Arriving at Claridges Hotel by taxi yesterday afternoon was a giddily unreal experience. A liveried doorman helped me out with S's pushchair, and in we went, for the full on Jewish wedding experience. Well actually, this was a notably secular affair compared to the last Jewish wedding we went to. That day at Knebworth House, there were so many rabbis officiating we were squeezed out to an annex to watch the service on a videolink. I later found myself in one of those all male dances, linking arms with the Chief Rabbi to my left and a firebrand radical New York rabbi on my right. I suspect they didn't suspect I was an atheistic Catholic. But I digress.
At Claridges, the bride's sister-in-law was the only rabbi attending, and she was far too busy organising the seating to do any prayers or anything. The registrar played a blinder, the bride and groom exchanged loving and moving vows above the din of attending children (not their own, I hasten to add, and not mine either - he was soundly asleep in his pushchair still).
So it was on to the champagne and canapes. I abstained from the former, as I was in charge of getting S home later. B and the bride go way back - they met at Jewish Camp! when they were fourteen or something - so she would be staying for the duration. The dinky little canapes were, however, at my mercy. I murdered 'em, the tiny salmon ice cream cones in particular. Dinner was at six, but not before the 150 or so guests were invited to join the happy couple in a dance. In my family, this would mean shaking yer booty with your favourite aunty to "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go". Not so in Claridges yesterday. Oh no. The klezmer band hired for the occasion (who seemed to be called "Shia", confusingly) launched into a raucous and riotous catalogue of pounding folk dances, and the assembly, who seconds ago had been milling fragrantly and politely, went Mad For It. Honestly, it was a mosh pit in there. How the bride came out of it with her hair, tiara and strapless dress all intact I shall never know. I took Spike for a closer look, and he was wildly enthusiastic, clapping and cheering on the solicitors, retired folk and other persons of a certain age who were 'aving it large.
Dinner was delicious, the only downer being S's uncomprehending disappointment at not being able to help himself to the wedding cake. I say 'cake', but actually it was scores of little cakes, prettily arranged in a tower, and irresistible to an almost
3 year old.
He had to make do with a muffin from Starbucks in Oxford St on the way home (any port in a storm).
At Oxford Circus tube station, I startled myself by taking the southbound, when I wanted the northbound to get home. Then at Green Park, crossing platforms, an amazing sight - they'd been doing some work on the walls in the sort of atrium, and had uncovered years old cinema adverts. As in a timewarp, I found myself looking at the posters for "Sex Lies And Videotape", and "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover", and thinking to myself, Hey, that looks good, maybe I'll go and see that...
Mazeltov to me and mine also, I think - we went to the Homerton Hospital today and saw the shockingly lovely sight of an embryonic child, ours, lying back asleep with one leg across the other, like it was in a hammock. The sonographer remarked that it seemed very 'chilled'. It then woke up, waved about a bit, then went back to sleep. That's my boy/girl. Hey hey!