So, anyway, I went to the vets' during the week - to find out if I had a terminal case of The Big C or merely a nasal infection, following the nose-bleeding incident. I have had a great many brushes with death in my long, mostly happy, life and I accept that, at some point, my luck is going to run out. On this particular occasion, I am going to.... LIVE!!!
Yes; 'twas a bacterial infection, received when I inadvertently hit my nose on the work-yard car park surface during a sneezing fit. My parter is inexpressibly relieved (there have been tears) and I am restored to my former, lively, full-of-beans lifestyle. Yayyyy!
Thanks to all those who sent their love and support during these latter difficult days. And especially to Michal Clarke and the lovely Ann - for their inaugural comments, which are much valued.
THE wedding, then. A day of much anticipation, joy, and unlooked-for distress. Yes, distress. I shall now tell all.
Leaving our house shortly after completing our latter post, my partner and I proceeded along The Mall (aka Old Farm Road). Glancing into Eddie's house through his window, I saw my friend and his fellow Rottweiler Angus watching the coverage on television. They were clinging to each other and sobbing. With a raised eyebrow, the sight prompted me to suspect that there would be more than one old queen in the Abbey that day... Pickle the Salamander was keeping a low profile, hidden within the rock-cave in his vivarium (there was a good reason for this - of which more to follow...).
We called in at the local Co-Op store en route to my partner's parents' house, as my partner wished to take along some ice-cream as a gift. As I waited outside in our New Teal Megane, I saw that the staff were watching the events on a small portable television at the checkout, with small plastic cups of bubbly. Whilst wondering about what would ensue when Hometown Legend Barry from the Co-Op (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Barry-from-the-Coop/207739074819) was plied with alcohol, I noticed that the red, white and blue decorations worn by the boys on the till were, most unfortunately, the carbon copy of the revolutionary tricolores worn, on pain of death, by French citizens during La Terreur. I decided not to raise this point, however - I felt it would not be welcome on such an happy day of Royal nuptials.
And so to the ceremony itself.
The first thing that struck me was Miss Middleton's exquisite dress. Utterly perfect. Modest, yet sexy; classic, yet modern; a respectful hint of the Queen's own 1947 dress, brought bang-up-to-date. This dress is the one my partner would choose for her OWN wedding, were I to permit such an union. The fact that the dress also came from a fashion house, the head of which died last year in tragic circumstances, also spoke highly of the bride's judgement. The bride's sister, Philippa, also looked exquisite - and it did not escape me that both HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and HRH the Prince Henry were positively drooling at the sight of her. I have always liked Prince Philip. A man very much after my own heart - both raised to believe in natural male dominance - and both finding ourselves having to kow-tow to a more superior female....
I wish every conceivable happiness to the Royal newly-weds. They seem both wise, grounded, and perfectly-matched. And I was happy in the feeling that, despite the ever-humbling pomp and circumstance (and no nation does this as well as mine own, I feel justified in barking), it felt like it was, at heart, a happy family affair. Simply; perfectly; wonderful.
Beautiful music, readings, sentiments, public rejoicing - all combined to make a truly happy event.
The distress, then. As the bride and groom stepped out of the Abbey, my partner popped the cork in a bottle of champagne, saved by her father for the occasion. As the sparkling liquid was shared about, the telephone began to ring and my partner moved to answer it, as her father proposed a toast to Queen and country.
It was my partner's brother on the end of the line. And he, his wife, and their delightful children Ewan and Carys, had just been involved in a serious car crash.
That was the end of our jubilations. Their car had been written-off in a motorway collision (on the M6, en route to the wedding of a university friend). Fortunately, although profoundly distressed, no serious injuries were sustained by our loved ones. But it marked the end of our jubilations.
So there we are. Exquisite happiness and much sorrow, juxtaposed in one sunny day in April. But, despite all, a day in which to celebrate that all we know and love are well, safe - and happy. What more, than that, can one ask?