Saturday, 22 August 2009

Reader, I married him.

Yesterday at 4.05pm (I was late - I wanted to hear the cricket score) I walked down the aisle, in glorious sunshine (and almost gale force winds) to meet Mr Jones in my dream outside ceremony in front of our family and friends - and it was perfect.

We want to say thank you to everyone who helped to make our wedding so amazing. I still can't quite believe it, it was so beautiful. I am very excited to be Mrs Jones - and I love how excited Mr Jones seems about it all too.

I'd like to say a very special thank you to the Mother of the Bride - who was so desperate to make my day perfect that she hasn't slept or eaten more than a morsel in days. Mummy - I know I snapped and snorted and generally displayed bridezilla-ish tendancies, which you of course bore the brunt of - but I honestly, truly couldn't have had such a perfect day without your help. It was my dream come true - so thank you. (I'd also like to add that really you only have yourself to blame for my ingrained perfectionism and pickiness - because I take after you and you taught me to have big dreams).

Anyway - I've been desperate to share all of the little wedding bits of pieces with you all and I shall enjoy boring all of you who couldn't be there with every detail of the day when we get back from our honeymoon. We can't wait for the photos. Take care and thank you all again.

Friday, 21 August 2009

I'm getting married today!

Hurrah - it's finally here (hear sigh of relief from everyone involved). Today I am getting married to Mr Jones. Of course I became Mrs Jones legally yesterday - and I will admit that I found the old registry office bit more moving than I thought I would. We smiled a lot.

But today is our proper wedding - the one that will make Mr Jones and I truly husband and wife. The weather is still keeping me in a constant state of nervous tension - although the Beeb reckon that at 4pm Lyveden will be bathed in sun (well Corby anyway - and that's near enough - fingers crossed).

Yesterday I had a bridezilla moment about the wine glasses which I think shocked the Mother in Law. But honestly they looked like they would have felt more at home in a bowls club cheese and wine night circa 1985. Luckily the maid of honour was on the phone and remedied the situation professionally while I stalked about fuming and ranting - "See - this is what happens when you delegate - I should have just ordered them myself".

The mother in law left shortly afterwards clearly thinking that her son is marrying some kind of controlling harridan. To be fair I probably didn't help the situtaion because I got a bit obsessed about table cloths and the precise way to fold a napkin - oh well - it's my wedding and I want it done properly.

This morning we are making scones - I apologise to the mother of the bride and the maid of honour for my mood swings and for the fact that I just accused my mother of trying to damage the beloved Kitchenaid - when actually it turns out she was just trying to move it! I'm sure my mental stability will return at some point this morning.

Can't wait to see you all later!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Sick as a dog

Aside from the famed cough, when I get excited/nervous I get a frequent and uncontrollable urge to throw up. I have no idea why. So today I feel very, very sick.

I'm not nervous that Mr Jones won't turn up - oh no - after all we're going to the registry office today - together - to do the legal bit. So after signing all the paper work and making it official today, it would be pretty pointless if he didn't turn up tomorrow for our "proper" wedding.

However I am slightly nervous that everything that has been in my head for the past 18 months (29 years!) won't all come together at once, or that I've forgotten to do something vital, or that my sleep deprived face will show through even Mrs Green's most masterful make-up efforts. Or perhaps my worst fear - that the predicted scattered showers will decide to scatter themselves over lyveden at precisly 4pm tomorrow afternoon.

So a quick reminder to all our guests - I am determined to have this ceremony outside - so unless there is an utter downpour it will be in the glorious open. Bring wellies, big umbrellas and prepare to run for cover if the heavens open. Hopefully if we're thus prepared the sun will shine.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Sweat Shop

If you were in the vacinity of Queens Street yesterday you may have heard the whirring of sewing machines, the odd burst of swearing, the puff of a steam iron and the chatter of women working. We sewed and steamed and tied and knotted to make pretty things for the wedding. The to-do list is almost ticked off. Not long now. A big thank you to the Mother of the Bride and the Maid of Honour for their help and humour.

