And the winner is…

September 21, 2013 2 comments
home-made wedding rings

Our actual, real life wedding rings (we made them).

WARNING MASSIVE SPOILERS

(Although since this is the end, is it really a spoiler?)

In 2010, two people who could be charitably described as morons started a blog. The blog was based around a frankly stupid bet to see who could get married first. Real life married. There were rules, but it took them a while to work out what they would be.

What followed was a catalogue of errors, mishaps, foolish endeavours (If you are new to the blog. Get a cup of tea, and then start at the beginning) and quite a lot of dates.

The berks even went to America to meet ladies but in the end the both found love a lot closer to home. One way of looking at it is that both of them won because they both grew-up and found the perfect person for them.

But that’s not entirely correct because Toast won the bet. In your face, Biscuit of 2010.

The Big Day for Toast

The Theatre Producer and I had decided to keep things as casual and calm as possible in the run up to the wedding. Even with a strict, ‘no getting stressed’ policy things got a bit fraught towards the end. We’d both had very little sleep because we’d been doing things in the evenings.

Fun things like making our rings, having intensive dance lessons for our first dance and making other wedding related flim-flam, but were both extremely tired.

We’d had a flurry of last-minute ideas for the wedding which required careful designing of crosswords, pouring things into tiny bottles or coming up with an interesting conversation starting fact about every single guest. Neither of us managed to to sleep before 2am for a week before.

On wedding-eve TP went to her parents house. I stayed at our home, enjoying my final night as a single chap with my brother.

We drank cider and ate dirty fried chicken while watching telly. There was a plan to go the pub but a footballery match was on so the local pub was all shouty.

Off to the wedding

The next day I woke up reasonably early and forced my brother to go for a run with me. I like running, he’s not 100% on-board with it, but understands it’s a thing he has to do with me.

After only a small amount of grumbling we set off, stomping through monsoon style rain to Regent’s Park and back. Chatting occasionally but mostly wheezing. The final section was limped but we managed it. As a reward for our good work we went for a posh brunch and ate a lot of bacon.

Once we’d cooled off a bit we got changed, washed, and bundled up all the things we’d need for the wedding (suits, shoes, ties, tie-pins and various other bits and bobs) before headed to Waterloo to get the train.

We arrived at the station ten minutes before our train left but the queues were huge and full of people who couldn’t understand how ticket machines work. Luckily at the station we bumped into a few of the wedding guests who were in a very jolly mood.

One of the guests decided to skip the ticket queue by loudly declaring that I was going to miss my wedding if I didn’t get a ticket right this minute. People smiled and stood aside to let her buy tickets for all of us. I felt like a king, a slightly sheepish one but thanks to the wedding guest’s actions we did get on the train in time.

On the train the guests and my brother drank booze while I fidgeted and told myself off for not having written my speech yet.

When we arrived everyone disappeared off to their hotels to change. My brother scampered off to his hotel to get into his suit and I sat down and finally wrote out my speech.

I had a good few jokes already worked out but I’ve was struggling with sentimentality. It makes me uncomfortable so I tend to go for silly instead. Most of my time spent hunched over the little desk in the room was spent trying to put feelings into the speech. I sort of managed it in the end.

My brother appeared sooner than I expected. I had to jump into my suit and we got a lift off MyLoveLifeInYourHands to the venue.

It was at this point that it felt real. Not just a blog. Not just a silly idea, but real. There were people there, and a really big room to put them in.

There was only a brief moment to chat to official types and make sure the people doing readings had their notes before I had to go and stand at the front of a room with my back to everyone. My bother and MyLoveLifeInYourHands were stood next to me in coordinating suits for moral support.

The rest of the venue was packed out with our friends and relatives. The room rumbled with the sound of 130 people trying to be as quiet as possible while they waited for the music to start.

Of course someone’s phone went off, with a comedy ringtone.

The long pause

We were waiting for a while. TP was late, but there was also a minor issue with the music for her to walk in with. Biscuit couldn’t get it to play. After some swearing and a bit of hitting the grumpy sound system sprang into life and started honking out the appropriate tunes.

