Sadly, I’ve reached the time of life when I get to go to many more funerals than weddings. Until the invitation to Mark and Kate’s nuptials arrived it had been nearly two years since I’d last witnessed a couple tying the matrimonial knot, so I was delighted to be asked. And as an added bonus, their wedding was to take place at one of the colleges of Cambridge University, so picturesque surroundings, excellent food and plenty of fine wine were all pretty much guaranteed.
Mark is my godson. Also, he and his mum are pretty much the only blood relatives I have left, or at least the only ones I’m aware of. However, I’m sad to say that I hardly know him.
Mark lives in London, while Mrs P and I are holed up in the north Midlands. Our paths have crossed only rarely over the years, and although he once stayed with us for a couple of days and his mum updates us from time to time on his exploits, he’s something of a mystery.
The invitation to Mark’s wedding was therefore a pleasant surprise, though not one I probably deserved given my inept performance as a godfather. Even better, it quickly became apparent that Mark is a lovely, caring man.
Although this was his – and Kate’s – big day, Mark went out of his way to greet and make welcome all the guests, to spend loads of time chatting with them, and to find ways of ensuring those guests got to know one another. And he also found plenty of time to be attentive to his 99 years-old wheelchair-bound maternal grandad, whom he clearly adores.
One of Mark’s cunning plans to bring the wedding guests closer together was to lay on an evening barn dance. Such were his powers of gentle persuasion that even I took to the dance floor, for the first time in a couple of decades. Mrs P likes barn dancing, so thanks to my godson I won myself a rare brownie point. Yes, result!
Moreover, I’m proud to report that I held my own in the Gay Gordons, before plumbing hitherto unimagined depths of incompetence while Stripping the Willow.
Mrs P says the latter failure was down to her, but I think she’s just being nice: I really should learn the difference between left and right. But, despite the exhaustion and the humiliation I will confess I thoroughly enjoyed myself, though I don’t imagine I’ll be putting on a repeat performance any time soon.
All too soon the evening was over. Mark and Kate left to begin their new life together. I left, supported by my long-suffering missus, for a quiet lie down in a darkened room. Too much wine and barn dancing can do that to a man.
I’m really pleased we made the trip to Cambridge for Mark’s big day. Partly because families – particularly tiny ones like mine – should stick together, but mainly because he’s a thoroughly decent human being and it was good to spend a few hours in his company.
With luck we’ll meet up with him and Kate again before too long … though probably not on the dance floor!