So, last night Mr Jones and I took a foray into the world that is cool, hip and alternative. And we didn't fit in at all. Mr Doyle was playing at The Fly on New Oxford Street - a bar with black walls, but surprisingly clean toilets - that is apparently where all great bands start out.
We arrived hideously early and were faced with a bar full of very grungy looking people. At this point I decided that wearing anything Boden was probably was tantamount to signing my own death warrant - shame I was dressed more or less head to foot in it as ever.
Thankfully I had had the forethough to wear my converse trainers (the most "alternative" thing in my wardrobe) and I was pleased to see that these were de rigueur amongst the non-goth customer base (hurrah!). However I still cursed myself for not being in possession of my DMs - which we much beloved by the 13 year old me - and for wincing at the very thought of piercings.
Our hands were duly stamped and we were permitted into the underbelly of the place. It was a room not much bigger than my sitting room - with a stage at one end glowing out into the black, black, black room. I sat on a black sofa and watched people in black mill about. After about 20 minutes, Mr Jones pointed out that I was actually illuminated by a spot light, so I sat a vision in bright blue on the sofa and I mourned the phase in my life when I dressed head to toe in black in the hopes of looking chic - It might have helped me blend in.
Having spied a bottle of Bombay on the wall I asked Mr Jones to get me a calming G&T. Clearly the Bombay was merely a decorative item - my gin came from a glass vat, in which it had likely been proving since 1865. Evidently aware of its paint-stripper nature the kindly bartender served it with lemonade rather than tonic - I managed half of it before feeling like I had downed an entire bottle.
The two painful hours of "bands" were rendered bearable when Mr Doyle came on stage and transported us back to 2001. He dedicated a song to me (at the prior request of Mr Jones - ahhh how lovely). I see the romance now, but at the time, as the eyes of the rest of the crowd turned towards me - "Little miss preppy who had spent the night looking on at them with a mixture of awe and fear on her face" - I was just a touch embarrassed.
Before we left we had a brief chat with Mr Doyle to thank him for the new version of our song and he wished us good luck with the wedding. It was a marvellous night - Mr Jones and I should step out of our very comfortable zone more often.
Mr Jones and I will be taking a break from work next week to do a spot of gardening (if you're envisioning us potting around with a pair of secateurs and a trug full of beautiful cuttings you're looking in someone elses garden - think mud, overgrown grass and rubble and you're getting a bit nearer the mark).
In the midst of the back breaking hard landscaping we'll be popping to London for a night to see Josh Doyle, who you may remember is the creator of our song. Mr Jones dropped him an email to ask him if he might play Army of Two for us - and today he received this reply:
hey - - ill be playing it--- when you're at the gig get the download card for £7 it has an army of 2 version that i recorded for you two to walk down the aisle to or whatever - it turned out really well...
How exciting is that? We actually already have the download card and we've listen to the song, which is slower and accoustic and totally marvellous. Hurrah - a round of applause for Mr Jones and Mr Doyle if you please.
So it seems I'm incapable of making a decision when it comes to jewels. The pearls that we were so excited about have been sent back because the pendant couldn't be attached to the necklace (how stupid?) and because they just looked a bit too twee for me.
The above vintage rhinestone necklace was ordered from Magpie Vintage - which is a veritable treasure trove of all things old and glitzy. It was beautiful but of a length that meant I felt like I was being continuously garotted everytime I put it on. So that's been sent back too.
I have come to the conclusion that I don't have any idea what I want and that I'm going to wait until the next dress fitting to assess the situation, before rushing out and buying something last minute from Accessorize.
I have tried to get Mr Jones' input on this dilemma - but only managed to engage his attention for long enough to receive a non-commital grunt. So helpful.
....look what I made today - Miss Pickering showed me how. She really is adept at teaching you how to make beautiful things more beautiful and her flower school ends with a trip to the Tobie for pizza and a glass of wine - what's not to love? However I'm not totally convinced that she's not training me up to help her with the many weddings she's doing this summer - including my own!
