Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wren's chilli con carne

I BLAME the barmaid at the Tut. Ever since we popped in for a little drink the other weekend the talk has all been about weddings.
The barmaid in question saw the ring on Wren's finger and immediately went all gooey about how she loved nuptials, watched the Weddings Channel on Satellite TV and demanded to know when we would be tying the knot.
After about half an hour of the conversation I disappeared outside for a cigarette and didn't rematerialise until the coast was clear. By then, she and Wren had decided it was time to set a date. Game, Set and Match to the women.
Only joking. It was probably about time I got a kick up the arse and tried to organise something, so at the weekend Wren and I actually got down to talking tactics. And we had a great idea. If we chose the Sunday on the second bank holiday in May it would be excellent. The weather would probably be good and anyone wanting to stay over might be off work on the Monday. It meant my pals from all over the country would have 24 hours to shake off their hangovers.
May 24 it is then. Umm, or maybe not.
I thought I had better check things out with my close family so rang them to impart the news. Ten minutes later I received a text message from my bro Tim. "Do you realise that date will coincide with the League One Play-off final?" He politely inquired. I had to laugh.
Tim, like me, is a dyed-in-the-wool gashead, but putting off a wedding for the play-off final when our beloved team only won one of their last 15 matches in the season just gone? In the words of Ricky Gervais in Extras: "You're having a laugh".
Then I got to thinking about it. And the more I got to think about it, the more I started to worry. If I had the wedding on that day you can guarantee the Gas would rise from the Ashes like some footballing version of a Phoenix, march on to Wembley and 25,000 Gas supporters, including some of my mates, would be hot-footing it to London for the great day.
Meanwhile I would be standing at the altar (or whatever they have for a civil ceremony), looking nervously at my watch, wondering about things 150 miles away. The registrar's words would be muddled in my brain (do you, Paul Trollope, take this trophy...) and my words would be muddled in response (I Nick Rippington take Ricky Lambert to be my lawfully wedded...) It just doesn't bare thinking about.
I sheepishly mentioned the conundrum to Wren, but she is so understanding that it wasn't a problem. "Let's do it on the Saturday then."
Ok, no problem. Only that is the date of the Championship play-off final and, if by some bizarre coincidence, Cardiff City or Swansea City were to appear in it suddenly half my guest list would disappear overnight.
So now our wedding is being dominated by mythical sports events that probably won't happen. But you can't take that chance. I've heard of stories where unprepared bridegrooms have marched down the aisle on the same day that Wales have been taking on England at rugby.
At one point in the afternoon nearly all the guests had disappeared, only to be found huddled around the TV... in the bridal suite!
By now, of course, Wren must be aware that she is going to become a sporting widow. But she is very philosophical, which is why I love her (creep, creep).
The worst thing is, of course, that now we have agreed to change the date I have completely ruled out any hope of the Gas reaching the play-off finals next season. Sod's law.

Another reason I love Wren. I returned home on Saturday night from a WoS shift to find she had made a bucket load of chilli con carne.
She, however, was having a jacket potato and ready meal for tea.
"It's all for you," she said. "I know you're too busy to cook (and spend far too much time in the pub afterwards, the subtext read) so I've made you enough for the week."
It was quite hot, too, enough to bring perspiration to my brow.
Not as hot as I usually have it, though, so I decided on Monday to spice up the first installment a bit more by adding a Scotch Bonnet chilli. And more chilli powder. And some cumin and black pepper.
Kaboom! It blew my socks off and brought tears to my eyes. Trying to rub them away I managed to rub a little chilli into my eye, despite the fact I had earlier washed my hands.
So I watched the Simpsons with eyes streaming and forehead dripping.
Just the way I like it!

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