4 Aug 2005
I was sitting in the car outside Salisbury train station as it clinked and clanked during its cooling down cycle. I checked to make sure the battery still had some juice in it and then my phone rang. It was Ben the Shirlster, otherwise known as The Mole due to his extreme astigmatism.
“Bruce, it’s Ben.”
“Yo man! Where you to?”
“O, you know, still at Westbury. The fucking train gets delayed every minute by two more minutes! Fuck it!”
“Sheet. Well, I’m sitting in Salisbury waiting for your sorry arse.”
“I’m sorry man. Have a beer on me. I’d fucking murder a beer right now.”
“Cool. Call me when you know when you’re getting in.”
“Cool. Fuck’s sake……”
I exited the car and headed towards the Railway Inn just across the road. As I did my phone rang again.
“Ah, monkey fucker, how you doing? You in country yet?” (Tomat lives in Bulgaria at the moment and was flying in for the wedding.)
“Cool. I’m in Salisbury waiting for the Shirlster. His train keeps getting delayed.”
“Really? How late is it?”
“Well, about an hour so far but it keeps getting prolonged. He’s going mental.”
“Okay, well, that might be cool because I’m a little delayed…”
“..yeah, coz I forgot I had to pick my suit up from across London.”
“Tom, you fucking amateur! I thought you were getting into Petersfield at 9?”
“Yeah well, I’m gonna be a bit later mate.”
“How much ‘a bit later’ are you intending on being?”
“Well, I’m sure to be there by 11:30.”
“Shitbags! Fine. Just call me when you’re close. The village is about twenty minutes away, okay?”
Two pints, four rollies and almost two hours later Ben arrived. He’s a slightly combustible chap at the best of times but because of the two hour delay and the fact that he had found out that the reason for the two hour delay was that some ,”Fucking wanker saw a plastic bag on a platform and reported it as a suspicious sodding object and the whole Bristol station was closed for fumigation or some fucking thing and what a total wanker!” he took a while to calm down to his normal mostly affable self.
We made it to the village and the pub where everyone was gathered for a pre-nuptial family barbecue. I hadn’t really seen Ben much since his return from Argentina, where he had been living for about three years, but the hour long journey that I had just endured revealed to me that someone or thing had invaded his head and filled it with as many conspiracy theories as possible. Ben regaled me with the truth about JFK’s assassination (“It was the Mafia. Kennedy’s father had promised the Don something and he didn’t pay up. Budda Bing and Johnny gets blown away.”), the Moon landing (“It never happened mate.” Actually, I agree with that.), why Marilyn Monroe was assassinated (“She knew too much so she had to go.”) etc. I dropped Ben off, instructed him to get a grip and went to go and check into our country B&B before 10:30pm. One hour later and I picked Tom up from Petersfield station and we headed back to the Pub for a bit of a lock-in. Chris’ Aunt Sophie was legless and Ben was eyeing up his chances. He might well have been in there but Sophie kept falling over and her ten-year-old daughter was pleading for them to go home.
A working sheepdog at the farm we stayed at.
Meg, who is far from a working sheepdog. She's a bit mental.
Tom being molested by Sprout the Jack Russell and pretending not to enjoy it.
Tomat and Bengee.
Me et Tom and a bag with the large bottle of Johnson's Baby Oil in for the lucky couple!
Christ. This is all bollocks. Listen, it was a splendid wedding, very moving in a lovely old church with some bearable hymns and a palatable enough sermon etc. Very happy for bride and bridegroom. Lots of pictures in the sun,
Ziggs and Anna
Shirlster, Kate, Benedict and Tom.
lots of champers and delicious canapés on the lawn. Someone fell in the pond. Speeches, dinner,...
Ben theorising in a conspiratorial manner with Nic and Hannah.
...drinks, speeches, cheering, tear, more cheering, dancing, dancing with sixty year old lady, spinning her around rock n’roll style, span her too much, she span out across and over the edge of the dancefloor, like a demented ballerina, hit a chair fell over the table and crashed landed onto the floor. Thankfully no broken hips. Met lovely Irish lass called Cathy who was there with Ziggs’ elder brother Andrew.
