14 June 2015

What a great day! Last Saturday I am talking about, of course. The sun shone (mainly), Ms Playchute’s catering more than lived up to its legendary reputation, the bride was gorgeous and the groom was passable and the garden was filled with friends and family, much laughter and good cheer.

Adam and Ava were married in March in China and this was to be a UK-based celebration for whichever of our and Adam’s friends were able to make it. Unfortunately, the very short notice we had in which to organise the whole event (i.e., about ten days) meant that various folks were not able to attend, especially our Nick who was “deep-sea” diving in a quarry in the Lake District as part of his final examinations to gain some sort of certification for scuba diving. Annabelle and Lucy bravely turned up on their own along with a smattering of Adam’s friends and a selection of ours.

Everything went splendidly (mainly) – Ava was stunning in her bridal gown and Adam scrubbed up well and looked especially handsome and more or less presentable in the new clothes his mother purchased. The food was great – Sandy’s salmon with pesto on the barbeque supplemented with Amy’s potatoes and an assortment of salads.

Unfortunately, during the festivities Ava suffered a massive hay-fever attack and had to retire for some of the afternoon. Various guests provided antihistamine tablets and hay fever sprays and, after dosing herself and taking a brief nap, she was able to re-emerge later in the afternoon in time for parachute games on the back lawn.


You can see the rest of the least bad photos here.

Because of Ava’s indisposition during much of the afternoon, I didn’t get a chance to give my “father of the groom” speech. I know that’s not normally required of the father of the groom – in general, it’s my understanding that the father of the groom is expected to sit at the top table, eat and drink too much, shout obscenities and fall over during the dancing. Still, I had a “speech” of sorts prepared which I had spent literally moments planning which I didn’t get to deliver.  So, here are the main points.

In my forty-two and a bit years of marriage I’ve learned a thing or two. The first and most crucial ingredient for a successful marriage is to find the right partner. Someone who is smart, tolerably good-looking and a great cook. I found my ideal partner nearly forty-seven years ago and have only very occasionally regretted my choice. (Not really, just kidding)!

Adam clearly has found his ideal partner – Ava is a delightful and charming young woman, very smart, and absolutely gorgeous. Although we have enjoyed just a few samplings of her culinary skills, I couldn’t really say yet whether or not she is a great cook. Still, two out of three ain’t bad.

Once one has acquired the ideal partner, the challenge then is to sustain that love and affection all the time. And, for that, there is really only one simple lesson which every man needs to learn, accept and embrace.

Your wife is always right.

It’s a waste of time arguing, questioning or disagreeing – something that has taken me far longer to realise than it should have. Penelope is always right, has always been right and undoubtedly will continue to be right all the time. So, don’t argue, don’t complain, don’t disagree and you’ll have a long and happy married life (maybe).

We are delighted to have finally met Ava. We look forward to getting to know her more fully and have great pleasure in welcoming her to the extended and expansive Stragnell family. Poor girl, she doesn’t really understand what she’s let herself in for!

In spite of Ava’s hay fever setback, it was a glorious day!

Nick wasn’t able to attend, as I say, because he had a prior engagement – a weekend of scuba diving examinations in the Lake District so that he could be “Qualified” or “Certified” or some such other descriptor. Heck, he’s probably certifiable anyway so why he had to go to the Lake District to find out I do not know.


We had a lovely evening on Thursday – the weather was glorious and we sat out on the patio working our way through one of the several bottles of champagne Adam and Ava were given for their celebration. The swallows swooped and swooshed and we enjoyed a long and languid evening. And then, on Friday, Nick came over with his drone for a bit of playtime. We took ourselves (and Molly) on the long walk to the recreation ground where Nick, Adam and Ava each had good fun putting the drone through its paces.

Photos from the drone Photos from the drone

Finally, did you see about the man in China who had surgery to remove 420 kidney stones? Apparently, the doctors put the unusually high number of kidney stones down to the high concentration of tofu in the man’s diet. The tofu contains calcium sulphate, which cannot be expelled from the body without a sufficient intake of water. Just goes to show what I’ve always thought – tofu is definitely not a good thing to eat!

And finally, finally, I ran across the following on Facebook. It is, allegedly, an extract from a UK sex education textbook for girls published in the 1960s. I have to confess, I am somewhat doubtful of its provenance but regardless of whether it is real or the figment of someone’s imagination, the advice it conveys is every bit as valuable now as it was in the 60s. Click for a larger version.

Sex Education Extract

Much love to you all,