Sunday 29 July 2012

Olympic Cooking

The Olympics are here! It's fair to say that so far this weekend I have been glued to the TV and have quickly become an 'expert' on road cycling, handball, gymnastics and weightlifting, amongst others. We're off to the dressage on Friday, and two synchronised swimming sessions next week (no prizes for guessing who suggested which tickets we apply for...), and I am very excited! I keep forgetting that in reality tomorrow is just another day at work and I can't spend the day flitting between different sports. Bah. Still, we have some time off next week (wedding planning/Olympic watching mission) so just the four days to get through.

Anyway, here's some cake to cheer us all up as we head into another Monday.

And, randomly, some onion bhajis. From sticky mess... crispy oniony goodness.

Friday 6 July 2012

View From The Pigeon Hole

I always knew that the stereotype existed. It's well known and often repeated on tv in some form or another. Post-engagement, and without forewarning, the bride-to-be immediately starts project managing delivery of the wedding that they have dreamed of for decades. Ideas and details, completely alien to everyday humanity, stream forth from hidden depths. The groom-to-be, completely overwhelmed in a sea of lace and ribbon, initially resembles a startled rabbit and rapidly accelerates to levels of apathy and resignation that prepares him for a life of post-marital gloom.

But, I thought to myself, surely this is a thing of the past. Held up for parody and mockery today for the general amusement of those who have made it through and to scare those about to embark.

It appears not.

Don't worry - I'm not referring directly to ourselves here. Frances hasn't yet produced a dog-eared table-center design drawn on the back cover of a school exercise book; and I haven't found myself fascinated by the patterns forming under my pint glass. Instead I'm referring to how others continue to reinforce this stereotype.

When Frances tells work colleagues that she is getting married they fuss over her, wanting to know in detail about how wedding planning is going and excitedly discussing every element. When I told work colleagues that we were taking a few days off work to organise wedding suppliers they offered their condolences ...

The most positive suggestions I've had so far from someone I work with is "best stay out of it - just nod and smile if asked for an opinion". One prides himself in telling me that he knew nothing about what was going to happen on the day and just waited to be told where to go!

At the very least (and I mean very least) surely you would take an interest in what your money is being spent on!

From a personal perspective it never crossed my mind not to be as involved in this as Frances is. We see this as our day, and have been working together to make it work. We each bring different skills to the table and have split up tasks at times, but the journey has always felt like a joint one. Travelling around the county interviewing photographers, and painting mental pictures with florists has been a lot of fun, and frankly there is no greater incentive for marriage out there than the cake tasting! ;)

The clearest demonstration of the maintained stereotype, and the reason I decided to write this post, came from the day we met two potential florists.

I was in charge of organising the meetings with all of the wedding suppliers. Not only do I enjoy this kind of task, but I am also blessed with the ability and time to check e-mails at work occasionally! We also felt that this was a good way of demonstrating to people that I wanted to be as involved in the process as the bride-to-be.

The first florist that we met was a dream. The meeting went incredibly well. She was able to take our half-formed ideas and make them into a complete picture. I didn't expect it to be an area I would be that interested in, but came away buzzing.

A couple of hours later we went to see the second appointment of the day. Despite having organised everything, including multiple back and forth emails, through myself the lady ignored me from the first word. Talking only to Frances she asked for our wedding details and then for our contact details. When I started to provide mine (being the only one of the two of us able to really field calls / emails Monday to Friday) she interrupted and said that she would need Frances's ...
I tried a few times to talk during our meeting and provide my opinion - and each time I was ignored and talked over. We left as quickly as we could.

When the quote was sent through the following day it was addressed to Frances only, and entitled "Quote for Frances". You may have heard the sound it made when it hit the bottom of the bin from where you are ...

This has been an isolated incident (so far!) and the vast majority have welcomed my inclusion with open arms. None more so that when we went to find Frances her wedding dress. This was one place where I felt I was sure to encounter resistance (and of all of the parts has been the most controversial with friends and family!), but not an eyelid was batted. I was treated royally and enjoyed a happy afternoon being served tea while Frances twirled and sparkled before my eyes. Why would anyone not want this?