The marquee goes up today and the wine is off to be chilled, the suits are to be picked up and Mr Jones is at home to be organised(!).Tomorrow the baking will start. The kitchen floor has just been cleaned in anticipation.

The only unknown is the weather. This morning the BBC says heavy rain showers, as do and GMTV - yes I've checked them all. The satelite maps don't look too bad - but lets keep our fingers crossed for stiff breeze on Thursday to blow it all away.

This morning Mr Jones and I had a lovely bacon sandwich - we heartily recommend Beans cafe in Stamford for breakfast. The promise of a bacon sarnie out is a very handy tool to get lazy men out of bed and moving on their first day off in months - he's even had his hair cut and it's only 10.26!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

It's in the house

The dress is here and the spare room is strictly a no-go-zone for Mr Jones and cats with dirty paws or a penchant for scratching things.

It looks beautiful and all the sleepless nights, caused by a certain photograph taken by the Mother of the Bride in which the dress looked hideous, are well and truly over - and she promises never to come near me with a camera again.

Now I just have to get round to breaking in my shoes.

Busy, busy, busy

I completely forgot to take pictures of my baking efforts, but fear not there will be more this week. For the first time ever my ginger fudge went completely wrong - and I have neither the time nor the patience (nor the pennies) for make another batch. But never mind there will be plenty of other things to eat.

The charity fete went well - though it wasn't as busy as last year - perhaps the credit crunch is making people less generous? I'm not sure if I've made a grave error and tempted fate a little too much. You see there was a newspaper man there to take the obligatory picture for the local paper (for local people don't you know) and when he asked my name Mr Jones and I said "Rebecca Jones". Was that wrong - the paper comes out on Wednesday?

Today we have made table plans (no easy task especially when people keep changing their minds about whether they're coming or not!), we have filled bags, cut out fabric (I have a bruised index finger on my right hand) and ticked lots of things off the to-do list.

On thing that I managed to achieve that was most definitely not on the to-do list was to scrape the bumper of a rather nice BMW parked outside our house. (It was only a matter of time - and in my defence my parallel parking efforts were under pressure from a very impatient person sitting right up my proverbial). I cried a lot, shouted at Mr Jones (he was just there) and I've left an apologetic note to the owner, but as yet I haven't been hunted down. I do hope they won't be too cross - but you know what they say about BMW drivers.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

I'm free!

Oh I forgot to say - the work is done and I'm free - for almost a month, hurrah.

Today will be filled with honeymoon shopping, facials and cake baking. FOr those of you in the Stamford area on Saturday do come and visit Mr Jones and I and the best man for that matter - at the Alms House Fete in Bourne (am) - we'll be doing the tea and cakes and raising money for charity.

I will of course fill you in on my baking efforts later on - the kitchen floor is licking it's lips.

To sleep, perchance to dream

I'm not sure where it's nerves of excitement, but sleep and I are struggling to get it together at the moment. Of course Mr Jones isn't helping.

The night before last I'd just drifted off and must have been slipping silently into a blissful deep sleep when all of a sudden the nerves in every inch of my body sprang into action as I realised with spine tingling sensation that someone was watching me (I'm a bit paranoid and sensitive about people watching me sleep ever since a man climbed through my window in London - but that's a tale for another day).

My eyes flashed open and were confronted by the sight of Mr Jones' nose about an inch from my own. "What on earth are you doing?"

"I want a kiss," he demands sleepily - planting me with a big stubble covered smacker that prevents me breathing in for more time than is comfortable.

"Err right - I was asleep, thanks" (Sorry if this seems ungrateful and terribly unromantic but I am quite tired)

He jousles me round and traps me in a hot and humid bear hug which I am unable to escape from as he slips into a snore filled slumber. I lie there wide eyed wondering if I have enough ribbon and whether I'll look nice in my dress. An hour later I'm still awake.