It was looking doubtful, black sky, hammering rain, ridiculous wind - and then all of a sudden a patch of blue appeared and for 90 minutes the weather was amazing. The new brolly was sacrificed to save three Canadian Goslings from the jaws of a rather large and vicious swan on Wollaton Lake (not by me you understand - but by Mr Taylor who doesn't balk at all things feathered). Other than that we just had a great time.
How nice to have a walk with Mr Jones in the countryside with plenty of cuddles and kisses - the best way to spend every Sunday afternoon I think. And as you can see the pictures look amazing. I'm so excited now, and I can't wait to see the wedding pics. Thank you so much Mr Taylor - I really can't believe how amazing they look - thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You can see more pics of us and Mr Taylors other lucky clients here . Let us know what you think. xoxo
Our house is devoid of art - not through choice, but through sheer indecision and laziness. There always seems to be something else to buy.
However I think I have finally fallen in love with an artist. Robert Ryan and his paper cuts - you can see them here, here and at his shop in Columbia Road in London. I think they are simply gorgeous and touching.
Mr Ryan also designs book covers for one of my other great loves - Mr de Bernieres - did you know that my copy of Captain Corellis Mandolin was signed personally by him (it's one of my "things I'd save in a fire") and that he didn't think too much of the film either?
If anyone should want to buy me a present that I will treasure forever I'd suggest a visit to Mr Ryan.
The rescheduled engagement shoot is this sunday. I have been avidly checking BBC weather on a daily basis. On Tuesday the forecast was for miserable, ceaseless downpours. Wednesday it just said rain. Yesterday it was heavy rain showers that promise to soak you in seconds and give you brief respite inbetween to just get dry, before you get caught again. Today it says the same. I have taken precautionary measures and invested in a pair of wellies for Mr Jones.
You will recall that the initial engagement shoot day (a balmy one in early spring) was cancelled because Mr Taylor had man flu. I am currently playing nurse to Mr Jones, who is in bed with what he assures me is a hideous cold bordering on man/swine flu. I am attempting to be sympathetic and have reassured him kindly that he will be better by Sunday.
I have searched and searched for jewels. I have despaired at the fact that neither of my lovely grandmothers have any to bestow upon me, cursed the plethora of tatt that seems to fill the shops and have become positively enraged at some of the suggestions that have come my way (no diamante from Miss Selfridge will not do - honestly I ask you!)
I've finally settled on some lovely pearls, with just a bit of sparkle - I aim to keep them to give to my granddaughter on her wedding day. (Please note I'm speaking metaphorically here - I don't actually have grandchildren at the age of 29). I hope they meet with your approval (the pearls that is - not the grandchildren).
NB - apparently the neighbours heard me screeching like a fishwife at the cats last night - I'm sure I've shot up greatly in their estimation - ho hum!
Anyone who knows me well will know that I am terrified of birds. This phobia came about after a nasty incident in a chicken shed involving my red wellies and a particulary vicious cockrel.
Miss Penny, the kitten cat, it seems is not aware of the fact that birds in close proximity bring me out in a cold sweat and give me the most alarming palpitations. So when I got home from work last night there she sat, on the door mat, proudly displaying a very much alive baby sparrow.
Mr Jones is, AGAIN, living it up in Wigan so I had to summon every inch of resolve and bravery in my body to deal with the problem myself.
I had to quickly dispatch Miss Penny, who was about to demonstrate her position in the world order by biting off its head, and then with a dustpan and brush (held at arms length) I swept up the forlorn little thing and hastily deposited it into next door's ivy. I then spent the next half and hour breathlessly guarding the cat flap and attempting to engage Miss Penny in a fight with a toy mouse.
Had I not been back in boot camp I might have poured myself a stiff G&T to aid my recovery - but instead I made do with iced water.
I was immensely cheered up yesterday by a thoughful gift from the lovely Miss Correa. A gorgeous copy of Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights sat smiling up at me on my desk when I returned from yet another press haul to London.
