The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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11:32am on Sunday, 19th November, 2017:
Yesterday was the full-on wedding ceremony of my niece, Erin. She'd already been married two days, but this was when the Hindu ceremony took place.
It was a hoot! The chap running the ceremony fully acknowledged that it was a bit odd saying a mantra in Sanskrit, having one of the various parties repeat it, then translating it so we all knew what they'd just promised. I once saw a movie in which the bride's mother at a wedding was asked to say something in an ancient language and dutifully obeyed, only to find out later she'd consented to the sacrifice of her daughter to summon a voodoo god. That doesn't appear to have happened on this occasion, though. Indeed, the gods were very accommodating, not minding in the least that the clarified butter that they were expecting to be set alight refused to combust.
There were six of these chaps lining the route to the stage, three on each side, opposite each other.
When my younger daughter was walking backwards in front of the bride, scattering flowers for her to walk on, she backed into one of them bottom-first. It must happen a lot, which would explain why they're high-fiving each other.
Here's the bride. Note the vermillion in her hair parting, which is the sign that she's now married.
She's dressed in Hindu tradition, of course, as it was a Hindu ceremony. So were all the principals, including her mother, father, brother, the bridesmaids, the best man and the ushers. As far as I'm aware, they're an assortment of Catholics, Protestants and atheists; the groom's side are pretty well all Hindus, but both families thought it was rather nice to do this. I can see hard-line theorists arguing that this is a form of cultural appropriation, but stuff them, it wasn't their wedding. To me, it looked like multi-culturalism at its best.
The wedding cake looked as if it was made of cheese:
This is because it actually was made of cheese. It was literally a cheese cake. One of those layers is a truckle of truffle gouda with a street value of £130. I had about £1 worth on a cracker, and have to say I really liked it — so much so that I put another 50p's worth on another cracker and scoffed that, too. Some of the other cheeses were impressive, too, a quadruple cream French soft cheese also winning a fan.
Of course, we can't take cheese home in a little box to eat later, so there was also this:
I think they may as well replace "may contain" with "contains".
As the husband of the sister of the father of the bride, I wasn't required for any of the official photos. There was a group photo taken next to the pond outside, though. Here's my view:
You may notice there's no photographer there. That's because I couldn't see him, or his camera. When he was ready, I did manage to get a clear line of sight through gaps between the bodies, but then he told everyone to wave and someone about four people closer to him put up their hand and closed off my raycast. Years from now, my niece will look back on her photos and be able to say "oh look, that hand waving at the back there is Uncle Richard's!".
Finally, here's a picture of the groom, Kris:
Good choice, Erin, good choice.
I'd say that even if he weren't a Yorkshireman.
8:35am on Saturday, 18th November, 2017:
The trouble with going to a wedding on Thursday is that it's been Saturday for three days in a row now.
8:41am on Friday, 17th November, 2017:
My niece Erin got married yesterday. She's getting married again on Saturday, as her husband is from a Hindu family and a 30-minute legal ceremony in a registry office is too short by a factor of approximately 21. Here's a photo of her hands:
That's pretty impressive! Apparently, the henna artist does henna art in Selfridges (I wonder, does the sign says "while you wait"?).
I had a chat with Erin afterwards that shows there are two sides to every conversation.
Me: Where are you going on honeymoon?
Me: Whereabouts in Mexico?
Me: Er, OK.
Erin: There are bats in Mexico?
Me: I suppose there must be.
Me: Where are you going on honeymoon?
Me: There are bats in Mexico?
Me: Er, OK.
Erin: There are bats in Mexico?
Me: I suppose there must be.
I need to work on my diction.
9:08am on Thursday, 16th November, 2017:
Ah, good, I'm still alive.
My wife's suspicion that washing-up liquid was involved in the creation of the ginger cake she made has not been borne out by any ill-effects on my physiology.
6:27pm on Wednesday, 15th November, 2017:
Two coach trips to England football matches at Wembley aside, it wasn't until I was 18 that I visited London. This is the guidebook I used in my exploration of of sights I'd only seen on TV and streets I'd only heard of on the Monopoly board.
The scan is half-sized, but that still shows the book would fit in my inside jacket pocket. As you can see, it's well worn: I used it for many years, and took it with me when I and my wife went on expeditions to far-flung places such as anywhere not immediately adjacent to a tube station.
Most of it is maps and a street index, but it does have some fascinating student-oriented information at the back. The list of political parties includes the Workers' Revolutionary Party and the National Front, for example; there's also a list of companies operating international cargo boats that you can get on as a passenger. Libraries, pubs and food places feature heavily, along with information your parents really should have told you, such as what telephone number to call in an emergency.
None of the descriptions of hotels, restaurants or anything else have prices atached, though, they're just "cheap" or it doesn't say. This is a shame, as it would have been nice to compare 1978 prices to those of today. The book itself was 75p, though.
