But I *am* on the beach… almost.

A number of well-meaning souls have chided me for blogging when I should be on the beach. Actually, the beach starts about 10 yards from where I’m sitting, in the shade of the resort’s open-sided bar area. It’s lovely and cool in here, and the resort’s one public laptop is available more often than it’s not.

Earlier in the week, an enormous private yacht appeared in the middle distance, where it hovered around for a day or so. The hull was painted dark blue, and it looked as if you could land helicopters at the back.

K got quite excited. “That belongs to the Number Two guy at Microsoft! I saw something about it on the telly a few weeks ago!”

Sceptical as ever, I sat him down in front of the laptop. We Googled.

“Look, you see? It’s a completely different yacht. Honestly, just because you’ve happened to watch some TV programme… you don’t half get some funny ideas… yap yap… dig dig…”

(Oh dear, what has he married?)

But K remained adamant. “I just know there’s some sort of connection with the Microsoft guy.”

A couple of days later, and we’re at a sunset drinks reception on the beach, talking to a nice woman from the resort’s management team. The late sunlight casts an almost surreal glow on the sand and the sea. Combine this with the tidy clumps of dressed-for-dinner guests, sipping champagne and nibbling on canapes served by uniformed staff, and the effect is eerily reminiscent of a Jack Vettriano canvas.

(Which is slightly bothersome, as I’ve never had much time for Mr Vettriano and his jumped-up greetings-card “art”. Why, I could almost be converted. I said: almost.)

“You do know who that big yacht belongs to, right?”, she asks.

“Well, we thought it might be the Number Two guy from Microsoft, but…”

“No, it belongs to the manager of Chelsea football club.”

“What, R0man Abram0v1ch?”

“Yes… his yacht’s often around here. One evening, his young son pitched up on this beach with a small tent, ready to camp out for the night – surrounded by a ring of half a dozen security guards! We had to say No…”

Later that evening, we Google a second time. Well, what do you know: Abram0v1ch bought the yacht (“Le Grand Bleu”) a few years ago, from….

…yup, the Number Two guy at Microsoft.

If you’ve never seen K’s “vindicated” look, then it’s quite a sight to behold: a very particular kind of Cheshire Cat grin, but based around retracted lips and bared gums. “Smug” doesn’t begin to cover it.

And he can keep it up for hours.

But then we are on honeymoon, hurr hurr.

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Talking you through my trousseau.

Something old: My lovely “vintage” (well, they’re four years old) Dries Van Noten sort-of-trainers. (Or the nearest I’ll ever get to such dread apparel, at any rate. I’d join a gym tomorrow, if it wasn’t for the sportswear.)

Something new: I was all-new above the waist, so two items.

1. Canary Wharf may have a lot of clothes shops, but in a place where the identikit Business Casual look dominates, it’s inevitably a tad light on “directional” fashion.

(Aside: having eagerly taken advantage of the Four Business Shirts For 100 Quid offer at T.M. Lewin, I was rather disconcerted to find a good four or five people wearing the exact same blue gingham checked number as me, every time I ventured down to the underground mall for lunch. Sheesh. Remember that little window in the early-to-mid 1980s, when clothing was deemed to be all about expressing individuality? God, how that dates me.)

So, anyway, thank goodness for the new season’s range at Thomas Pink, which has gone firmly down the Exploiting The Brand Name For Maximal Commercial Advantage route. Yup, with pink still (still!) very much the “in” colour with the Canary Wharf Biz Cazh set, Thomas Pink are pushing their pinks for all they are worth. I plumped for their brightest, most vibrant stripes, with some broader scarlets thrown into the palette for contrast. Natty!

(Or at least as natty as you can get when you’re basically living inside a 3D-animated Artist’s Impression. I never did post my Why Canary Wharf Is The Most Suburban Place In London rant, did I?)

2. Having spent the two days before the Big Day working from home, and sweating buckets over a particularly chewy assignment which I had to restart from scratch at the eleventh hour, I finally handed the work over at 16:10 on Thursday afternoon.

Just popping into the office to hand my expenses in, and catch up on a bit of admin, I said.

OK, not strictly true. For I had a Fashion Emergency to resolve.

Now changed into the brand new Thomas Pink shirt and tomorrow’s trousers (see below), I marched briskly up to the counter of Flannels in Bridlesmith Gate.

“I have a Fashion Emergency!”, I declared. “I need to find a jacket to match this outfit, and I need to find it before you close for the day.” (Which was in less than an hour’s time.)

“What sort of jacket are you looking for, sir?”

“I have absolutely no idea, ha ha! I was rather hoping you’d be able to help me!”

