I HAD one of those socially awkward moments on Saturday. You know the type, you are waiting to get served at the bar and you bump into a former friend from many moons ago, and can't remember for the life of you what their name is. So you get a stilted conversation which goes something like this...
FORMER FRIEND: Hello, Rippers, how are you? Lovely to see you (luvvies kiss, kiss)
ME: Yeah, and you ummm... And how are you these days? Haven't seen you for ages (Brain: What's her name? What's her name? What's her name?)
FORMER FRIEND: Well, we're just going to take our drinks outside (subtext: Come and see us when you've been served)
ME TO MY BRAIN: (What on earth is her name you alcohol soaked piece of sponge. Come on! You used to go out drinking with her on international afternoons. She's a former workmate of your friend Jane, she used to be best pals with Scooby's ex)
Nothing. Despite all the prompting.
By this time I've been served and take the drinks out to Wren in the beer garden of the Wig and Pen. Just by coincidence my former "friend" and her pals are on the next table to us. Which presents another Social catastrophe. How to introduce my future wife to this former "pal forever".
"Hi this is Wren, Wren this is gmfmgmgg (in very quiet voice)
WREN: "Sorry, dear, didn't catch that. What's her name?"
You wait for the former friend to help you out, but she just leaves it up to you to repeat the introduction...
This whole conversation, by the way, is taking place in my brain while I hide behind my fiancee and hope no one notices me. Wren says, "Shouldn't we go over and speak to them?"
"No, babe, we can't." I explain the dilemma.
"But they'll be expecting you to."
"I know. I think I'll text Scooby. Ask him who it is..."
Which I do, anxiously staring at the phone, waiting for the reply.
So I then have a brainwave. "I just need to go to the loo, babe."
Sneaking through the bar I emerge at the front door and quickly tap Jane's number into my phone. "The person you are calling isn't available at the moment. Please leave a message..."
I swear at the phone. Bloody Jane. Don't know why you have a phone. You NEVER answer it. What's the point.
Second brainwave. I ring her brother Peter. Another member of that crowd we used to go out with many moons ago.
Thank God. He does answer his phone.
I describe the "former friend".
"Sorry mate. Jane's slightly red-headed mate? Can't think who you are talking about."
By now, to Wren, this must seem the longest wazz in history.
"Yeah, you do. You know, used to go out with Scooby's ex."
"Oh, you mean Toni."
"YES, YES, YES. Toni, that's it. Thanks mate, brilliant. I owe you."
I walked back through the bar, pleased as punch. I envisage guiding Wren over to the table and making the introductions. "Wren this is Toni, Toni this is Wren my bride to be."
I emerge into the beer garden with a smile on my face... everything is fine now.
Except Toni and her friends have gone. They probably left cursing what a rude bloke that Rippers is, not bringing his girlfriend over to meet them. Aaaargh!
Anyone, it was a pretty good day. Wren and I walked into town and were delighted to find a German brockwurst concession stand in the middle of Queen Street. That solved the brekky problem. I had a spicy sausage in a bun with curry ketchup while Wren settled for the more traditional fare. Yummy. Glad to say it was still there when I walked in to work the following Tuesday, too, so I may be visiting again before long.
After that it was the aforementioned visit to the Wig and Pen, then back home with a juicy fat steak I bought from the market. We settled down to watch Wales beat England in a tremendous rugby game after I had first celebrated Valentine's Day with a terrific result for the Gas at high-flying Scunthorpe - a 2-0 win. Wren must have been delighted, no miserable boyfriend on February 14.
That night we had a lovely steak with saute new potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes and my own pepper sauce concoction. Very nice. We also watched the first episode of Cracker, having bought the whole 11 dvd series for just £35. Astonishingly, we counted up that we had bought 21 dvd's in all on Saturday morning, when I originally insisted that it wasn't to be a shopping trip.
On Sunday we drove out to Morrisons for some shopping then, it being the nicest day of the year so far, went down to the seafront in Penarth and walked around the lovely Alexander Park. After that it was off to the Odeon to watch the terrific Danny Boyle film Slumdog Millionaire. All the plaudits for it weren't exaggerated, a totally originally film with a real feelgood factor attached. We can highly recommend it.