Sunday, 28 January 2007

Morning Suits but no hats

We just got back from London. It was hectic.

It was supposed to be a stag weekend, but I muscled in and travelled down to the Big Smoke with Dan last Thursday.

The six main men were to visit Moss Bros on Saturday afternoon, and Kathryn and I were to do a show. But it was obvious in the pub on Friday night that Aaron wanted some female input on the outfits. So we met up in Oxford Street with the two best men, Peter (principal best man), Mad Max (co-best man) and the ushers. Aaron’s father and brother couldn't make it.

The shop was chaotic, but Terry, the black sales assistant managed to sort us out while dealing with three other people at the same time. Aaron chose a traditional morning suit: gray striped trousers and black jacket, but there was a mind boggling array of waistcoats and cravats, the choice of which demanded feminine fashion sense. We chose a gray waistcoat and a blood red cravat to provide a splash of colour.

Aaron looked amazing: so did Dan. They all looked handsome, even Mad Max despite being vertically challenged looked a right little dapper strutting up and down in his tails. The top hats were toyed with but, after much hilarity, got the thumbs down.

Aaron never stopped smiling all day.

Pleased with their choice, the guys headed for the pub (many pubs) while Kathryn and I went to see the Mousetrap. They were very drunk when we met up with them later. On the way back to Fulham, we called in a sweaty dive, where we danced wildly into the morning to the lyrics of the King sang by a black, gay Elvis impersonator. I want to book him for my sixtieth party.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Fabulous Shoes

It’s my day off and I did lots of weddingy things. This morning I took Aaron’s birth certificate to the Registrar for verification as he’s from the south, Cambridge to be specific. They gave me a blue form which I now have to take to Father Michael, our parish priest, who will lock it away until the wedding on 28th September: exciting!

Later I picked up my friend Jayne, and we went on a wedding shoe expedition to Stockton Heath. The day before Jayne had spotted sales signs in the posh boutiques, and on arrival produced an array of elegant black sandals and smart shoes from the shelves, for my perusal. “No, too high, I’ll never walk in them,” I said casting the 5 inch heels aside.
“No, too much bling. It’s a wedding I’m going to, not a disco,” I said.
Bling’s fine at weddings now,” the shop assistant assured me.
Yes, I thought, especially £122 pound diamante encrusted bling.
“Wow! What about these,” Jayne said holding up a pair of sexy, strappy sandals, decorated, according to the assistant, with genuine Austrian crystal.
After figuring which way the straps went and struggling with the fastener, I sadly had to admit,“My feet are just too narrow and too flat. They don’t do a thing for me.”
They nodded in unison.
“Oh! Now, this has to be the pair,” Jayne said waving yet more designer shoes in my face.
“Yes! Oh! Yes!” I agreed, prancing up and down in a pair of smart sling backs with a medium sized heel, very pointed, in a kind of soft black suede material. The top of the shoe had a see through piece – very modern – topped with a neat little bow.
"But they're £69," I whispered to Jayne. I've never paid that much for a pair of shoes, ever."
"Reduced from £104," said the eavesdropping assistant.
"It's your only daughter's wedding," Jayne reminded me.
“You're right," I acquiesced without too much persuasion.

Clutching the designer bag to my bosom we headed for the nearest wine bar.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

Friday, 12 January 2007

Red Rose

A sample of a single red rose wedding invitation arrived today. The rose looked stark on the white background. Kathryn and Aaron have chosen the red rose as the theme for their wedding.

Dan and I are visiting them in London at the end of this month, so that Dan can be fitted for his morning suit. I hope that Aaron decides against top hats, as Dan just doesn’t look right in hats.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

Friday, 5 January 2007

Sixties Outfit

Sixties gear is back in fashion, and today, while indulging in retail therapy, I noticed the shops are full of mini dresses with crazy psychedelic swirls, geometric patterns, cut-out shapes and key holes. I spied a young girl walking down the high street in a black and white dogtooth check pinafore dress, worn over a black polo neck sweater, with zig-zaggy patterned tights and shiny black knee length boots. Her sleek bobbed hair was topped with a white crocheted peaked cap. Thinking how cute she looked, I had to blink hard to assure myself I hadn’t walked into a time warp and this was really 2007 not 1967.

I resolved to buy myself a new outfit for my 60s party, thinking that by June the fashion could change, 70s maybe? I own a vintage black and white Mary Quant style 60's dress, but it’s a micro-mini and I can’t move in it without showing my knickers, so that’s out.

I waded through endless outfits. Sadly, they didn’t look quite the same on me, even though I’ve still got my figure, I’m no longer twenty. But with the fresh faced assistant's help I made a choice: black and white (that's all I'm saying). I haven't showed Dan yet. Whether I’ll wear it or not is another matter.

I never thought I’d look forward to being sixty, but strangely I am.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Phone Call

Jon rang last night from his Tucson prison. We get a five minute call most weeks, but last night he was cut off after just three. As always he was upbeat and cheerful but particularly pleased because he has been asked to write a column, on prison life, for a magazine.

He wants to become a writer when he is released at the end of this year.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Return to Work

The Happy New Years weren’t shouted with such glee this morning as everyone returned to college, looking worn out from the celebrations. The building was cold after being closed for two weeks and tutors sat in coats checking their emails, drinking hot tea and coffee.
The return to normality was comforting. The students aren’t back until tomorrow, so everywhere was quiet. I intended to escape at lunch to check out a printers in the high street for wedding invitations, but our staff development session went on too long.

For the past three years, I've missed the 'joys' of Christmas staff development, and the joys of Christmas in the UK altogether. I've been in Arizona visiting my son Jon in prison. Last year we had Christmas dinner at Dennys after our visit. To avoid high seasonal prices I visited him in October last with Dan and my sister, Lizzy.

I won't see Jon again until his release at the end of the the end of the year. I keep saying it over and over to convince myself it's actually so close.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

Monday, 1 January 2007

Happy New Year

“What will 2007 bring?” Dan asked yawning.
“It’s just a number," I said matter-of-factly trying to force myself out of bed, nearly breaking my New Year’s resolution to push aside dark thoughts which enter my head every morning when I awake. “Yes, and seven is a lucky number, so maybe it’ll be lucky for the world,” I managed to say, thinking of Iraq and global warming.

We had sat with friends eating nouvelle cuisine in a posh restaurant the previous night. We toasted the New Year and hugged each other. My hugs have become desperate lately. I don’t know if our friends have noticed my need to find comfort in physical contact with other human beings, clinging on longer than I should. A need to be reassured by the solidity of their bodies that it’s OK, we are all in this together.

Feelings of anticipation and excitement, new beginnings and a chance to start afresh were all stirred up inside me. Jon, my son, in a cell. He is always with me. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second. In the warm convivial atmosphere of the restaurant he was there. Not in the gut wrenching way he used to be, but there with a gentle sad ache that never leaves.

“All the best”, “Happy New Year”, Auld Lang Syne playing loudly, holding hands with strangers, dancing wildly.

Inebriated phone messages from Kathryn and Aaron shouting, “Happy New Year”, “Love you”. They’re laughing, full of joy, high on their love and happiness, and I’m filled with a warm glow.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood
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