I’ve known my partner for a long time.
We first met in the vegetable aisle at Tesco in 2003. I was wearing a striped shirt, she mistook me for a member of staff and asked if I knew where they kept the pickled gherkins … it was love at first gherkin.
So we’ve been together a decade and more and during that time I’ve got to know her well.
I know, for instance, that she enjoys having her back rubbed, that her favourite food is lasagne (with gherkins), and that as a child she once accidentally killed her pet hamster after filling its water bottle with cola “to see what would happen” (it ran really fast on its wheel for half-an-hour, then keeled over).
But I digress. The point is that I thought I knew her well – but since getting engaged at Christmas (to me, obviously, not to someone else), she has changed.
Her life now appears to have become completely consumed by organising “the wedding”.
So intense are the preparations I daresay even the British generals advising the strategy for the D-Day landings didn’t put as much thought and effort into it as Mrs Canavan is into our impending nuptials.
The worst of all the changes, though, is the fact that she keeps returning home with different wedding-related magazines.
Now for anyone who hasn’t read one of these things I feel it’s only fair I should share it with you.
The one I have in front of me – picked at random from the bulging pile on Mrs Canavan’s bedside table – is called You and Your Wedding.
It is 292 pages-long (though I’d say at least a third of these pages are adverts), cost £4.99, and has thrilling features like ‘Flower Power – The hottest colour combos’; ‘Soft Touch – Choose pastel pinks and neutral hues for your best girls’; and – my personal favourite – ‘You’re So Vein – Worried about flashing those thread veins? Worry no more’.
As reads go, I think I’ve had more fun browsing the Yellow Pages.
They also use weird little terms in their articles, like this: ‘My h2b is a legs man’.
It took me five minutes to work out that meant ‘husband-to-be’, five minutes I wouldn’t have lost had they simply written out the phrase ‘husband-to-be’.
I feel a bit unfair singling out You and Your Wedding because I am sure it is no worse than the many other bridal publications out there, but it really is mind-blowingly banal.
Half the magazine consists of cool-looking photographs of grooms and brides (called, marvellously, ‘Aisle Style’), who bear no resemblance whatsoever to any grooms/brides I have ever set eyes on.
Every couple is handsome and beautiful with whiter-than-white teeth, blemish-free skin and a stick-thin figure.
Thankfully I’m blessed with all of the above, but poor old Mrs Canavan certainly isn’t and I worry she might get an inferiority complex.
One picture shows a newly-wed couple posing on a motorbike, on a beach, wearing sunglasses.
I’ll be honest here, that wasn’t like the scene in Leyland at the last wedding I went to.
Of all the fantastic drivel in the magazine, my favourite is an article called ‘The ultimate guide to buying your dress’, which contains advice from fashion designers like “I love the crisp minimalism of silk mikado and zibeline” (come again?).
There’s even a section about how to style your mum (“for the mother who’s sensitive about her arms, an embroidered organza jacket or bolero makes for a chic and stylish look that won’t compromise confidence”).
I’ve warned Mrs Canavan that if she brings one more of these daft magazines into our house then the wedding is off.
She’ll ignore me, obviously, but I can but try.
Ikea are just not game for
Bad news for those of you planning to head to Ikea for a game of hide-and-seek. It’s been banned.
Now I didn’t realise this was a popular past-time – when I go to Ikea it’s generally to buy a cheap wardrobe that comes with an instruction manual so complicated it takes a further seven years to erect.
But apparently on the continent so many people are heading to their local Ikea to partake in games of hide and seek that the company has announced anyone found playing it will be asked to leave the premises.
The company was forced to take action when it was revealed that 19,000 people – so about 19 times the crowd at Bloomfield Road these days – had arranged on social media to descend on an Ikea in Amsterdam for a mass game.
“Ikea is like an extremely large living room,” said one of the organisers, “which makes it perfect for hide and seek.”
A fair point, though it is worrying to think that, as a customer, you could purchase a cupboard and get home to find a young man crouching in there.
Asked about the ban, Ikea spokeswoman Martina Smedberg came up with the memorable response: ”We need to make sure people are safe in our stores and that’s hard to do if we don’t even know where they are.”
The world has gone mad.