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71. A teardrop on our wedding day
And how having a hanky on hand at just the right moment is something that money can’t buy.
Although this post is part of my ‘Art & Treasures’ series in which I am honouring past memories in words and pictures, this time I have not created a brand-new artwork in my altered-book art journal. Instead I have dug out a two-page spread to show you that I had created in 2020 as part of the ‘Wanderlust’ mixed media art journalling course, to illustrate the moment at our wedding which I’ve described in my story below.
When I was a child, before we were hit with the kind of in-your-face advertising that our modern multitude of media platforms insists on serving up on a near-endless loop, I used to enjoy watching adverts on TV.
I even used to count them.
The BBC is funded from the television licence fee rather than by advertising, but a half-hour programme on one of our two (at the time) commercial channels would be preceded by a string of eight adverts, and an ad break halfway through the programme would feed us five more.
I had my favourites. Life insurance company Prudential showed us a disappointed little girl on stage for a school production dressed as a carrot, with other items of fruit and veg represented by her classmates. ‘I want to be a tomato’, she told us sadly.
The Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles advert told us that ‘All you can dooooo is chew!’, and showed us people sucking on the iconic sugar-coated jelly rounds while trying in vain to resist the temptation to use their teeth.
But a certain credit card company’s adverts were my favourites of all. Here’s an example:
Woman looking a million dollars arrives at an evening function. A handsome man on his own notices her enter the room. His eyes widen.
New designer outfit: £250
New lipstick: £35
Evening bag: £90
The look on your ex-boyfriend’s face: Priceless.
Voiceover: There are some things money can't buy; for everything else, there's Mastercard.
One day, nine years ago this month, I woke up with a streaming cold.
Here’s how I feel that Mastercard would have spun that scenario:
Bespoke outfit made by dressmaker friend in the village: £XXXthat won’t ladder or catch, and that are long enough to fit my 34” inside leg: £XX
A pair of sheer tights
Professional hair and make-up for the first time in my life: £XX
Getting a revolting cold two days before my wedding: Priceless.
Adrenaline, excitement and getting through all of my wedding preparations so that the day would run without a hitch meant that I didn’t have time to feel under the weather. I had work to do.
And I mean ‘work’. Now, it’s not actually a prerequisite for a blushing bride-to-be to actually clean the church for her own wedding, but this bride held a position on the parochial church council, and was looking forward to spending this time with her committee friends and colleagues in joint enterprise making the church look beautiful for her big day.
I wasn’t sure whether it was the germs, the flowers or the furniture polish making me sneeze, but my eyes were streaming and my nose was getting redder and redder. Although I’m used to having cameras around me – Jim, after all, is a photographer – I am usually well out of shot, given that it’s my job to wield reflectors or lights, or to run around behind the scenes getting stuff out of the way. I dislike being the centre of attention, and I go out of my way to avoid having my picture taken, but I had a nasty feeling that a lens or two might be trained on me in a couple of days’ time. How effective was this whole new-to-me concealer idea going to be to deglaze my shiny red nose?
I added ‘EXTRA HANKY!!!!’ to my getting-married list. Reader, this was serious.
Eight press photographers were due to be there to mark our big day. We hadn’t done a deal with Hello! or OK! magazine, and nor were they the paparazzi; no, these were friends, former work colleagues of my husband-to-be. And I wasn’t going to stand a chance of getting out of their way.
On the day itself I hesitated as I walked up the aisle of the church with my dad, clutching my floral-sprigged – and already germy – hanky. The sight of so many friends and family waiting to share in the joy of our wedding ceremony was overwhelming, and when I caught my friend Barbara’s eye I almost stopped completely. ‘Go on!’ she mouthed, tilting her head impatiently towards the business end of the aisle.
And there was Jim at last – a six-foot-five-inch vision in tweed – waiting for me. Our eyes met, and we both giggled nervously. This was so exciting.
As the rector welcomed everyone to the service, I glanced up again at Jim. The biggest tear I’d ever seen was rolling slowly down his left cheek.
Without thinking, I reached up and dabbed his face with the damp hanky that was screwed up in my palm. A loud expression of ‘awww’ from our assembled guests filled the church with its sound, followed by eight – I didn’t need to count them – ‘tsks!’ in collective dismay from the pew containing Jim’s snapper friends.
Reader, they’d missed it. All of them.
And I’m glad. The brief moment featuring Jim’s rolling tear and my little floral hanky was ours. And we’ll always have it. Even though it’s not shown in any photograph, that precious highlight of our day will stay with us forever in the album of happy memories in our minds.
And that’s something money can’t buy. It’s priceless.
Kasia Avery’s lesson ‘The Visual Path’ in week 27 of Wanderlust 2020 comprised a video of her own exploration of the theme, along with a single-page pdf detailing the steps making up the project. The aim had been to include several focal points anchored with dark patches of ink and then joined together with lines to make up the visual path of the title. You can find out more about Everything Art and the ‘Wanderlust’ course right here.
Next month’s ‘Art & Treasures’ post will feature a new spread in my ‘altered book’ art journal that I’ve been filling during the process of writing this series of posts. Here’s the journal so far:
If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, the fifth in a regular series exploring some of my memories in words and pictures, please let me know by clicking the heart. Thank you! You’ll find all the posts in this ‘Art & Treasures’ series here.
My next ‘Dear Reader, I’m lost’ post will of course be published next Saturday.
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Actually, the ‘even’ is superfluous in this sentence, because Reader, I count pretty much everything. I’ll be writing a post about this sometime, if only to exorcise an insistent demon.
An impossible task, as anyone who has ever tried it will testify. That slogan is absolutely on the button.