OK, borderline hysteria beginning to seep through mask of calm and control. Half the people who have ever served me in this place are gormless wide boys who’d tell me I’d look good in a sack. The other half, however, do know a thing or two about clothes. Fifty-fifty shot.

“Have you thought about cream? There’s this one over here…actually, it’s more of a stone colour…”

Without even asking my size, the assistant is pulling a stone coloured jacket off a display dummy. It looks nice. Really, really nice. He helps my arms through the sleeves.

Oh my God, it’s perfect. Really, really perfect. Nothing like anything I had imagined – more relaxed, seemingly more unstructured – but actually, an understated triumph of tailoring.

“You’ll notice there are no back vents. That makes the effect more…”

“Slimming! I know! And it covers my paunch brilliantly, look!”

“And it really lifts the shirt…”

“Absolutely. It adds an edge to what is otherwise a fairly conservative business shirt. I can’t believe I’m buying the first jacket I’ve tried on…”

(Some people over at the till have turned around to look at me. How gratifying.)

“…but I’ll take it. How much does it cost?”

I have just looked at the inside label. Oh God, it’s Gucci. It’s going to be a small fortune.

Actually, it’s only about two-thirds of what I would have expected to pay for a Gucci jacket. Done deal, then.

(Gucci, ferfuxsake! I’ve never bought Gucci before in my life. Waaaay too bling. And yet this isn’t, not even slightly. My, they have changed since Tom “Grrrr!” Ford left.)

K – who stocked up on a head-to-toe Gieves & Hawkes outfit the previous weekend in Birmingham, the sneaky bugger, so much for who-cares-what-we-wear-on-the-day, we’re-only-signing-a-bit-of-paper – is delighted. No longer shall I be the poor cousin at the altar.

Something borrowed: The outdated trappings of a decaying heterosexist institution, obviously. Oh, I’m still quite the Gender Politics warrior, I think you’ll find!

Something blue: Paul Smith jeans, bought in Birmingham Selfridges in April 2005, on the day of our twentieth anniversary. (Yes, we spent nearly six hours of our twentieth anniversary shopping for outfits in Selfridges. Wanna make something of it?)

Coming up: Those going-away wardrobes in full. Or maybe not…

Oh, so our tropical island paradise does have Internet access after all…

Paradise is not without its hitches: yesterday at breakfast, there was no Hollandaise sauce with K’s Eggs Benedict. Imagine!

The only reason we didn’t immediately demand a full refund: K spotted that our table tops were hewn from the exact same style of granite as our pastry table in the cottage kitchen. Kindred spirits, and all that. Everyone is allowed one minor lapse. Just the one, mind.

We are amusing ourselves no end with our traditional favourite holiday pastime: inventing bitchy back-stories for our fellow guests.

(Examples deleted. Poor taste, bad karma.)

Evil, evil, evil. But so much more fun than the mundane truths which probably lie behind, ooh, let’s see, a good 70% of our fevered imaginings. It’s being vicious little madams as gets us through.

I have never seen sea water like this before. How do you say “crystal clear” without resorting to cliché? The colours are at their most vivid and complex just before lunchtime. If you lower your eyes to the level of the roiling, white-tipped swells (hem hem descriptive language), the effect is rather like gazing out over fields of half-set spearmint jelly.

For a scaredy-cat non-swimmer, I can be quite the water baby.


For more on That Wedding Legal Union (hey, I was a little drunk), Miss Mish has a write-up and a photo, and Alan has transcribed a text conversation. Incidentally, Alan also has clicky-to-enlarge camphone snaps of That Stag Weekend Girlie Nite Out in Manchester, here and here.


Comedy highlight of the Happy Day: when the nice lady registrar, after double-checking my full name, date of birth, occupation and so on, asked me to “confirm my gender”. Having successfully managed to keep my wedding tackle inside my kecks over eleven weeks of regular attendance at Amateur Strip Night down the White Swan, I was in no mood to whap it out at the registry office, legal requirement or not.

“I’m a man”, I growled, in best butch voice. She seemed convinced.


Greetings card sentiment of the day came from Buni (or maybe from his handsome new-ish partner J), who inscribed – inside a card whose cover read ENJOY YOUR BIG GAY DAY! – the following:“Congratulations on settling your financial arrangements and securing visitation rights.” A necessary corrective. We liked that.


I have noted with amusement the clarion calls for a caption competition, in the next post below. OK, so let’s roll with this.

THE OFFICIAL TROUBLED DIVA LEGAL UNION OF THE CENTURY CAPTION COMPETITION.

There will be a prize of fraganced spa-resort incense sticks, all the way from the sun-drenched Maldives to the person who can come up with the best caption for this photo.

partn03

Please leave your entries in the comments box.

Nice talking to you. Back off to the beach now.