant breakfast with fruits and smoked salmon too, so people were bobbing in and out of the kitchen-diner for several hours. After my make-up was done, Kay had hers done and then one of the bridesmaids too. I tried to dive in  wherever needed and tidy up where I could. Flowers were delivered and the chauffeurs of the two Rolls Royces  we hired  turned up two hours early so I had them sitting in the lounge too.  

The beautiful train on Kay's dress

Suddenly it was 11:15 and the photographer arrived and I was not dressed. A hasty dive into my outfit and then on to help Kay into hers for the official photos. The bridesmaids were all buzzing around getting into their dresses and doing their hair so there were people everywhere all up the six flights of stairs and every room of my house. Suddenly it was nearly 1:30 and time for Kay and I to leave for the church, the bridesmaids having gone on ahead. We had had rain showers all morning, but fortunately it was dry as we got into the car and out the other side again at the church. We were about 15 minutes late arriving, which I guess is allowed for the bride to be late.

Despite my nerves, I walked Kay down the aisle. When it got to the bit in the service about whether anyone had any objection to the marriage, there was a rumble of thunder. I did hope that was not Greg putting in an objection! Although I am sure he would approve wholeheartedly of Darcy. At the end of the service, the two mothers (myself and the mother of the groom) both signed the marriage certificate - can you imagine if that would have even be possible a hundred years ago?

On leaving the church, everyone was supposed to form two parallel lines and throw dried rose petals over the couple as they ran along, however the heavens opened with torrential rain and we all stood under umbrellas trying not to get soaked. The long train on Kay's dress sadly got rather muddy in the process. Everyone dashed off to the reception but Kay and Darcy and a few of us remained behind for a few photos. Fortunately the rain dried up and the strong wind dried the ground a little and the sun even tried to push through.

A break in the rain for a quick photo

The meal at the reception was amazing and soon it was time for the four speeches - mine being first as substitute "Father of the Bride". I was nervous as hell, as I don't like public speaking, but I think Greg was somehow by my side and helping me on. In fact, everybody laughed at the funny bits and at least 20 different people came up to me afterwards to say it was the best of the four speeches and the best they'd ever heard, so I must have done something right. The other speeches were from the bride, the groom and the best man. Just at the end of the speeches we saw a wonderful rainbow - again as if Greg were putting his contribution in - so that was quite an emotional moment for Kay and me. There was more time for photos when fortunately it was dry if not sunny and allowed the couple to have some nice photos in the walled flower garden. Then cutting the cake and dancing til 1 am.

Kay later rang me from her honeymoon hotel in Dorset to say that a little robin had hopped through the French doors and onto her bed, stared at her, then flew out again. I know it sounds silly, but we both felt it was a sign from Greg and burst into tears at the very thought.

A wonderful day was enjoyed by all. Sadly I have since gone down with Covid, no doubt picked up at the wedding, but at least it was afterwards and not before!

09 June 2024


I have been following the sad news about Dr Michael Mosley whose dead body was found today  on the Greek island of Symi. Not all the facts are in about what happened to him, when he failed to return to his wife after leaving her for a walk on Wednesday lunchtime. He was supposedly unwell, which is why he decided to leave his wife on the beach and return to their accommodation. Temperatures were nudging 40 degrees Centigrade and he was walking on rocky terrain in incredible heat. Did he have a heart attack or heat stroke? I expect the facts will emerge eventually, but despite an incredible search investigation both on land and at sea, they reckon he probably died days ago. I feel for his wife and children (the latter having flown out yesterday to help with the search for him).

Greg and I visited Symi back in 1983. We were staying on the Greek island of Rhodes and had taken a day trip to Symi, about an hour's crossing away. The ferry had dropped us off on one side of the island around late morning and would collect us again on the opposite side of the island in the early evening, giving us six hours to cross the island on foot and enjoy a meal before our return to Rhodes.

We set off on our walk leaving the small harbour behind us and entering into what I can best describe as utter wilderness. I have never been happy around snakes and am terrified of encountering one that isn't behind a glass partition, so when half-way through our walk, I saw a snake writhing in some undergrowth, it stopped me in my tracks, terrified to go on in case there were more. Greg knew I was in panic and so said it was a legless lizard, which reassured me no end and allowed me to continue our hike. It was only once back in Rhodes, he confessed he had doctored the truth and it was indeed a snake. Every time I hear of Symi, I think of that and it brings on a smile.

Symi is such a beautiful place - very unspoilt back in 1983 - and somewhere I would have loved to return. It is such a tragedy that Dr Mosley met his end there and that will be a sad memory for his family.

03 June 2024


With a matter of 12 days to go to the big event, Kay and I are stressing. There is still so much to organise for the wedding. Kay is at work, so cannot do much except in the rare spare time she gets and I try to help where I can, but fate keeps throwing us boulders which either crush us or we have to leap over to avoid, like in some warrior video game.

As I mentioned in my last post, the bridal dress was altered too tightly and we had to meet the seamstress, who was recommended by the bridal shop where we bought the dress,  to alter it yet again. As she lives some hundred miles away, it involved a very long drive on the motorway to reach her.  In my amateur dressmaking eyes, the simplest remedy was to unpick the side seams that had been sewn too tightly and re-sew them. There is both a lace outer layer and a silk inner lining. When we got there, the seamstress chattered non-stop (as she always does) and talked over us when we were talking (which she always does), so consequently she never listens and therefore always gets the task wrong. My daughter tried the dress on to show her the problem. The seamstress produced a pair of scissors and to our horror cut right through the centre lace layer from waist to bust, so that it could spread out across the bodice more and release the tight tension. She then proceeded to pin random lace offcuts she had to cover the rips she had made. We were speechless. I could see my daughter was close to tears but trying to control it. The seamstress babbled on and ignored any attempts by us to say we didnt like what she was doing. In the end we left the dress for her to sew where she had pinned and drove home, my daughter in floods of tears. The dress was literally in tatters and resembled nothing like the one we had paid £1800 to buy and an extra £400 to be tailor-adjusted by the so-called professional seamstress. We had a very sleepless night then rang the bridal shop the next morning to express our dismay. They were just as horrified as us and promised to collect the dress from the seamstress in two days and to ensure she sorted out the problem. We went for another fitting on Friday at the bridal shop and were relieved that the dress is 95% improved on what we last saw, although we  still can see where it is not perfect. To procure a replacement dress in the few days we have left is not practically possible, as it takes months to order, so we have to "make do and mend". Fortunately the bridal shop were so understanding, they have refunded us the £400 which presumably they in turn will enforce a refund from the seamstress,

As if that is not enough, our local council has decided to chose June to build a mini roundabout and zebra crossings just round the corner from me with 4-way traffic lights which will seriously impede traffic flow along the route our wedding party will use to get from the church to the reception. Work started today and finishes in September!! I can see that people will end up being delayed and missing the wedding meal!

Furthermore the weather forecast is still unpredictable and looks like it might rain on the day. Is there anything else that fate wants to throw at us?

Also, in changing Tasker Dunham's location, I have just managed to delete the "blogs I follow" widget, so if you know I followed you in the past, but your blog no longer appears on my feed, then let me know by email.  Thanks!

Update: Problem solved, thanks to a website link called web archive. Just put into the URL box the following 


with your https:// or http:// blog URL added at the end and it should call up previous pages of your blog randomly archived. So  for example