The Lovely Cathy.
The lovely Cathy's lovely Leg.
Tom and Zander pissed.
Tom, Cathy, Zander and Cathy's Leg.
Had an argument with good friend James about him being so gaddamn tight with his weed.
Bruce's nasal passages.
Took lots of pictures and then someone stole the bottle of red I was quaffing from, turned to see it was one of the catering staff trying to clean up, found this particularly unacceptable and so chased him into the back tent where old wizened dinner lady of doom attempted to stop me. Fool! I careened around the tent after the bottle of wine they were passing between themselves trying to keep it out of my reach. I stopped following the bottle realising that they were taking advantage of my drunken state, and suddenly lunged at the dinner lady, grabbed the bottle and tore it from her grasp with a triumphant cheer. She turned to the table behind her and came up facing me with a butcher’s knife. I fled screaming like a petrified eunuch but WITH MY WINE! Huzzar!
Tom more pissed.
Tom more pissed still (and looking for a thick ear!)
Anyway, those who were still reveling were finally ejected from the marquee and into the quiet and very sleepy streets of East Mince at about four in the a.m. What followed is patchy at best. I think I was challenging some huge bald bloke who I had been told was the head of South African Special Police Forces to a kung-fu match. Thankfully he was all loved up on something or other and so we ended up leaning against each other for support as we walked about the village singing garbled songs about women that we’d loved and lost. Two people opened their darkened bedroom windows to join in, or possibly to convey their desire for us to “Cease your singing immediately. I didn’t fight in the war to have to put up with this!”
Sometime later still and Tom and I, failing to find Ben, decided enough was enough. Tom couldn’t stand up and only barely managed to mumble whereas I was quite morose because Cathy had left the doorway that we had been sitting in chatting to go and find Andrew and then head to bed. I was particularly enamoured by her Irish lilt and witty banter (and her leg!)by this stage and so obviously felt near suicidal when she got up to leave. Seeing Tom leaning against a wall and dribbling onto his sock made me feel better and so we found my car and set off for the three minute drive back to the B&B. Two things; firstly, Ben’s tent was in the back of my car and, yes, I was incredibly drunk. This has never stopped me before and I am glad to say that Tom, my car and I made it back to the accommodation perfectly fine.
I awoke bleary eyed the next morning and it all came flashing back. It wasn’t so much that I was drunk but more that I was drunk therefore in utter hysterics with Tom when I found myself no longer on the windy country lane but on a tractor path. I tried to amend said detail by yanking the steering-wheel hard to the right, thus hitting the bank between tractor path and tarmac, creaming the front of the car and almost flipping us over. And then there was Ben. Where had he got to after I drove off with his tent? I quickly showered and drove back into the village and to the playing fields where I had last seen the Mole. No sign. Next I tried the pub where Ziggy and Anna and the whole family were having breakfast.
“Hey, morning Bruce! How’s it going? Heard you crashed the car!”
“Morning Chris, hang on how the fuck do you know that?!”
“Small village my friend. And now I guess you are looking for Ben?”
“Oh god, what has he done?”
“Well, as I understand it he broke into Anna’s parents’ neighbours’ house and tried to goto sleep in their bed whilst they were still in it..”
..”yes indeed, but they kindly redirected him to the attic room. I believe he is still there. Shall we pop round and drag him out?”
“Yes. And apologise to the owners. I don’t know if adequate apology exists.”
Sunday morning Revelations.
Tom pointing out the fact that he's a retard (and the bank and the bit that fell off my bumper etc. etc. murmur, murmur....)
Anyway, this is a boring story and I’m bored now. It was a wicked wedding and a great laugh. The Peugeot made it back down to Plymouth but then exploded the next day. I have a new car now, thanks to a certain Dr. Jones, so all’s well that starts off sketchy, gets worse, crashes and then end’s well. Blah-de-Blah YAWN!