At 4am - after perhaps four hours sleep I'm awake again, worrying about the weather. When Mr Jones snores his way back into consciousness at 7.30am I confront him about his amorous advances. "Did I? OOps sorry - must have been dreaming."

I resist the urge to punch him - all that and he can't even remember it!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

If only there was time....

Several people have sent us this - - and suggested that we might like to try something similar.

Those of you who have seen either myself or Mr Jones dancing will be well aware that this is sheer madness. We have neither the talent nor co-ordination to pull it off and with just nine days to go there isn't time for us to even try - I hope you won't be too disappointed!


Ps - In other news we'd like anyone who knows Mr Schumacher to pass on the following message - "we don't believe that you have a neck injury - we just think that you don't want people to realise that your 'skill' was really just the car." All hail Jenson and Lewis.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Miss O'Neill Gets Married

I have had a partner in all this wedding planning - not Mr Jones you understand - but Miss O'Neill. Together we've talked flowers and frocks, lamented the lack of RSVPs and the laziness of husbands-to-be, we've discussed hairstyles, searched for earrings, compared perfumes and discussed first dances - and on Saturday Miss O'Neill got to go through it all first.

The weather was perfect, the venue was stunning and Miss O'Neill walked up the aisle to become Mrs Nightingale looking utterly beautiful. I hope my wedding is just as lovely - though I am sad that she will miss it and hope that she'll spare me a thought from the beach in the Maldives.

The Kale Wars

In the battle of Mrs Jones-to-Be vs The Cabbage Whites I have had to admit defeat. Despite the help of a highly trained (though less than dedicated) butterfly assasin (Miss Penny) yesterday at 14.00hrs I laid to rest the kale bed.

The veg patch has been somewhat neglected this past week thanks to rain and wedding prepartions, so I was slightly shocked to discover that the once lush, perfectly curled emerald leaves of my kale were looking just a touch lacy and were teaming with hundreds (I exaggerate not) of caterpillas in various sizes - it was quite disgusting.

Unfortunately one of the courgette plants was caught in the cross fire, so that had to go too. But on a lighter not there was some encouraging tomato related news. Cowering beneath the decimated kale were some nice fat, juice red ones, completely caterpilla free - hurrah. I plan to do something inventive with them for my lunch.

Friday, 7 August 2009

In two weeks time..

...I will have been married for about 30 minutes. Well actually I will have been legally married for about 30 hours. For those of you who don't know it's not legal to get married outside in the UK - and Mr Jones and I will be getting married outside.

So on Thursday 20th at 11am we'll be heading to the registry office to do "the legal bit". No pomp and ceremony, just us and our immediate family going to sign the documents. We're not exchanging rings or saying vows there - we're saving all of that for our very personal humanist ceremony outside at beautiful Lyveden the next day. (Start your sun dance now please)

All this means that every year Mr Jones has two attempts at remembering one of our wedding anniversaries. I did try to make a case for two lots of presents - but he was having none of it.

I can't believe how close it is - and as stressful and manic as it's been I think I shall miss all the planning. But I have two weeks left to make the most of it and I really can't wait for the day!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

There is a plan

Last night we met at glorious Lyveden (yes - the sky spat at us again - but the sun was trying to peep through the clouds and hopefully by August 21st it will have made it).

Mr Catering and Mr Bar had got themselves together and suggested we all get together to run through everything. Given that they're both men I was incredibly encouraged by this display of efficiency. So we stood in the field and imagined the tent, we paced and gestured and somehow we have a plan as to how we will be feeding and watering you all. It's a very flexible plan given the inconsistency of our weather (I curse El Nino on a daily basis - apparently it's changed course and stolen our summer heatwave - not that I'm overly fixated on the weather you understand).

There will be A LOT of food - so do come hungry - and if you haven't yet told us that you're a vegetarian do let us know - otherwise you'll have to eat hog or simply a roll full of stuffing.

