Thursday, 3 April 2008

In Sickness and in Wealth

Theo and I consider ourselves generally healthy people. We've seldom taken time off work because of sickness, priding ourselves on our strong constitutions and robust immune systems. So if you're going to get struck down by a debilitating stomach bug, silenced by acute laryngitis and hit with a cold, why not choose the time when you're trying to organise and star in a wedding for two hundred guests, move out of your flat, sell your car and quit your native country? Oh, and timing the worst of it to begin on the first day of married life together...? Perfection.

But that's what happened. Our post nuptial breakfast at the Brigstowe Hotel in Bristol consisted of an extremely unromantic bowl of cereal and some orange juice because neither of us could face anything else. Theo had to sprint to the loo a bit sharpish as soon as he'd finished his anyway.

In fact, neither of us had eaten or drunk a huge amount at our wedding - possibly because we were so overwhelmed by the occasion, but more likely because we were both coming down with something and just didn't have the appetite. Theo was so sober by the end of the night, he could have driven us to the hotel himself if the car hadn't been parked there already.

Luckily, several members of our families and various friends came to our rescue on Sunday as we set about the task of clearing up. It was all done in a few hours and we were able to relax in the evening and open the huge pile of cards and presents we'd been given.

Now THAT was a real eye-opener. Despite us saying to people we weren't expecting presents because we needed them to help us put the wedding on in the first place, most people gave us some money. In fact so generous were our nearest and dearest and so cheap was the final bill for the day itself (thanks to the largesse of our loved ones...and the handy fact of Theo being a former employee at our venue, Manor Hall, so we got the use of it for free) that we realised we not only spent less than a thousand pounds on a pretty lavish do, but ultimately came out in profit. Shame we can only get married the once, we could have turned it into a decent business.

Monday morning was when we had to move out of our flat. Despite having shifted a whole bunch of boxes a week previously, there was still an awful lot to do. We woke up both distinctly pale around the gills and feeling lousy. Great. My mum was there and gamely got stuck in for the couple of hours before she had to get the plane back to France. Then it was down to us. Theo was particularly badly hit by the tummy bug, but soldiered on grimly. Not a morsel of food passed our lips all day - which was probably just as well because we wouldn't have had time to stop and eat anyway. We kept our energy levels up with sips of cola and tried not to think about our stomachs, which felt like they were hosting a rugby match at the Memorial Stadium.

Starvation turned out to be the best plan because by the time we got to Theo's parents that evening we were both a bit brighter, although rather knackered. But getting down to sleep cued The Revenge Of The Phlegm as a cold took hold of Theo's nasal passages and my chest infection submerged my bronchial cavities. I woke up about five am feeling like the Parret Estuary. At low tide.

Our final day in Bristol was spent tying up loose ends, including selling the car and sorting out bits for Sheena (who, by the way, had been performing marvellously as a removal van). We risked a bit of strawberry and banana smoothie and when that didn't cause any untoward side-effects, shared a bowl of skinny chips at the Tinto Lounge. On our way to Poole, where we were getting the ferry, we stopped of at The Talbot Inn in Iwerne Minster - a very well-appointed place where we snoozed in Sheena in their carpark, ate soup, drank tea and hot chocolate, played backgammon and finally used their nice clean toilet area for brushing our teeth and washing faces ahead of a night at the dockside.

Our boat, the Barfleur, was leaving for Cherbourg at 0830 in the morning, boarding an hour before. So it felt great to have a decent night's sleep in Sheena (whose sleeping accommodation is unrivalled - I think it may be the most comfortable bed we've shared so far) and get on the ferry surrounded by the bleary faces of people who don't have the luxury of a bedroom on wheels. And we're definitely feeling a lot better. Maybe our libidos will make a recovery soon as well.

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