Monday, 16 June 2008

Bruce and rhubarb bellinis - a dose of the high life


I’ve been a bit bling lately. Feel slightly ashamed to say it after my splurge on vulgarity, greed and over-the-top ostentation but, hey, at least I recognise it – and I do have the grace to be madly grateful for a small dose of the high life.
First it was Bruce Springsteen in concert at the Emirates Stadium. Was I down there getting hot and sweaty squashed up against thousands of smelly bodies? No sirree, I was sipping champagne and dunking Tiger prawns in chilli dip in a private box. Oh yes. The divine Gill from Victoria Health (my totally favourite on-line natural pharmacy – and no, I’m not just saying that because she gave me such a fabby evening out – would I be that shallow? Don’t answer that.) had invited me knowing that I’m a serious fan of The Boss’s live shows. Last time I went I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Wembley by my friend the Luscious London Lawyer (L3). Bruce Springsteen wasn’t anywhere near cool enough in my book (God, I was a pretentious little twat in those days – all style, no substance). But within five minutes I was tapping my foot and after fifteen I was jigging around. By the end of the gig I was exhausted from two hours’ nonstop dancing. BS is simply The Best Live Act Ever (in my not so humble opinion).
This time round, surrounded by smart businesswomen, film directors and magazine editors, I was determined to keep a sense of decorum. A little gentle foot-tapping would do. Ah but the man hasn’t changed one iota. Maybe a few faint lines but he’s no Mick Jagger and not a hint of grey or the faintest tendency towards portliness). He launched into a blistering set without even a pause between numbers, broad grin on his face, pacing up and down the stage. My feet started tapping, my hips started swaying and, before I knew it, I was waving my arms over my head and all thoughts of decorum went out the window.
Fortunately the rest of the party shed their dignity and it was simply the best night ever.
Then, barely had I got over the excitement of that, than I went shooting off to Babington House the other side of Somerset for a wedding. Michele Knight (the psychic whose book I co-wrote) was getting spliced with her girlfriend Margi. My pal Sarah is Michele’s PA and I hitched a lift in her serious no-nonsense truck.
‘We have to get roses on the way,’ she said and so we hurtled into Morrisons and bought up every last bunch. ‘Not enough,’ sighed Sarah so a quick detour took us into Sainsbury’s where we snaffled another couple of armloads (to the bemusement of the other shoppers with their multi-packs of lager and two-for-the-price-of-one pizza).
We got lost, of course we did (no Satnav here, thank you very much) but eventually barrelled up and spent the next two hours in the hallway turning thirty bunches of roses into five huge bowls of petals. At which point Anne Robinson arrived (looking like a slightly malevolent pixie child), gave us the once over and decided we were definitely staff, hence beneath contempt and whisked by.
Exhausted after our petal plucking we found the bar and I found heaven via a rhubarb and vanilla bellini. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. So right in so many ways and, best of all, another use for rhubarb (a slight obsession you may have noticed – it’s the only thing I don’t kill in the vegetable garden).
It was always going to be a bit different – after all, few weddings have two brides (both in bustiers and flowing trains) or one bride wearing not one, but two tiaras (‘I liked them both, so why not?’). The pair of pagan priestesses was a nice touch as was the saying of vows under the trees.

As Michele and Margi sipped their first glasses of champagne as Mrs and Mrs Knight, Sarah and I watched as two hours’ worth of rose petals flew up into the air and tumbled to the floor in precisely ten seconds. It was tempting to think deep thoughts about the impermanence of life but the canapé tray was approaching so I dived for a tempura prawn instead and started chatting to a sickeningly glamorous woman in slinky gold lame and vertiginous seventies platforms. I thought she had to be in TV or fashion but it turned out she’s a sheep farmer from near Crediton. Just perfect.

In the end, it unfolded much like any other wedding: that curious mismatch of guests; people drinking too much alcohol too quickly and collapsing in small piles in corners; photogenic children scampering barefoot through the grass; the inevitable delays; the wails of women (and the odd man) whose heels have embedded themselves in six inches of soft grass; the obnoxious guest/s (in this case a gaggle of face-lifted women engaged in a bout of social one-upmanship which culminated in – ‘I used to spend a lot of time with the Queen Mother, of course.’ Well of course dear. Margi’s father made a very moving speech with huge dignity (bet there’s nothing in Debrett’s about what to say when your daughter’s second marriage is to another woman) and Sue Perkins made a speech that was so funny I wondered how come I’d never heard her before.

Sarah and I left as the disco started. The barman was waving his cocktail shaker at me with a knowing look and I knew discretion was the better part of valour. We roared off into the night, Bruce on the stereo, scattering a faint trail of rose petals behind us.

27 comments:

Pipany said...

Oh brilliant blog Jane. Love that picture too! The wedding sounded wonderful and makes me realise how long it is since i have been to one - come to that, it's flipping ages since I did anything that didn't involve cooking, sewing, eating, etc... time for a change methinks xx

Milla said...

your best blog ever! (PS had you REALLY not heard of Sue Perkins, one can't turn on R4 for tripping over her)

Exmoorjane said...

I had sort of heard 'of' her but never HEARD her....despite being wedded to Radio Four. Seriously funny lady though and will keep my ears pinned back from now on. AR clung to her for grim death as the Only Other Celebrity (that I recognised anyhow). At one point AR turned to Sarah and demanded: 'Where's Sue Perkins? Get her. NOW!' Which sort of sums up AR really.

