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Off the cuff.

Byline: By Richard Ord

The Nuptual Express has gathered pace. It has plunged over the precipice and is hurtling towards the church at tremendous speed. I'm standing in its wake. It's disappearing out of sight. All I can make out is the coil of rope in front of me unfurling rapidly. By the time I realise one end it attached to the marital express and the other to my foot, it's yanked taut and I'm crashing across the ground, dragged into the abyss by the runaway juggernaut " Me, nervous about marriage? Whatever gave you that idea?

LAST week I mentioned how I'd popped the question and in doing so set the unstoppable wheels of marriage in motion. Well, let me tell you, there's no hanging about. I thought I might have had a bit of a reprieve. A stay of execution so to speak. Not that I'm saying it's like going to the gallows, far from it, but in this marriage lark I do, at least, get a last meal _ devils on horseback! but more of that later.

I'd love to talk about something more pressing in this column, like Big Brother (how come, despite intolerable food rationing in the Big Brother household, does Gos continues to put on weight?), but the forthcoming nuptials are omnipresent. I cannot escape them. My input into the discussions is minimal. Oh, don't get me wrong, my opinion is sought on all manner of marriage minutiae but I either don't understand it, or my ideas are met with mild amusement " and duly rejected. (I ask you, what is wrong with an orange morning suit complete with top hat and silver topped cane to walk down the aisle in?)

I'M swept along in a state of confusion. The wedding breakfast, when mentioned by one woman showing us around some stately home or other, seemed such a good idea. Sausage, fried eggs, black pudding, bacon and a strong cup of coffee would set me up nicely on the morning of the ceremony.

Turns out the wedding breakfast is, in fact, your dinner. "Why's it called the breakfast then?" The lady talking us through the finer points of the wedding arrangements smiled politely, while her eyes told me to shut my yap. I find my mind drifting during these talks. (Is Gos eating the furniture?) But it's quickly dragged back into the fray with more nonsense. "And for starters you can have devils on horseback." I nod sagely. "They're prunes wrapped in bacon, Mr Ord." "Of course they are "" (Are the editors of Big Brother cutting out the bits where Gos does handstands and juggles with flaming balls and chickens or is he really that boring?)

I'M woken again by an elbow from my intended. "Do you have any questions Richard?" "Erm, is there a bar?" I say the Wedding Juggernaut is careering towards church, but that's not strictly true. Our wedding will feature lots of grey men in ill-fitting 80s suits and Bart Simpson ties and losing Giro cheques. We're having a civil service. The reasons for the event not taking place in a church are too personal to reveal here. All I'll say on the matter is that the modern church should have a more open mind toward Ouija boards and animal sacrifice if they are to attract more bums on seats.

As we're having a civil service it's the law that there can be no mention of God and strictly no religious music (and there's me hoping to walk down the aisle to Cliff's Saviour's Day.) I questioned what would happen if during the ceremony God was inadvertently mentioned or perhaps a couple of bars of Onward Christian Soldiers was played on the old Joanna? I was told the offender would be taken outside and given a sound beating by the registrar. Well, rules is rules.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 19, 2003
Words:642
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