Talking of Catherine and Arnaud, incidentally: they were the reason I was in France taking photos of over-priced salad cream last week. They were having a party; not an anniversary party, but a housewarming, or crémaillaire. That word, apparently, relates to an ancient French custom of hanging up a butter churn when moving into a new house. So I’m told, anyway: my French really isn’t up to much.* If you want to see photos, though, you can do.
* I can say “Je voudrais une grande tranche de gateau“, and, erm, that’s about it.
I found out later that it was quite a historic room, with all its mouldings and recherché cornicing. Back in the 1910s, when equality for women was all the rage, Sylvia Pankhurst held suffragette meetings there. I didn’t know this at the time, though.
W and P looked each other in the eyes, and kissed, and the congregation burst out into a long, long round of applause, so much so that the registrar was almost bowled away with the emotion. So much so, she started playing the Citizenship Ceremony tape instead of the Wedding Ceremony one, and the room was suddenly filled with the National Anthem.
I did write about W and P’s wedding at the time; but looking back ten months later, this is what sticks in my mind.
I had no idea what to expect at the wedding. I’ve, unsurprisingly, never been to a Civil Partnership Ceremony before; but equally, I’ve never been to any sort of civil wedding before.
The wedding started late, and the registrar seemed a little stressed. “Sorry for the delay,” she said, “but the couple at the previous wedding weren’t sure it was going ahead.” You could sense a long, long backstory behind that sentence.
The ceremony was short. W and P strode up the aisle together, and the registrar explained what they were getting into. They faced each other, and looked into each other’s eyes as they gave their declarations and vows. My eyes were slightly damp, and they received a long, long round of applause, which seemed to surprise the registrar. “You are a popular couple,” she said. And, bar the posing for photos, it was already over. W and P are Registered Partners. We all rolled out into the garden for champagne.
A few weeks ago, feeling bored, I signed up with an online dating site.* It’s free, it only takes a few minutes to fill out, it’s just a bit of fun, you never know what might happen, and so on. Scientifically, it promises to find you your very best possible match from the people in your district. Of course, hardly anyone came up from this area, so I went away and forgot about it.
Yesterday, I thought: why don’t I look at it again? Why don’t I look further afield? So, I searched for my best match out of everybody in the country. And found one. My ideal partner, out of every man and woman
in the country on this popular dating site, is my friend K.** So much for meeting new people!
* but no, I’m not telling you which one, or what my profile name is.
** I recognised their profile immediately, because I was there when the photo was taken.