A plutard, La France!

Well, it’s just over a week until our van will arrive to transport all our stuff to France. I’m desperately trying to raise the cash to pay for fuel – ebay-mental at the moment. I think there’s a kind of code in some of the questions, and you can see the tyre-kickers straight away. One person asked me how much to post a dress to Portugal and another to Greece. Well, I’m not having it. I could spend all day on the internet trying to sort out how much stuff costs for people who won’t even bid. And they fuss over the quality of the dresses I’ve put up.

The first is a beautiful broderie anglaise dress I’ve never worn. I bought it for Sophie and Andrew’s wedding and I didn’t wear it, which is just as well because another girl wore it – I think Dale had a crush on her and she’d been invited for that reason – and she was a size 6, so I would not only have committed the terrible faux-pas of wearing the same dress as someone else, but also of having been shamed by the thin-ness of the girl. As I recall, I spent most of the day in tears either of laughter or sadness, and it would just have added to my woes.

Karen Millen Broderie Anglaise Dress

Plus, as I recall, it was a bit see-through and I  could see the girl’s knickers. I think my ink would have been visible, so it was probably a good thing! Funny how clothes you didn’t even wear can have a memory attached to them. Pete, the bother-in-law, had me in stitches throughout the ceremony – S&A had decided to start with “All you need is love!” by the Beatles as the opening ‘hymn’, à la “Four Weddings and a Funeral” or something, but it didn’t wash. Firstly, a lot of the wedding was oldies, and that’s all about singing hymns for them. Secondly, it was a bad idea. It got worse when, because no-one was singing, Andrew tried to rally us with ‘Come on!’ and I nearly died of the cringeworthiness of it. Sorry, Andrew, but there it is.

It got worse because of my dead-pan bother-in-law looking very moved by the whole ceremony and asking me for a tissue. It was like those times in class when you don’t want to laugh, but you’re absolutely bursting to… and I nearly choked to death, especially when my Nana gave him a tissue and he dabbed his eyes with it. He’d make a great actor. S&A had also gone for a profiterole chocolate fountain instead of a wedding cake, which, again, very nouveau, very creative, but so out of keeping with what the majority of people want in a wedding. 80% of the people there expected cake. It’s okay to have a chocolate fountain if your target audience is a mid-20s posse of poncey Londoners, but this wasn’t. It was the world and his grandmother.

To make matters worse, there was nowhere to sit, so everyone ended up in separate rooms at separate ‘perches’ and I never really saw any of the people I wanted to see.

Plus, I do believe heinous James and the Giant Arse officiated. James is an odd-shaped man/woman. Steve speculates he is a bit of both. Either way, he’s weird and he’s a blagger of the highest order. When I was going to Brazil back in 2003, we had the following conversation.

me: I’m off to Brazil.

JatGA: You shouldn’t go there. You’re just supporting dictatorships and fascist regimes.

me: really? *sarcastic*

JatGA: Yes… the South American countries are notorious for dictatorships.

me: Really? *uber-sarcastic* like where?

JatGA: Well, Costa Rica….

me: REALLY? *exploding with sarcasm* Costa Rica hasn’t had an army since 1949 – it’s a bit like the Vatican City. How can they have a dictatorship when they don’t have an army? It’s a bit difficult to stage a coup without a Junta, isn’t it?

JatGA: Well, they do.

me: OK… so where else?

JatGA: Nicaragua.

me: Really??! I thought that ended in the early 80s??!

JatGA: No… it’ still going on.

me: Well, that will be news for the UN… better tell them immediately! So apart from Costa Rica without an army, and Nicaragua, a peaceful democracy, where else?

JatGA: well, Brazil.

me: Really??! Who’s the dictator in Brazil?

JatGA: Pinochet.

At this point I nearly choked on my cocktail.

me: Pinochet??! Are you having a laugh??!

JatGA: no… he’s the president of Brazil….

me: not the foxy Lula, the charismatic favela-boy done good who couldn’t read til he was 10 but worked his way up through the unions to secure the backing of the Brazilian party and usher in a new era of South American politics? So… you’re saying Pinochet is the current head of Brazil?

JatGA: yes.

me: Not Chile?

JatGA: no, definitely Brazil.

me: the Pinochet who was a ‘friend’ of Thatcher, who gave way to democracy in 1990?

JatGA: no.

me: James, I think I’ve got something for you…. there’s this guy – a freedom fighter called… something or other… he’s been locked up for 30 years in South Africa for political dissent…. God, I can’t remember his name… something like ‘Mandela’ – yes, that’s it… Nelson Mandela… maybe you should get in touch with Amnesty International and support his cause.

At this point, James looked at me with disgust. I hate arguing with know-it-all ‘political’ 20-somethings. They’re so retarded. Literally, in this case, about 20 years en retard. Then some middle-class gap-year child-of-yuppies said she was going ‘travelling’ – and when I asked where, she said Thailand. Ooooh, Brighton-in-the-East for kids who want to ‘do’ some dope and mushrooms and maybe grow some dreadlocks, smell of patchouli and get their nose pierced, maybe a little tattoo somewhere. How ridiculous. I despise ‘Thai’ travellers. They’re either smug-know-it-all gap-year brats being financed by Daddy or they’re serial paedophiles. I dread the day they pass over the border into Vietnam or Cambodia or so on, though they aren’t western enough and you can’t get by so easily without speaking a bit of the lingo. I despise Marrakech for the same reason – it’s where true travellers went back in the day, but it’s so westernised you might as well be in Peckham. Give me Fez any day!

It reminds me of those long roads to nowhere through the Ziz gorge in Morocco where you couldn’t see an Englisher for miles, and sitting on the bus with interesting people, watching this entirely alien environment unfurl, thinking ‘wow!’ and knowing it would be free of so-called gap-year kids.

Anyway, despite the beauty of the dress, it has to go. I hope it has a good home and that it doesn’t reveal the knickers of the person wearing it. I hope they don’t run across someone else wearing it at a wedding. I hope it gets worn. I can’t believe I had it sitting in my wardrobe so long!

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