The doors opened and The Theatre Producer walked in looking amazing. Only I didn’t know this because the photographer had told me to not turn around and look so I could only hear sighs and the soft rustle as she approached the front of the room.

It was only then that I noticed the beautiful medieval tapestries lining the room were actually depicting a pig being slaughtered. How romantic!

After what felt like forever, I was finally given clearance to look at TP. Only she wasn’t TP any more, she was the person who was about to become my wife.

The ceremony was short but perfect. If you cut all the religious nonsense out of the way it’s a fairly simple job of repeating some lines and then signing a book. It was lightly spiced with three excellent readings. I’ll put the links to them here.

There was a lot of giggling, because the situation was so strange. The Theatre Producer and I do many interesting things together, but one of them is not solemnly look at each other, holding hands and loudly declare things.

We managed it with only the absolute minimum of giggling and everyone cheered. There was even a kiss.

After the ceremony we walked out and people blew loads of bubbles. Confetti was banned at the venue so we went with bubbles instead. Bubbles worked.

The guests finally got to have a drink and TP and I posed for a range of pictures. Some sensible (various mixes of family and ushers/bridesmaids) and the silly, including a couple posing with axes and one where TP was being a bridezilla chasing the entire wedding party. I can’t wait to see that shot.

While this was happening the guests milled around the gardens drinking cocktails, eating ice-cream and playing some extremely aggressive games of croquet.

The Party

The next stage lovely meal with all my favourite people in a room. We’d spent hours, no days working on the table settings.

People were carefully sat next to strangers, ones we were sure would become firm friends and whole tables were designed to have a good mix of interesting types. During the meal I didn’t sit down much and instead walked from table to table catching up with people, some of whom I don’t get to see very often.

It was lovely, but also a little strange because you don’t really get to talk to anyone for very long. Just flit around having snatched conversations.

It may be your wedding, but it some ways it feels like you’re not really there.

After the meal were the speeches, which were all excellent, short and extremely funny.

People had been briefed that bad speeches would be interrupted with a klaxon. They all performed brilliantly, mine went okay. I wasn’t that stressed about it, the thing I really feared was the first dance. I was terrified of the first dance.

Foxtrot time

I hate the awkward shuffle of the traditional first dance, so TP and I had got dance lessons. 5 hours of dance lessons, we’d learned the foxtrot.

Our instructor was forgiving and seem pleased with our progress but I was terrified of messing up the steps.To make things worse, TP’s dress was considerably larger than the one we’d practised with. It kept pushing me away.

We managed it though, even the fancy moves we’d requested in a fit of overconfidence and while I don’t think we would have won a dancing contest we would have been comfortably mid-pack, in the beginners section, of a small seaside town, where people don’t dance, and the judges are drunk, and short-sighted and we’ve bribed them.

Now that dance out of the way I could relax a bit more and catch up with old friends over drinks and observe the construction of the least impressive bomb I think I’ve ever seen. It was made out of party poppers so it didn’t have much to go on but I don’t think there is much a future in fireworks for the people who made it. Still it kept them amused for a few hours.

There was a lot more dancing. Dance cards were supplied for every guest and people were enjoying filling them out. Everyone seemed to have lovely time, apart from the people organising the ceilidh who had to physically herd people around the dance floor. Everyone was very enthusiastic but not very competent.

The end

At about midnight the party stopped, or at least paused.

The venue closed. We got a car back to our honeymoon suite but the rest of the gang got a bus to their hotel and bravely partied on until at least 4.30am. Including a final burst of champagne when a minimum spend was needed at the last-minute and one guest splashed out on a few bottles to get the bar tab high enough.

The next day most of the party joined us for a bacon-based brunch and to re-cap what happened the night before. This was the time when most people signed the guest book, they’d been too smashed the night before. We also spent some time examining the photos and trying to piece together events from the last 12 hours.

All in all it was an excellent day. 10/10, A+, Would recommend to friends.