Preseli Mags said...

I'm and so jealous that you've been to see Mr Springsteen TWICE that I can't possibly leave a comment. Oh, go on then. Milla is right. Your best blog ever. And what a totally fabulous wedding. Is that the cake? I think I might have to come back in a future life as a lesbian!!

pebbledash said...

Don't get me started on Bruce....saw him live at Wembly about twenty odd years ago. He played for hours...best concert I've ever been to! Wedding celebrations sounded wonderful, such fun! And wants to be noticed by Anne Robinson anyway?

Elizabethd said...

Quite. Who is A R anyway?
Sounds wonderful Jane, and loved the photo too.

Fern said...

Sue who? bet she's not half as hilarious as you! Brilliant.

lampworkbeader said...

I can hardly type for jealousy. You've seen the boss twice...Ah! some women are just too lucky.

Frances said...

Hey Jane, thank you for sharing the good times with us!

Lucky you to have gotten another chance to see Bruuuuce. It's funny that I still think of him as from a much younger generation than mine, even as he and his music mature very, very nicely. And that band ain't shabby either.

The wedding report was also a beaut. Well done on the roses!

xo

Zoë said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time, love that you ripped all those roses to bits!

I still think Eric or Mick have it too, seen both live; Stones when they were at Twickenham last, and well, they were superb. I guess I'll allow BS some room on their pedestal!

Zoë

Lindsay said...

What a great time you must have had - am really envious - would love to see Mr BS. Jonnie Walker (Radio 2) is very keen on playing his records - so try to listen Sunday afternoon to his show just in case our Bruce comes over the airwaves.

elizabethm said...

You so deserve a great time out like this! Wedding sounds fabulous and i am pleased to hear Anne Robinson's new face is acquiring the malevolence of her old one. I thought it seriously unjust when she first had plastic surgery that it managed to wipe out the years of sourness and make her look as if she had been quite pleasant. There is a God.

ChrisH said...

Oh Sue Perkins is wonderful! I remember her from 'Mel and Sue' and of course she's on the telly tonight with Giles Coren in 'Supersizers Go...'

That's was brilliant, Jane, more celeb and more bling please!

Blossomcottage said...

that was a great blog Jane, and you clearly had a wonderful and well deserved time, love the pic, however I cannot imagine that it compared with my hour in Tesco's and the bargins I got at the reduced counter, never mind next time you have that sort of invite I will let you give it to me so you can have a really brill time at Tescos' like me!!!!!!

Queen Vixen said...

Oh Wow! Makes the y-not festival in a field in Matlock seem a little tame :o)

What bliss - my hedonistic pleasure junkie part is well impressed

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Excellent Blog - clearly the house being upside down and full of men has not put you off.

Bruce envy here too and no I haven't heard of Sue Perkins either . . .

I also haven't been to a wedding in ages so now shan't talk to you for four and a half days . . . huffy!

KittyB said...

Sounds like you're living the high life recently, all sounds fab and groovy and celebby. Sue Perkins very funny, and Supersizers very good, not least because Giles Coren is faintly edible, which is fitting for a food writer.

LittleBrownDog said...

Jane, that was wonderful, and so, so glamorous right down to the rhubarb bellinis (going to have to experiment with that idea - another rhubarb-lover here). Glad you're having some light relief and not spending ALL your time with men in cages.

And I notice you have another book on your sidebar (or whatever it's called). Will have to toddle off to Amazon now... (Not in Manolos, I might add...)

FairSailor said...

Wonderful blog, Jane! I simply must try a rhubarb bellini. Sounds like heaven in a glass. The pic is beautiful.

Bollinger Byrd said...

So when exactly is the book ' A thousand things to do with rhubarb' coming out?
bbx

DevonLife said...

Oh sounds amazing. I am slightly obsessed with Babington House, I've tried that Belini and agree, pure heaven. I love a good wedding so may have to get married again (sorry Dave), and you are in charge of the flowers

60GoingOn16 said...

Love that post! But am turning a deep shade of green re Bruce Springsteen. I saw him live at Wembley in - er - 1984 (I think). He was magic then and he still is and, drat it, he's still younger than me - although most people are these days.

Lady in red said...

this whole post had me fascinated but I just loved this line

I thought she had to be in TV or fashion but it turned out she’s a sheep farmer from near Crediton. Just perfect

so pleased you came over to visit mine

Sally's Chateau said...

Oh how did I miss this one about a delightful evening at Babington House, whaddya mean you left at the start of the disco ? what was wrong with you ?

CAMILLA said...

Great blog Jane,

Love BS, ooh would have loved to have seen him.

Going to a wedding soon myself, thinking HATS at the moment Jane.!

Camilla.xx

Michele said...

You are sooooo bad! Glad you had a good time. AR is an angel you should have chatted to her and I can assure you that the lady refering to the queen mother hasn't had a face lift and guess what she in the book! Work it out!Thanks for the petals will send you pics of Margi being showered. When you coming over for dinner, we will provide the bellinis. Big love Mrs Knight and Mrs Knight xxx

Michele said...

Damn, typical Aries, no punctuation at all in last post!