In an astute comment on my last post, in which I’d briefly agonised about the theological and ethical aspects of modern-day christenings, Z neatly caught the zeitgeist, with “any excuse for a party, I reckon.” I reckon Jesus would have approved.
Also worth noting is that it’s probably one of the few celebrations at which the guest of honour is the only person present who starts the party with absolutely no idea what’s going on, and waits for everyone else to catch up.
I can’t draw the context too broadly – that would have to start with the conception – so let’s go from 9.30 on Saturday morning, when I found that the burglar alarm had thrown a sulky, costing me fifteen minutes of K’s anxiety that we were going to be late (plus the ten that it took me to go back and pick up the phone I’d forgotten), before we were able to get to Southampton airport with an hour and a half to spare.*
We were collected on arrival in Jersey (not immediately, but not too many K-Anx points later) and spent the afternoon not helping people to do things they’d either already done or couldn’t be bothered with. A heavyweight marquee and a couple of lighter gazebos had been installed just in case of a bit of rain or wind, and these had to be tested, by sitting under them during the occasional shower, testing the beer.
I didn’t enjoy the big (in two senses) restaurant meal in the evening. The locale was fine, and the food was okay for quality, but served in off-putting quantities. I don’t want eighteen spare ribs on my plate, with chips, especially after a bucket of mussels big enough to bale out the Titanic. And I can never hear what anyone’s saying, and I know they can’t hear my replies. And I was knackered. And the bottles of Bombay Sapphire on the tables proved to be full of tap water.
After the christening at midday on Sunday, the party in the marquee, gazebos and adjoining house was fine. Well lubricated and not over-watered or ventilated. And it proves acceptable to conduct a hog-roast inside a marquee. I must admit these nine-hour stand-up bashes seem to be getting harder, though, especially when there’s no dancing. I recognised quite a few people without really knowing who they were, which made for some interesting conversational tactics. I enjoy that kind of thing – tricks like “When did I last see you? Must have been at the wedding, I remember us chatting but I honestly can’t remember what about…?” usually yield up enough clues to move forward.
K and I somehow got back to the hotel at about eleven. There’s an unwritten law of parties which states that the complexity of organising a taxi increases in direct proportion to the number of empty bottles. To this must be added the number of helpful advisers explaining that you don’t need one because it’s an easy fifteen minute walk via the unlit short cut across the golf course.
We got back to Southampton too, next day, despite the horrific weather forecasts helpfully showing every ten minutes in the departure lounge, coupled with my knowledge that we’d be in a very small turbo-prop plane at 18,000 feet: even I will confess to a twinge of T-Anx. But luckily K didn’t seem to notice. As it was, all went smoothly, and I was able to walk through my front door in Reading at precisely gin o’clock.
*K is Bertie’s great-grandmother, and does get anxious about things. All of them. I am a very practised K-Anx manager.