Lessons learned (over the course of the whole blog)

  • If you want to meet someone right you have to meet a lot of people, like loads, and go on many dates.
  • Even if those dates don’t work out, you’ll make lots of friends.
  • Complete strangers will help you out with stuff if it’s in the name of marriage.
  • Internet dating is the normal now.
  • But everyone pretends on dates that they are new to it and they’re just trying it out because a friend insisted they do.
  • If I make a bet with someone, I’m going to win it.
  • Writing a blog really can change your life.

Living so merrily

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

marriage


noun

1 the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife:

a happy marriage the children from his first marriage

[as modifier]:

marriage vows

  •  (in some jurisdictions) a formal union between partners of the same sex.
  •  [mass noun] the state of being married:they were celebrating 50 years of marriage

2a combination or mixture of elements:

her music is a marriage of funk, jazz, and hip hop

Biscuit

It’s been a busy year for weddings. The summer has been saturated with them and they’ve tended to be very inconveniently timed. We recently had to speed away from my own dad’s wedding immediately after the meal to make the re-entry curfew of a festival which was originally supposed to be our main summer holiday.

You can drive fast but apparently you can’t outrun the guilt.

Much like a child who eats too much chocolate can’t bear to look at it for a while, so I’ll admit that I’d started to feel jaded about them. Given that this whole ridiculous adventure has been about weddings, it’s strange to have spent the last few months feeling like I wished they’d just chill a bit, spread themselves out and pop along at more convenient times. However life is not convenient and, whilst I’m tempted to used a hackneyed cod-philosophical statement about ‘riding the waves maaan’, what I really want to get across is that good times are not gonna wait for you and you’ve gotta grab good times by the balls and make their eyes water.

It is my pleasure to report that recently the good times have been squeaking like Joe Pasquale on helium.

A thing happened…

So… it’s going to be no surprise to any of you, but there was kind of a wedding thing. I’m not going to go into detail of the day, because it wasn’t my wedding thing and so that honour definitely belongs to Toast. What I will say, however, is that the wedding thing, was flipping AWESOME!

When we started this frivolous wager as a way of coping with serious life developments, it felt so far away to me, like it would never really happen. Perhaps if it hadn’t been for this whole ridiculous venture then it would still be far away; who knows? However watching Toast is his suit, waiting for TP to arrive, I realised how far we had both come in 4 1/2 years. It was hard not to feel proud for both of us.

It was also hard not to be impressed that the respective ladies in our lives had put up with the strange situations that blogging about a relationship can cause especially when real people you know, know about the blog. That’s probably more a testament to their strength of character than to our relationship skills

Whilst I’m sure that Toast will give you a run down of all the important things, there are some things I need to tell you. I need to tell you them because Toast and TP were the focus of the day and so maybe didn’t realise how it felt from the other side.

The ceremony was the best I have ever been to because there were no concessions to who they are. There was no lip service in the form of readings that were ostensibly romantic but ultimately the kind of forced romanticism that can sound false. There was absolutely no feeling that any part was just going through the motions. Everything was perfectly silly but perfectly touching and achingly appropriate. My eye leaked a bit because of some dust I must have got in it.

The speeches were similarly, heartfelt, honest, funny and without a hint of Google’s influence. They all felt like speaking from their hearts about people they care deeply about. The marquee was probably a bit breezy as I got some more dust in my eye.

nuclear-bomb-explosionToast will also probably not tell you about the really impressive explosive that I and another guest made from the guts of 80 party poppers and which was totally not a like an anaemic, sleepy firecracker.

Jen and I had a thoroughly fantastic time, scoffing, quaffing and dancing like dicks in the company of delightful friends, both old and new. In short: It was pretty perfect.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll

This started as bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. It was a competition and we worked hard at it because it was important. Over time, some things happened, we both met amazing women and life stopped being a game that we played by ourselves but which we played with someone else.

Toast went one way with TP and and I went another with Jen. We now own our own house and have spent the summer gradually reducing it to rubble in the name of DIY and renovations (there is something very sexy about a dust covered lady manhandling an enormous drill).