I returned the favour by bestowing on her a fetching sequin union jack pillow (al la Colin and Justin at Matalan) and a large navy handbag with a gold chain handle. I feel I came off rather better in the deal and Miss C thinks she did - so we're happy all round.
I spent last night reading all about Miss Dahl's foodie memories - made me quite nostalgic and just a little bit desperate for a slice of Victoria Sponge. However I was disturbed to read that her excess weight just "dropped off" without the need for endless hours at the gym or a numb bum from spinning class (more of which I will be enduring tonight).
Today in the Yours office we received a letter from a reader asking us for advice - it went something like this:
When our granddaughter (36) told us she was a lesbian we tried to accept it, but now they’re getting married and have invited us to the wedding. I obviously want her to be happy, but don’t feel I can accept the invitation because we don’t agree with her choice. Do you have any advice?
Yours Jane (scribbled out and replaced with) Lyn surname illegible
It's hit a bit of a raw nerve with me this week so Jane/Lyn or whatever your name is - I have this to say to you:
Weddings are about two people standing up in front of their most treasured friends and family and declaring in front of them all that they have found the one, single person in the world who makes them feel truly happy, loved and special.
It doesn't matter what sex, colour or religion they are and it doesn't matter whether or not you agree with their match or the way they're getting married, or who is on the guest list or whether your children have been invited. What matters is that two people have asked you to share in their special day. They want you to be there to share their happiness and I think you should respect that.
You should put aside your issues, gripes and grievances and remember that a wedding isn't about you and your opinions or issues - it's about two people who love each other and want to be together forever - and in this day and age that's something that deserves celebrating.
So Jane/Lyn - I say suck it up, stop being so damn selfish and be there to support your Granddaughter on her special day.
If anyone would like a wedding related fight this week I'm well and truly up for it - so bring it on (in the most ladylike fashion of course!)
If you're getting married - be prepared to argue. Not about what shade of pink your flowers should be, or which songs should make the wedding playlist, but about other people, their opinions, their expectations and keeping them happy.
For a wedding you see isn't just about you and your groom - it seems to be about everyone else too. And "everyone else" doesn't seem to care if you have a vision for your day, or that you have been working for months and months and months to create something wonderful, "everyone else" would just like to chip in their five pence worth regardless of your best laid plans. And it seems that on top of everything else it's your job to make everyone else blissfully happy.
In the eight years that Mr Jones and I have been together we have rarely had a serious arguement - you know the sort that very quickly get out of control, the kind that feel like the arguement is actually having you, rather than you having it. The sort where you end up wondering how it even started and by the end of it you're not quite sure what your point was. Before the beginning of this year we'd had a maximum of two. In the past five months alone we have had three - all courtesy of "everyone else".
So if you're planning to get married you have two choices - 1 - tell everyone from the very beginning that you don't care what they think or feel about it but that you're having your wedding, your way. Or 2 - prepare to argue - not with them - but with the person you love most - even though you know it's neither of your faults and that the argument isn't about either one of you.
There is one final (and probably preferable) option - elope.
I have decided that meetings are the way forward. Today we met with Mr Rose from The Posh Tent company to discuss our marquee and The Next Day Bride and her Husband to Be. (The Next Day Bride - is funnily enough - getting married the day after us at Lyveden and is sharing our marquee).
This marquee sharing thing had me in a bit of a panic and I had visions of missing a delicious breakfast at Oundle Mill to have to clear up after my wedding. But it seems this won't be the case and we have a plan in place to make one wedding slip seamlessly into the other.
We've also garnered you all some more elbow room with bigger tables and now have half a clue where the ceremony might take place. And - Shock horror - Mr Jones stayed awake, paid attention and even had a few things to say throughout! A round of applause for him please. xxx
Yesterday the Father of the Bride and I went to Lord's to watch a spot of cricket. Cricket is my kind of game. Any sport that encourages the drinking of pimms and enforces a break for lunch and another for afternoon tea is bound to have me hooked. We had a marvellous time - especially once the rain stopped and Mr Onions and Mr Swann started taking wicket after wicket - hurrah.
