Jessie and Jurrat (J2) were legally married at Brighton registry office on 17th June. They then had lunch with their witnesses nanny Kay and cousin Sophia before joining the rest of the family for bubbly on Brighton beach to mark the day. We all look forward to the wedding in the garden of Broad Oaks next week.
Jessie and Jurrat, as the creators, managers and sponsors of their grand wedding celebration, have so far been very calm despite myriad matters to organise. The rest of us have helped to our best ability with a long list of to-dos including create place holders, paint boxes, cut the grass, strim the weeds, sit dogs, bake the cakes, pick up bought items, drive people to and fro, and clear the garage.
Jessie sprained her ankle painfully one afternoon when we were working together in the garden, then repeated the act a few days later while going into the gym, resulting in a reduction of her mobility for several weeks. Even this didn’t stop her from engaging in a hectic social life right up to and after their legal wedding. This included a visit with Jurrat to friends in Coulsdon to celebrate a christening, and a trip with her friend Jenny to Hyde Park to see Pink live in concert, 22 years after we all saw her the first time at the Wembley Arena. She capped it all on the final weekend by flying to Berlin with a friend to pick up her mystery wedding dress.
Ella has been winning silverware with her running and won a handicap race on the Downs (the Black Cap) as well as a parkrun competition, both organised by her running club for its members. She and Sam went to Glastonbury, glamping with Sam’s parents, returning tired but elated by what was clearly an extraordinary festival this year. Watching the wonderful Yusuf/Cat Stevens set on live TV misted my chiselled exterior. His songs kept me company in my teenage travels around the East Coast of America 1974-5. Gwen has stopped baking, and is now doing simpler jobs to add to the funds she has saved to pay for her working and traveling holiday in southeast Asia.
Alli and I were about to exchange contracts on the house in Horsted Keynes when I raised a routine inquiry with the vendors’ solicitor about undeclared covenants and the absence of permits for work done around the house. The solicitor replied that this was a deal-breaker and did we wish to confirm our purchase or revert to ‘stalemate’? Since the answer was neither, the process came to an abrupt and bathetic end. It was a costly and annoying case of emptio interruptus after the discovery of what appeared to be a less than an honest mistake. Like Michael Finnegan, we must begin again. This time we will use a wider but darker mesh for a net.
I ventured into London one crowded and sunny day for lunch at The Petersham in Covent Garden with friend Stephen. I reminded him that we used to eat out in the 1970s in an imaginative challenge to find the worst restaurant in London. The outings had been episodic and deliberate. Now a full-fledged foodie, he has been trying to remove this unwelcome throwback from his memory. Don’t ask me why we developed this idea. It was of its time. Or maybe behind it. To be sure, I no longer understand anything I did during that weird decade. More to the point, Alli and I had a relaxing lunch with lifelong foodies Fionnuala, Andrew, and dog Orla in Ditchling.
The hot weather was ideal for heliolaters such as Alli, who took to the garden each afternoon with book, sunglasses and sun-cream. I stayed in, working on various irritating administrative points related either to our tax, national insurance, pension, our rented flat in Brighton, or to house purchase arrangements. I also had more time for creative writing, and to read some excellent novels including Count Belisarius by Robert Graves, The Dangerous Kingdom of Love by Neil Blackmore, The Dancer Upstairs by Nicholas Shakespeare, and Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende.
I was invited to dinner by Jessie and Ella to celebrate Father’s Day in TunTuns of Brighton, a friendly Bangladeshi street-food restaurant, and had a crafty pint at the Lewes Road Inn nearby with Ella beforehand. I was asked if I wanted any “nail polish” by a troubled girl who suddenly disappeared afterwards. Baffled by the question, I wondered why she had asked me. Ella said that her offer was probably about drugs. The useful Urbandictionary.com confirmed this. I also spent Sunday in the sun at J3’s Kemp Town flat with Jaxon, reading, and listening to Glastonbury and the seagulls.
Earlier, I spent another day at our Brighton flat while a couple of electricians ensured its safe future as a legally rented property by replacing battery smoke alarms with electrical heat detectors, safer light-fittings, some rewiring, and a completely new fuse box to replace the old one that was over 40 years’ old. Rewiring? Heat detectors? A new fuse box? I think I need this treatment for myself.
Yours for the power of good.