In December we’re off to Australia for 3 weeks to attend our last wedding of the year: Dragonforce, my erstwhile housemate and landlady at the time of conception of this whole affair. That feels like some appropriate symmetry and conclusion of another part of this story.

The story of this wager has been made up of many smaller stories. Some short, some ongoing and some only just beginning. I have made some dear friends who I would not otherwise have known and done things that pre-wager biscuit would have shied away from and missed out on.jake-lady-rainicorn-adventure-time-large

This started as a bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. A bet that, according to the rules, Toast has won. In ‘losing’, I’ve found my perfect Partner in Crime who I want to spend the rest of my life with and bring up brilliant, ridiculous children with.

If that’s losing then I wish I lost more often.

The home stretch

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Toast

Suits have been cut, dresses ordered and wines have been tasted. The venues are booked, we’ve got the RSVP cards back and today we are sorting out the seating plan.

This wedding is flipping happening.

There are now less than three weeks to go before – unless Biscuit does something surprising* or The Theatre Producer runs away to join the Navy** – I win the bet.

How we got here

We started over three years ago, with a contest to see who could get married first that was sort of a foolish jape, but it has got a bit out of hand.

If you look at the first page of posts you can see we only had a vague idea of the rules and neither of us was really in a very strong position to actually get married. We’d both had a string of disastrous relationships up till that point.

Lesson learned

It was a silly idea, but it was also quite a good way of tricking ourselves into leaving that man-child space and growing up a bit. I suppose that’s the lesson I’m taking from all this.

To quote the immortal Mary Poppins, ‘In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun, find the fun and *snap* the jobs a game.’

Just don’t tell TP I referred to getting married to her as a ‘job that must be done.’ She might get a bit stabby.

*This wouldn’t be entirely out of character for him.

**Less likely because TP hates running.

In which Toast discovers he has IgA nephropathy and has a think about his future

August 5, 2013 3 comments

ToastTerminator3-09

The results are in. I have IgA Nephropathy. If you’re curious you can read more about it at this handy website.

If you don’t have time to read all that this is what happened:

At some point (science doesn’t know when) and for some reason (again science doesn’t have a clue) a load of my antibodies decided to take up residence in my kidneys and messed them up a bit so they don’t work very well.

What a bunch of twats.

The weirdest part of that, for me at least, is that science doesn’t know what caused it. I thought we lived in the civilised world? I mean I can look at cat videos when-ever or where-ever I want. I’m basically a cyborg, albeit one with wonky kidneys.

What’s next

The doctor’s don’t know what the long-term plans are for this condition. It follows one of two paths. In the first one, the kidneys are a bit smashed up but they don’t get any worse and you live a relatively normal life but just avoid salt if you can.

The second path is that the kidneys get a bit worse every year until they stop functioning and you have to hook up to a machine or buy some new ones on eBay. If you aren’t sure this, is ‘the sad’ outcome.

I won’t find out which one I’m on for a few months because they need to sample my wee far enough apart to draw a nice graph. Although I’ll have another doctor’s visit this week just for the lols and to possibly adjust my prescription.

Drugs

That’s another weird thing I have learned: When it comes to doctors giving you drugs they are just sort trying stuff to see if it works. Like making soup without a recipe. They give you some stuff, see what happens and then if that seems okay, give you some more stuff. In this story I am the soup and the drugs are herbs or things you’ve found in the fridge that you should probably use up.

I’m going to be on drugs from now on, but at least the latest mix doesn’t give me weirdly swollen ankles. Weird ankles, that TP thinks I am imagining but makes the kidney doctor immediately change the dosage I am on. I’m glad that did that, fat ankles don’t work with skinny jeans.

Feelings

I’m still a bit vague about what’s happened over the last month or so. Vague as in I’ve not really processed it and turned it into a pithy anecdote with jokes in. Sometimes I feel fine and other times I just feel like gazing in the the middle distance, maybe at a wall, and not thinking too much.