To the gentleman who was rude enough to tell us that we looked more like we were dressed for a day walking in the Lake District than a day watching cricket - I would like to say (on behalf of the other 50 per cent of the crowd wearing waterproof jackets to keep out the biting wind and precipitation) - at least I'm warm and dry. I'd also like to add that Ralph Lauren is sooooo 1995, your trousers are too short, your shoes need cleaning and that we all prefer the Peaks to the lakes.
This evening I met with Mark and Angela who are providing us with the beautiful Lyveden for the wedding. Mr Jones is helpfully ensconced in Wigan (again!) and despite a heated debate, and much pouting on my behalf, was unable to get back for the meeting (tsk!)
Luckily he wasn't missed, because as I'm sure you've gathered, there is little, if anything, that he knows about the wedding that I didn't tell him in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I miss his cuddles enormously, but when it comes to wedding discussions, he's really only there to look pretty.
Anyway - Lyveden looked more beautiful than ever, the sky was filled with grey tinged clouds and the sun was setting rosey in the sky. It was very quiet and mystical and completely perfect. For the first time in ages I felt very, very excited about the wedding (hurrah - finally!) and telling Mark and Angela all of our plans and listening to their suggestions made it all the more real. I just can't wait for you all to see it. Only 107 days to go!
This week a few people have asked me what they should wear to the wedding. To a few of them I have wanted to reply: "Oh are you coming? I haven't had your RSVP you see, so I wasn't quite sure if you'd be attending or not." But of course remonstrating your guests for not sending you a beautiful hand written RSVP isn't the done thing. So I bit my tongue.
The Sunday Times Style supplement this week had some novel suggestions - including a bright orange maxi dress and a crazy red pintuck tunic top (their fashion pages are clearly compiled by a half blind fashionista who has never been a bride - and is unlikely ever to be one if she's the sort to waste £290 on a bright orange maxi dress!)
I'm sure you have more taste than to don anything quite so monstrous and if you do please don't be offended if I stop mid aisle to point and laugh. Anyway - I don't mind at all what you wear - though anyone turning up in jeans or anything less than formal attire will be ducked in the moat.
Don't forget your hat - there will be a prize for the best one of course - or an bring a cardigan - Lyveden is notoriously windy.
It appears some of the invites have gone astray in the post! Apologies if yours is one of them. Don't you just love Royal Mail? Apparently our invitations have made it as far as the US and a couple have even reached France (where the postal workers have two hour lunches and a penchant for pastis ) - but it seems rural England is a step too far for the old posties. Or perhaps on the day we can expect a raft of postmen to appear, waving stolen invites and begging for a bit of hog roast. At this point, I don't really care, as long as they RSVP and buy us a present of course.
.... fully intact and devoid of any additions - hurrah. I was hoping he'd still be wearing his frock - but apparently the majority of his accessories are now adorning various members of the more dubious parts of Prague's society (a charitable donation clearly - I hear few of them own many clothes). Mr Jones felt that without the means to accessorise the look really wasn't sustainable!
He is now asleep on the sofa. The cats and I have just been discussing how much we've missed the symphonic range of his snoring.
Hi I'm on Michael's phone because my skirt has no pockets. Speak to you later. Love you lots. X
Should you be in Prague and are lucky enough to meet a tired looking Englishman sporting a skirt, blouse, purple cardigan, pearls, fishnets and carrying a small toy dog - you may well have bumped into Mr Jones. Apparently he is also wearing a silver crown and is supposed to look like the Queen. I am assured that there is photographic evidence - which I will of course share in due course.
When asked why he hadn't put his own mobile phone in his handbag(!) he said it hadn't occurred to him. Honestly! He's usually quick enough to fill up mine.
Mrs Jones is a far from yummy mummy with a penchant for M&S fudge bars and a mojito on a Friday night. She became Mrs Jones in 2009 and a mummy in 2010. In 2011 she is attempting to remember her own name and not put washing powder in the dishwasher....