I made the mistake of getting engaged at Christmas and the next year is going to be the worst and longest of my life.
‘Just do me one favour,’ I said after proposing to Mrs Canavan, romantically, as she cleaned the cat bowl in the sink on Christmas Eve morning. “Let’s just enjoy Christmas now and not mention the wedding again for the next few weeks.”
She agreed. Two hours later I entered the lounge to find her on the laptop looking at potential venues.
‘I’ve drawn up a provisional guest-list as well,’ she added.
Since that day, talk of the wedding has been pretty much constant.
Now on the one hand I can’t really blame her for she has waited a long time for me to pop the question.
Indeed one of her main gripes in life is being referred to as Mrs Canavan in this column when officially she isn’t.
I refer to her as Mrs Canavan because after a decade together, her constant nagging about the lack of help I give her around the house, and the fact that every time I’m feeling amorous she claims to have a bad headache, she certainlyfeels like my wife.
To be honest the only reason I proposed was not because of her but my mother, who has spent the last five years ringing on a daily basis to ask if I’ve ‘any news?’
‘It would be so lovely to have another wedding in the family,’ she’ll then add, subtly.
When I phoned my mum to tell her I’d got engaged, she burst into tears and spent the next few minutes making an odd whooping noise, which I initially mistook for an asthma attack and was on the verge of dialing 999 when I realised she was actually simply overjoyed.
This reaction was in stark contrast to Mrs Canavan, who greeted my proposal with a grunt and the words ‘don’t get any ideas - I’ve woken up with a terrible headache today’.
We are to be married next November (a date selected after I Googled ‘cheapest month for a wedding’ - unlike Will’s and Kate’s above whose nuptials apparently cost £34m), and the reason I began this column by saying it is going to be a long, miserable year is because of all the stuff that has to be done in order to arrange the damn thing.
In the past I have repeatedly said to Mrs C that if we ever did wed I wanted nothing more to do with it than to turn up on the day (apparently that’s a must - I’ve checked and the groom has to be there) and to choose the music for the night-do (lots of early Bob Dylan - the dancefloor will be completely empty).
But it turns out that was wishful thinking for, once you get engaged, things change.
In the last fortnight I have been dragged to four different wedding venues and even had to attend a wedding fair somewhere near Preston.
At the latter, a blonde-haired woman with about four tonnes of make-up on her face said ‘How lovely to see you’ as we were mooching around, and added, with apparent sincerity: ‘Now, have you thought about which chair covers you’re going to have?’
The honest answer to this would have been no, I’ve never thought about chair covers in my entire life and don’t intend to until the day I draw my final breath. But, being British, Mrs Canavan and I shook our heads and mumbled ‘no’.
We then got stuck in what, I kid you not, was a 10-minute conversation about what the chairs at our wedding might look like.
And this, I’m told, is just the tip of the iceberg.
So a year of depressing wedding nonsense awaits me - though on the upside, if it all becomes too much, I’ve checked with the jewellers I bought the ring from and they do refunds.
Booklet a load of stuff and Dom-sense
As a result of the engagement, one of my more well-to-do friends bought me a bottle of something called Dom Perignon.
Now I’d never heard of this Dom chap but apparently he’s pretty good at making champagne.
In fact if there was a football-style league table of champagne, I’m told Mr Perignon would be the Chelsea - top dog.
As a working class lad from Manchester I know little about the finer things in life but even I could tell this stuff was posh because the bottle came inside a huge box, which included a glossy booklet all about the champagne.
It was the most ludicrously written thing I have ever read.
It began: “On the nose, aromas of almond and powdered cocoa develop gradually into white fruit and hints of dried flowers.”
I had a whiff of it. It smelt of champagne.
“On the palate,” it continued, “the wine instantly traces an astoundingly fine line between density and weightlessness.”
That doesn’t even make any sense. It’s either heavy or its not.
“It’s precision is extreme, tactile, dark and chiselled. The full taste lingers with the utmost elegance on a sappy, spicy note.”
Who on earth wrote this rubbish? It’s the same nonsense you see on menus in posh restaurants where they use phrases like ‘triple-cooked floury, fluffy potatoes in a moist fried coating’ to describe chips.
I cracked open the bottle of Dom Perignon to see if it was chiselled, dense but not weighty, and smelt of dried flowers, but to me it tasted just like any other champagne I’d ever tasted - kind of dry and bubbly.
Still, it is nice to know how the other half live - though in future I’ll stick to a pint of mild.