I’m a bit angry occasionally about how it seems unfair. I mean I’ve done some silly stuff like drinking a lot in my twenties but I eat well and I excise a lot. It feels like some dude sat in his flat playing World of Warcraft and eating crisps has got completely functioning kidneys where I am stuck with wonky ones. It’s bollocks.

Some other times I feel incredibly guilty. The Theater Producer didn’t sign up for this. More insidiously I often feel guilty when I do nothing, like reading a book. Like I’ve suddenly been made aware of my mortality and now I should treasure every second by writing books or changing the world. When all I really want to do is watch Orange Is The New Black and eat chocolate.

Gym heroes

On the plus side the people in the work gym having a great week, because they’ve saved a life, sort of. They’ve even asked me to be a case study on how their job is mega important. My atomically high blood pressure was very dangerous. I wouldn’t have known without them. They were so chuffed they even gave me a free padlock for my locker. WINNING AT LIFE.

In which is turns out Toast is rather unwell but still intends to win the wager

July 3, 2013 8 comments

CARRY-ON-DOCTOR-Frankie-HToast

Okay, this is unexpected, and outside the bounds of what we normally cover on the blog, but it turns out I’m not very well.

I live a pretty healthy life, I’ve never smoked, I eat green things all the time and I don’t drink that much any more (Although long term readers will know that there have been incidents involving booze in the past).

Since I’m doing health stuff I joined a gym near work. As part of the sign up they check your blood pressure before they let you use the gym.

Mine was high. Not just slightly elevated but outside of the range of what would be normal for a human, or even Marlon Brando in is later years.

It was more than double what it should be. The lady at the gym made a face (One I’d see a lot over the next few weeks) and then told me I had to see my GP before I could use the gym.

I arranged an appointment and then sort of rationalised the atomic blood pressure in my head by justifying it an an side effect of the day I’d had.

I’d had to run to the gym appointment and I’d not slept well the night before and I’d stuffed a sugary snack into my face instead of a real lunch.

The medical stuff begins

I went to the doctor expecting him to tell me to drink less coffee and relax a bit. He took my blood pressure and made the face. Then he made me sit outside for half an hour (to make me calm down) and then took my blood pressure again. It was still incredibly high (even higher because I was feeling stressed).

The GP got a second opinion, the consultant made an even worse face and I was sent to A&E.

I should point out didn’t feel unwell in the slightest, unlike the other people in A&E. With nothing else to do I patiently sat around reading a book while I waited for a doctor to see me. They took my blood pressure, made more faces and then disappeared again.

I had my blood taken and had to pee into a little container. It turns out doctors (and nurses) are obsessed with wee. I don’t want to show off but I’m pretty good at weeing in bottles now.

I was examined a bit more, had an ultrasound and was told I was going to be staying in hospital while they observed me. They’d found blood in my wee which wasn’t a good sign.

After a bit of begging I was allowed to go home and pick up some more books and a phone charger and then returned to the ward. I was immediately put on a drip for something and ordered to collect all my wee for 24 hours. I managed to fill up two massive containers with it, which we made me feel really proud in a special sort of way.

Carry_on_scan

Doing time

Hospital isn’t as much fun as the Carry On Films or Scrubs make it look. For a start there is no WiFi and the telephone signal is terrible so you’re sort of stranded. There isn’t much privacy either, just a curtains.

Everyone else on my ward was ill, like properly ill. I felt like a fraud because I didn’t feel unwell in the slightest. Well I had sore arms and hands from all the blood tests but that was it.

It was like when I used to bunk off school with an unconvincing cough and watch telly all day, but without Thundercats and the maternally supplied pizzas.

The staff at the hospital were excellent, but since doctors don’t work weekends I was just hanging around (collecting wee) while they waited to see if the drugs they had given me were starting to work. They didn’t, so I got more drugs and some injections that had to go into my belly.

Apparently the belly bit was really important but it made me giggle every time.

Get busy living or get busy dying

After a while I sort of settled into hospital life. The day starts early with breakfast and there are a lot of tea breaks but apart from that there isn’t much to do. A load of friends visited me and brought me fruit which was lovely. They didn’t serve any fruit on the ward and almost no vegetables.

