Sunday, December 21

Happy Solstice

21st December
Today is our wedding anniversary.
We got married on the winter solstice because:
1. The Director's work life is governed by moon phases - he’ll always remember the solstice.

2. It is the date when everything starts to get lighter and therefore better

We got married in Las Vegas because:
1. The Director works away from the UK a lot and filming dates are constantly changing

2. That year he was definitely working in California until mid-December

3. The Director had promised his children (Betty and Barney) that we'd have a holiday together.

Mid-December 1999 saw Betty, Barney and I flying to San Francisco, where we picked up a Winnebago and embarked on the Grand Marriage Tour.

First night:
Snowy Grand Sequoia National Park. Driving on the winding hill road induced nine-year old Barney to regurgitate an entire packet of Oreos over himself. His father had to strip him entirely and somehow hose him down before getting him into fresh clothing, we left the set of vomitty clothes behind.

Arrival at Las Vegas:
The hotel was old but had promised a pool, parrots and palm trees. When we got there half the pool was closed and children were forbidden in the tiny bit that was left. All the parrots and palm trees had been packed away for the winter - what was left was a sleazy lobby full of people who needed a stool per butt-cheek playing slot machines.

The wedding day:
A stretch limo dropped us at the sheriff's office where we waited in line for the processing window and a lady to bash out our form on a proper old typewriter. Standing with us were flamenco dancers, cave people and a few meringue-type wedding dresses, I was wearing the dress my stepmother had worn to marry my father in the sixties, a navy blue lace shift - very Jackie O. The one good thing about the hotel was the foul-mouthed Hispanic hairdresser who laquered and tethered my hair into a perfect Audrey Hepburn updo.

After the Wedding:
Once back at the hotel the Director, overcome with emotion, collapsed on the purple satin bed, stared at his reflection in the ceiling mirror and declared himself poorly. Barney, Betty and I went out on the town without him, Barney was the world champion air guitar player at the time and managed to persuade hotel bouncers to follow us down the road playing their air guitars too.

Challenge of the evening: the brownie and ice cream mountains at the Harley Davidson café.

Christmas 1999:
Dead Horse Ranch, Arizona camping among geriatric permanent residents who wore pastel leisure suits and carried or dragged poodles around. We parked under a leafless tree and on Christmas eve, while the children were sleeping, we wrapped small items in foil and suspended them from the tree’s branches with dental floss.

New Year 2000:
A campsite high above the Californian town of Escondido. We watched Escondido’s fireworks and the trying-to-get-there-in-time traffic jam. We met some hippies who had been arguing, but then they stopped and everyone made friends and we all had a bonfire and drumming party.

This year:
We are both erratic present givers, The Director tends to panic at the last minute and grab whatever he sees at the motorway services, in the past I have been handed a plastic shopping carrier and map bundled into a paper bag. This morning I was given a very beautiful necklace made from several strings of small grey-green jade beads clasped at intervals with pieces of silver.

I gave The Director a dart board and darts, which were received with a puzzled look.


  1. I think I've seen that movie. As I recall the Winnebago was stolen while the couple was in a Vegas breakfast joint, they had to sell their suitcases for bus fare and because of their accents the Escondido judge considered over night jail service unless they could prove they weren't vagrants. Don't recall how things turned out.

    I like your story, great posting.

  2. ...The hippies turned up, got the judge stoned and they all climbed into a big red bus, continuing the holiday together singing Cliff Richards songs

  3. I enjoyed this post a lot. About as different from our lives as I can imagine - although Bob once did something similar to the Oreos stunt in the confined space of a glider cockpit.
    (Oh, and I proposed to the SS as we sped past Gretna Green on the A74, on the grounds that It'd help me remember where).

  4. Happy Solstice Anniversary -

    Again, another surreal episode from your life to enjoy with my coffee....

    Bill, I want to watch that movie.

    The Las Vegas wedding/winnebago vacation is an American geriatic dream come true - the only way to top that would be isolated in a remote area, deprived of basic comforts with unfriendly natives surrounding you....
    Are you sure you two arent gathering material for a "Lost" episode?

  5. The piece about the oreos is so hysterical. Happy Anniversary!

  6. Brother T - eeeeuw - mess in a glider cockpit, probably worse than in a van.
    Deborah - I've not seen Lost since the first series - are they off the island now then?
    Dooder - It's the kind of thing that's better to hear about than be there - are you still wearing those shorts?

  7. a cat tale for your monday morning:
    i finally got time to put up the christmas tree friday - always a pleasure as i have a nice selection of ornaments from the years. it is in collin's room for his best viewing. however, the one who is enjoying it the most is the cat. she's been good (so far) about not taking all the balls off, has climbed into it only once and sits for a long time in front of the tree, simply gazing at it. if i cant find her, she is laying under it - very thoughtful of mommy to bring a tree in the house. she has been zooming around the house as a little toddler does this time before christmas. this is her third christmas, second tree with us and no, i did not buy her a "present" as she has plenty of home-made toys.

  8. Happy Solstice to you as well.

    I do like what you have done with the barbed wire decorations. I'm not saying that because I live in Texas, well, maybe I am.

  9. "Dead Horse Ranch"? I am hoping you made that up in that clever way of yours. The Director is starting to emerge from the shadows... I am intrigued. I recently singled out oreos for a favorable mention but I can understand why you might never want to see one again. Merry, Merry Christmas to you.

  10. I loved the cat tale Deborah, 'sitting gazing at the tree' hmmm, which drugs are you giving her?

    XL - is everyone in Texas doing these bardbed wire wreaths then?

    KSV - I promise you Dead Horse Ranch exists, it's about 4 hours drive south of the Grand Canyon. Mention of Oreos does give rise to a chorus of sound fx in our household


Related Posts with Thumbnails