The Book Thief

This morning I woke up early and finished The Book Thief. I sobbed (as silently as I could because Mr Jones was still asleep), through the last fifty pages. And now the tears keep prickling like they did after The Time Traveller's Wife and The Bronze Horseman. It was a marvellous book, you should read it, but be prepared, it sucks you in and then stabs you in the heart.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A need to clean...

Yesterday I was talking to another bride-to-be, who gets married this Saturday in fact, and we both confessed to an urge to clean. I am desperate to dejunk under the bed and tidy up my kitchen draws, the other bride wants to weed her wardrobe and spent yesterdays lunch break doing a charity shop run.

I told Mr Jones about my sudden penchant for furniture polish and he just rolled his eyes: "don't you have enough to do?". Clearly yes I do, but I just can't help it. Maybe it's a living metaphor, a kind of packing up Miss Speechley so that Mrs Jones can come home from her honeymoon to a clutter free house. Very odd I know. Either that or I'm worried that whoever feeds the cats while we're away will discover the shameful state of the space under my bed and I will be forever cast as the girl who sleeps above a mini waste pit.

Anyway, a mid baking, sweet making, sewing and making ever changing table plans I will be sorting. chucking, weeding, dusting and polishing - I may even clean the car.

Monday, 3 August 2009

This week - aside from jam we have....

1. Made muffins to stay thank you
2.Turned homegrown courgettes into a second stag do hangover cure (by way of Madhur Jaffry and her courgette "meatball" curry)
3. Finished the sewing things for the wedding
4. Ordered confetti
5. Been sucked into The Book Thief
6. Watched the cricket and cursed the weather

How to make Jam - by Mrs Jones to Be

Our wedding requires jam - so I thought I'd give it a go. Delia's recipes required stop clocks and thermometres. I am not from the Delia school of cookery (especially not if we're talking about her latest incarnation - frozen mash potato and tinned mince - I ask you - tsk). Anyway I love the woman and some of her recipes are delicious (lemon ricotta cheesecake, oven baked mushroom risotto, cajun salmon and black bean salsa to name but a few), but Mr Jones and I read her recipes with much mirth. "Preheat your grill to high and place the shelf exactly seven inches from the heat source, then cook your salmon for precisely six minutes.....". I like to cook a bit more organically - in the vein of Mr Oliver and Ms Lawson. So twas to Ms Lawson I turned for instructions for jam. They were sketchy to say the least - but here goes.

Buy strawberries and remove stalks - cut them up if you want to. Chuck them in a preserving pan.

Add preserving sugar - the granules of this are alarming large but apparently it gives you a more 'jewel' like jam.

Add some lemon juice (for pectin to help it set) and some balsamic vinegar. Now this balsamic vinegar was why I chose this recipe - hoping that it might give me a marvellously different tasting jam - but no, the quantity was so scant that it was hardly worth the bother, so if I were you I'd leave it out. Give it all a good stir and begin to heat gently.

Bring to the boil and cook for 4-8 minutes (notice the vaguary) until you get wrinkles on the surface of the jam when you place small teaspoonful on an icy cold plate that has spent the last 10 minutes residing in the freezer.

So the instructions were duly followed. The jam looked wrinkly and I left it to cool for the required 20 minutes. However Ms Lawson doesn't specify the degree of wrinkliness required - I didn't know whether we were talking Andie Mcdowal wrinkly (I hate that woman) or Robert Redford wrinkly. I went for Andie. But after the alotted 20 minutes I decided to add more lemon juice and go for a full on Robert to get the damn stuff to set.

By this point I was feeling rather sick from all the fingers I'd had to lick post wrinkle test (obligatory - it was a Nigella recipe after all) and the lucky old kitchen floor was becoming a mite sticky with jam dribbles. But set it finally did and I am now the proud owner of four jars of homemade strawberry jam (yet to be labelled). Whether or not it tastes any good will be for you to judge.

