Births, Deaths and Marriages

Over the cold winter on the sofa nights, ITV, Britain’s main commercial broadcaster, ran a documentary series featuring the activities of the City of Westminster’s Register Office where births, deaths and marriages are recorded. It was a distracting little show, a  funny and touching fly-on-the-wall human interest fest for a chilly midwinter’s evening that helped the digestion and wasn’t too taxing on the brain. There is something rather dignified and valiant about the ordinary people – the hatch, match and dispatch squad – who deal daily with the relentless cycle of life that we must all face and the relentless cycle of emotion that goes with it. Veteran registrar of 28 years, Patricia Gordon, confessed that she was none too comfortable with the notion of civil partnerships. But, through friendship and by example, fellow registrar Tommy helped her see the light; now she can’t wait for him to find his own soul mate so she can do the honours. And guess what? Patricia officiated at our Civil Partnership in 2008. Here is she doing the business:

Thank you for changing your mind, Patricia. 

Let’s Hear it for the Brides

Let’s Hear it for the Brides

The sun shone, the bride and bride kissed, the pansexual crowd whooped, the fizz popped and the waters trickled by in approval. After the nuptials in Islington, the wedding party was delivered via double decker to Blackfriars Pier where we joined them, all suited and booted (well, I’ve got to get some wear out of the two piece I bought for the funeral of my celebrated uncle). What started as a boozy cruise down Old Father Thames ended with a slow smooch on a riverside dancefloor and two very happy ladies. Liam caught up with old colleagues from his waged days and I got to flirt with a bone fide fire fighter. The hettie-man didn’t seem to mind any of my obvious batty-man gags about sliding down his greasy pole and playing with his enormous hose. The running buffet, bottomless barrel and limitless goodwill helped ensure our first lesbian wedding was a rip roaring success. We felt honoured to witness it.

The only blot on the landscape was our uncomfortable room at the Comfort Inn, Vauxhall, with its thin duvets, wonky fittings and tiny shower cupboard with a loo barely big enough for a five year old. Still, we were three sheets to the wind thanks to our generous hosts so we hardly noticed.

The wedding album isn’t out yet so here’s the view from the pier at the Westminster Boating Base in Pimlico where the reception was held. Liam said I scrubbed up rather well and who am I to argue?

The Soldier, the Virgin and the Drag Queen

Mother’s inaugural royal visit to the weaver’s croft went without a hitch. She was escorted across country by my nephew and namesake, Jack Junior. I wondered if she’d be able to climb the narrow winding steps up to the attic boudoirs. I needn’t have worried. She remains a spritely 83 year and still runs for buses, despite a touch of arthritis. She had a good root around and gave her seal of approval. Fed and brandy’d, she retired for the evening with ‘Fifty Shades Darker’. We took young Jack to the bar at the Playhouse Theatre to discuss his exam results and flourishing love life. This popular watering hole by the water is always bursting with fresh-faced students and earnest artists with a dash of old homos thrown into the mix. The next morning, as Liam fixed breakfast, Mother noticed a timeworn photo of her wedding I keep in a frame on the window ledge. We looked at it together. Handsome Dad looked dapper and proud in his dress uniform and the old girl looked stunning and radiant in her classic cut wedding dress and virginal veil. “But who,” I asked “was the drag queen in the fur next to Dad?”

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