I think I would have got scurvy without the care packages. It was also nice to talk to someone I knew and who wouldn’t talk to me in a loud voice just in case I was deaf.

My chums also brought a lot of chocolate which I didn’t eat that much of because I felt I should maintain the pretence of being a bit ill even if I didn’t feel it. Instead I used it to bribe the nurses.

It was remarkably effective, I was upgraded to the executive room for the latter half of my stay which was larger than the flat I live in and had two seating areas.

I could held high-powered meetings there, if I hadn’t been in slippers and a backless robe that revealed my bum.

It was nice, but at this point I’d been in hospital enough thank you very much.I was trying to work out elaborate escape plans to get out and experience fresh air and food that wasn’t beige.

Carry-On-Bed-Cleaning

Eventually a very nice doctor told me something was up with my kidneys and that they wanted to take a bit of one of them for further testing.

I was sent home with a bag full of drugs and told to report back in a couple of days. As bonus homework they wanted me to collect my wee for another 24 hours.

This meant I had to smuggle bottles of wee into work and fill them on the sly without people asking questions why I was taking what looked like petrol containers  into the bathroom.

I would say it was a mixed success. I didn’t get sacked but people think I’m a bit mad now.

Carry on Doctor

Return to hospital

The second hospital stay was shorter but more dramatic. I turned up. Pissed in more bottles and got more blood taken and then was told to lie in a bed and wait. A new doctor appeared and explained how he was going to stab me in the kidneys to take a bit.

I was carted off into a room, put under a local anaesthetic and stabbed twice. It was over really fast and was relatively painless, everyone was very good at their jobs.

Then I had to lie down completely still for 4 hours. This was very boring and hard to do with TP making stupid jokes that made me laugh. Laughing hurt. I tried to fight needing to go to the loo for as long as I could but, eventually I had two do it into a special bottle between my legs.

This was even more challenging than normal weeing in bottles because I wasn’t allowed to sit up and I could hear two people next door talking about their best lunch.

I sent TP off to find some biscuits and set to work. I managed it, like a pro, by closing my eyes and pretending I was a spy. A wee spy who needed to pee quietly into a bottle thing to stop a missile going off. I had to do it quietly because otherwise the stereotypical baddies (with AK47s obvs) would hear me.

After the four hours I was allowed to tilt the top of my bed up a little which felt like a huge treat, a few hours after that I was sent home.

Standing was not easy. The doctor said I would feel like I’d been kicked in the back and that’s what it did feel like. But more like being kicked by a horse. I was sent home with orders of bed rest and no jumping around or dancing for a week.

This was fine but I had a wedding on the weekend. The wedding was lovely but while running to get the train I strained something and started bleeding again which meant on the hottest day of the year I had to keep my jacket on to stop it looking like I’d been shot. Doctor_Cyberman

I’m mostly healed from my kidney stabbing now, but not really sure what this all means. I won’t find out the results of the tests for  a few weeks so I’m going to stay on a mixture of drugs for a while, possibly the rest of my life.

Even given that, I’m still not going to get Biscuit win. The wedding is only a couple of months away. I’m sure I can make that.

Fretting over trousers

May 19, 2013 Leave a comment

ImageToast

Weddings are rum old events. People seem to make them in to a big ‘thing’ when really it’s just people you like (and relatives) in a room getting drunk.

The planning for our bash appears to be going well. There have been no fights and the ‘wedding police’ haven’t been called out once.

Here are a list of things we’re not fretting about:

  • The flowers, can anyone remember the flowers from a wedding ever?
  • Seating arrangements, put people next to people you think they’d like.
  • Readings, find something we like, get someone we like to read it.
  • Wedding speeches, keep them short, put in jokes, no being nasty.
  • Food, people are mostly there to get drunk.
  • Booze, Our friends aren’t demanding ‘In a glass’ is about as fussy as they get.

This means when people ask, ‘How is the wedding planning going?’ I don’t have a good answer, which sounds like I don’t care. 

