Alice-Azania Jarvis: The perils of a free bar - singalong anybody?

In The Red
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The Independent Online

When I said that my bathroom would be fixed sometime next decade, it was meant to be a joke. The insurers seem to be taking it as an instruction. It's not helped by the convoluted agent-broker-decision-maker communications chain, which sees me kept abreast of developments only once they have been conveyed to several dozen other pairs of ears. Nor by the lack of enthusiasm on the part of certain individuals (who shall – for now – remain nameless). Anyway, I've spent the overwhelming majority of the week on the phone repeating the same question: "Any news?"

It has become a kind of game, working out how often I can check on the situation. Is morning and afternoon ok? Morning, midday and afternoon? Will my enthusiasm speed the process up, or will it arouse such a sense of irritation amongst everyone involved that they end up performing every task even slower than they already do? If that's possible. Surely it can't be!

At least the wedding was good. More than good – it was lovely, and absolutely ideal as a First Wedding Experience Ever. Amazingly, the bride and groom had done a lot of the legwork – things usually handed over to experts – themselves. The flowers were picked by them, the day before (all wild flowers from the surrounding Somerset countryside). The bunting which lent such a festive atmosphere to everything – from the garden reception to the dining marquee – was not only erected by them, but actually home-made, too. Even the wedding cake had a personal touch – a relative of the bride (I forget which; too much wine, on which more later) had baked it. Gratifyingly, this was all done without the guests' knowledge. There was no smug braying, no boasting of the happy couple's creativity or thrift. I only know of their efforts because one of the bridesmaids told me the next day, in a hungover moment of transparency.

Speaking of which: Ah, the perils of a free bar. Despite all my best intentions – I had resolved to behave like a Proper Adult, keep my heels on, refrain from spilling wine down my dress and try not to get too drunk – it all went to my head. When someone is proffering unlimited top-ups of champagne and rosé that you don't need to pay for, it's jolly difficult to remember the word "no". And so the night ended with me and a former flatmate serenading a quietened dance floor with Beatles classics: "All You Need Is Love", "When I'm Sixty Four", "Can't Buy Me Love". Dignified! Ah well. There's always next time.

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