75p well spent. Still, no use keeping it just for sentimental reasons — it's basically an analogue phone app. Off to the recycling bin it goes, albeit accompanied by a nostalgic sigh.
4:09pm on Tuesday, 14th November, 2017:
Here's the latest large poster to glorify the gap between squares 2 and 3 at the university.
Other than the usual self-congratulatory back-patting we've come to know and love, there's nothing special about it. That's because I couldn't get my phone switched on fast enough to take a picture when the woman on her phone was leaning against the poster in such a way as to cover the first two letters of "Essex" in the lower-left corner.
11:11pm on Monday, 13th November, 2017:
Hmm, that "ten places you must visit before you disappear" web link I accidentally clicked on included two places in its list that were disappearing because there were too many tourists.
5:01pm on Monday, 13th November, 2017:
This advertisement for advent calendars is in the window the university shop:
I'm not sure what to make of it, except that it's good.
5:08pm on Sunday, 12th November, 2017:
Here's the section header list from the 1994 book Tricks of the Internet Gurus.
It's quite surprising how many of those utilities are no longer a thing. Then again, some of them weren't much of a thing back in 1994, either.
The large Online Entertainment section, by the way, concerns "How to Program MUDs". It only looks at MUCKs, MUSHes, MUSEs and MOOs, though, and tells you how to program them from within them (using in-game commands).
Some things, no-one needs to know now, but someone needs to have known it in the past.
12:11pm on Saturday, 11th November, 2017:
My wife bought me some poppy cufflinks, so I thought I should wear them today.
When I was a child, most people wore poppies. Maybe one person in twenty didn't. Today, in Sainsbury's, maybe one person in twenty did.
Poppies have been seized on by different ideologies and endowed with meaning which, if not necessarily in support of that ideology, is at least in opposition to the other ideology. It's reminiscent of the Flag of Saint George in the 1980s, which was appropriated by the far right as a racist emblem and only reappropriated courtesy of the England football team. Among certain people, wearing a poppy means you're a warmongering right-winger wishing to glorify sacrifice; among other people, not wearing one means you're a left-wing traitor who disrespects the armed forces. Either way, what was intended not to be a political symbol is increasingly becoming one.
It doesn't help that every single public figure wears one when out and about. It looks awfully lot like there's a poppy police who will pounce when they see anyone step out of line, which means that those public figures who are actually wearing their poppy because they support what they believe it stands for are placed in the same "well they have to, don't they" category. It also doesn't help that what used to be made by disabled former members of the armed forces and lasted barely a week before it fell apart (kind of the point) is now commercialised to the point when you can buy things like poppy cufflinks that will last for decades.
Peer pressure doesn't work on me, so I'm not put off by the disparaging looks I get at work from people who see wearing a poppy as incompatible with left-wing credentials. The reason I wear one is because if I had been drafted into the armed forces as a young man and sent off to kill other people my age who had also been drafted into the armed forces, in a war neither of us wanted to fight and at the behest of incompetent leaders, then I'd at least like to know that someone would remember me, as an individual, afterwards. They might not know my name or what happened to me or what I did, but they'll remember that people die in wars.
If people do remember this, that lowers the chance of its happening again. I'm all in favour of that.
12:57pm on Friday, 10th November, 2017:
I found this on the bookshelf in the garage this morning:
It's a supplement from The Independent. I don't know how long we've had it, but inside it says that Ipswich Town are "currently riding high in the Premier league" so it's 2003 at the latest.
Needless to say, some of the attractions of Ipswich it lists aren't actually in Ipswich, although it does have a transport museum featuring tractors.
I've now thrown out the supplement, anyway, in revenge for its getting dust on me.
3:33pm on Thursday, 9th November, 2017:
I was asked to take a photograph of my desk today, so thought I might as well share it.
This is my desk at home. At work, I couldn't walk back far enough to get it all in shot, as my office is too pokey.
4:28pm on Wednesday, 8th November, 2017:
Yesterday I was walking along a path strewn with a thick layer of leaves, so I kicked them up as I trudged along. Coming in the opposite direction was a woman of about my age, also kicking up the leaves. I spotted her; she spotted me; we both kept kicking up the leaves. When we got closer, I nodded at her and she nodded at me, then we went past each other and kicked up the leaves the other one had kicked up while they were walking.
It's good to know I'm not the only person in their late 50s who acts as if they were still aged ten.
2:07pm on Tuesday, 7th November, 2017:
I've just walked past four construction workers. The foreman was explaining to the other three that it was a bad idea to use picks to dig up a live cable carrying 10,000 volts and that they should stop immediately. The words "you, you and you: dead" were employed.
It's good that the foreman was on the ball, but alarming that the other three hadn't worked this out for themselves.
4:21pm on Monday, 6th November, 2017:
From the menu board outside the university canteen:
People who have been taught English don't make this mistake anywhere near as often as people for whom English is their first language.
We can expect a lot more apostrophe abuse post-Brexit...
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