Halfway through the process I remembered that Mr Jones doesn't actually like strawberry jam - so he'll have to make do with some Bonne Marman instead - oops.

PS - no I have not just rinsed the labels off some Bonne Marman - see the step by step pics!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Three weeks to go....

...I can't really believe that it's just three weeks until I get to marry Mr Jones, there was a time about six years ago that I thought it would never happen.

My first job was for a complementary health magazine - we featured all sorts of weird and wonderful things and in that first summer I found myself on the hot, fetid tube to Earls Court of all places. I was going to see a woman, who for her sins, became known as the spherical psychic.

Her flat was opposite Olympia, the sun was shining outside and as I knocked on her front door I was imagining that it would be opened by a Morticia Adams type - or failing that someone Hepisbar-ish like the character in Carrie's war - with wispy white hair and a jolly smile. But no, when the door finally opened there appeared a woman who's girth was matched in proportion only by her height. She looked like the magician from King Rolo. She was indeed spherical and just slightly odd.

She looked disgruntled at my presence, as if our pre-arranged meeting came as a shock (surely if you're a psychic nothing is a shock?). To hide my embarrassment I asked to use the loo. Now, to say I like things to be clean is possibly an understatement, but I fear that her bathroom hadn't seen "clean" for some years. I washed my hands and tried not to touch anything.

The rest of her flat wasn't much better. I was ushered into her sitting room, where she busied herself finding a space for me to sit. No mean feat, given that every surface was covered in knick knacks, bizarre figurines and the obligatory moons and stars. Everything was shrouded in a layer of that thick dust that you only find in London - dead skin, pollution and general city grime. I perched on the offered chair and handed over my palm.

For the next two hours I was given an insight into my past and future. Apparenlty I hold a lot of resentment for my mother (it hasn't yet appeared), I will have four children - the second of which will be sickly. I will have two career paths - the second won't be as successful as the first. I have healing hands and at some point in the future I will go on a pilgrimage to India where I will learn how to use them and possibly develop a penchant for wearing jewel coloured kaftans.

Of course the part of my palm I was most concerned to hear about was my love line. Mine starts with two lines, which apparently means that I would have two great loves - the first would last roughly two years and was the relationship I was in right now (Mr Jones), the second would be the man that I would marry and go on to have four children with. I listened in stunned silence, my 23 year old self starting to panic that I was soon going to wind up alone and single in the wilds of London in a matter of weeks - Mr Jones and I had been together just over two years!

Eventually she released me and my palms into the 'fresh' London air. I started to cry and I called Mr Jones to relay the news of the imminent demise of our relationship.

A brief note on Mr Jones: Unlike me he is incredibly rational, he takes everything at face value, he doesn't do "spiritual", he also doesn't like crying - especially if I'm the one doing it - it tries his patience.

So when I called him, sobbing by now, and told him where I'd been and what had been discussed, he calmly explained that there was no such thing as a psychic, that the fat old woman knew nothing whatsoever about our relationship, that he loved me and that he had no intention of going anywhere - and as if to drive the point home he told me - in no uncertain terms - that he would never have four children.

The spherical psychic had told me at the beginning of my palm reading - as a kind of disclaimer - that the times given in her reading could be "give or take a few years". So once Mr Jones and I made it to our three year anniversary I re-evaluated her reading - thus:

The relationship before Mr Jones - lasted two, very boring years. I thought I loved him, with hindsight, I'm not sure I did - but for the purpose of spiritual accuracy I choose him as my first "great" love. That means that Mr Jones is my very great love number two, the man I'm going to marry and have four children with - hurrah.

Mr Jones is still yet to be convinced on the four children. I am still waiting to start hating my mother and I have no current plans to change career or visit India - only time will tell if psychics do really exist and if your future can really be told by the lines on your palm. I'll keep you posted.
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