However there are some things I am fretting about/have fretted about:

  • Are my suit trousers too tight? Or too loose?
  • When I first tried my suit trousers on did I take to long so the tailor (who was out of the room) think I was up to something naughty?
  • What is the correct thing to say to the tailor when you’ve finished putting on your trousers?
  • If the tailor isn’t responding to your calls, is it okay to shout?
  • If you are mid-shout when they quietly enter the room from a door you didn’t see is it best to apologise? Or style it out and pretend you are a bit deaf suddenly?
  • If you went with the deaf option, should you shout for the rest of the fitting to stay in character?
  • Also if you bump into a friend in the street, right out side the shop, should you stay shouty to not spoil the ‘story’ you’re maintaining.
  • Even if it’s quite a long chat and someone else turns up?

On an unrelated note I’m a bit scared to go back to the tailors for my final fitting. I wonder if I can get someone else to pick up the suit for me, after all I have lost my voice after all that shouting.

Welcome to Stoke

May 5, 2013 Leave a comment
Welcome To Stoke

Welcome To Stoke

Biscuit

Today is the official 2 year anniversary of when I asked Jen to be my girlfriend (and she said yes).

To celebrate this we booked a day off work to take advantage of the bank holiday weekend and have 4 days away on a sunny foreign beach for a relaxing holiday.

We missed out  celebrating properly last year as Jen’s school friends booked a group weekend away on the only date they could all do so we were determined to make it special this year.

Unfortunately Jen’s Grandpa died rather unexpectedly a week ago. He was a lovely man who she was very close to and it was all a rather horrible surprise. The funeral was on Friday near Manchester so we originally adjusted the plans to fly on Saturday, in an attempt to salvage some of our weekend away, before discovering that there was a big family meal planned on the Sunday, today.

The plans were officially broken. So, instead of the Seychelles, this evening we are staying in a Brittania Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent.

We’re in Stoke-on-Trent as a necessary evil because tomorrow we’re spending the day at Alton Towers for super fun times and it’s only a short drive in the morning. The downside of this, however, is that we’re in Stoke-on-Trent.

On the plus side, if you want to buy a sad looking wedding dress, eat a curry or stare listlessly into the canal contemplating why you’re in Stoke-on-Trent then your desires will be well catered for.

By way of a celebration of our 2 years of glorious relationship we visited Stoke-on-Trent’s second best restaurant. The best restaurant is closed on Sundays. Armed with a carrier bag of Tiger beers, we took our seat in the Indian restaurant, officially doubling the number of diners.

After 5 minutes, 2 families came in and were sat on either side of us, ignoring the 20 other empty tables, and both then got their food first because our waiter had forgotten to take out order to the chef. The small child to my left was playing on his Nintendo 3DS whilst his mum talked about how the “Chechnyan” bombers were brainwashed to be soldiers of God and his dad shot me suspicious glances.

The true delight of this restaurant, however, is the combination of ’80s power ballads drifting around the half empty room accompanied by the silent visuals of Bollywood music videos on the 40″ TV.  Jennifer Rush’s “The Power of Love”, Celine Dion’s “Think Twice” and George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” all followed each other as a succession of Indian women and men coyly danced behind fluted pillars, teased suitors and hung off the back off tuk-tuks, hair flowing in the desert wind and somehow all in time to the music.

The whole thing was so hilariously miserable that we almost choked on our bottles of Tiger with laughter. I asked Jen if this was where she’d imagine being on our second anniversary.

Finally, Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love Yous” finished off our will to live so we left our half eaten currys and sloped back to the Britannia.

Perhaps we should have been having a romantic break away, basking on a white sandy beach, but I’ve just given Jen my last Rolo and we’re going to be to watch Breaking Bad. It may not be what we chose for this weekend but what’s most important is that I’m spending tomorrow with the woman I love eating as many giant hot dogs and ice cream as possible then getting violently spun upside down and possibly vomiting bright orange sugary drinks.

And on that note… play ’em out Sexy Sax Man!