Mildred and Mavis Ride Again
 
Mildred and I are a rare treat last night.  We went to a wedding reception.  The bride is a young lady who works in the local park as a warden.  I don't really know her but Mildred, who talks to everybody - she is the so called "nutter on the bus" - what a horrible phrase that is - goes there quite often and has got to know her.  Her new husband works in one of the banks in town where he does something in computers.  I have often wondered what that phrase means.  It sounds like he puts on a boiler suit an descends into the bowels of a computer case armed with a screwdriver.  I suspect that the truth is that he wears a suit and manipulates our bank accounts to show a benefit to the Bank at our expense.

Anyway.  We arrived early, too early, before the main wedding breakfast had finished.  We hadn't been invited to that part.  Rather than look like two sad old ladies we went back to our car, our elderly but much loved Morris Minor - to whom I intend to devote a whole page one day - and decided to have a drive round the block.  The Hotel used to be the Officers Mess for a now long gone airfield, a memory of the Second World War, and is located on top of a hill.  The wind howls a little there and when it rains, it rains hard.  As we pulled out of the car park the heavens opened and we were struck by thousands of hailstones.  They clattered over us as I somewhat unsteadily started off down the road into the local village.  We have had some quite warm weather recently and the general ambient temperature combined with the freezing hail conspired to steam up our windows.  I drove more slowly than usual, why people have to go faster the forty miles an hour I do not understand, thirty five is plenty fast enough especially on a rainy night.  The next fifteen minutes was spent in a haze of window wiping and regretting that when designing this wonderful motor car, they did not pay more attention to the lights.  Fortunately we saw little other traffic, but there were times when with Midlred's red hanky smearing the widscreen yet again, the mist that rose rapidly from the lane and the naturally bendy nature of so much of rural England; that I wondered if our short drive was really worth the bother.

By the time that we arrived back at the Hotel things had picked up.  Of course we knew nobody else and having secured a drink we followed a waiter's direction to "The Disco" and entered into Dante's Inferno!  Lithe limbed lovelies in altogether too short dresses gyrated and young men made fools of themselves in vain attempts to catch the girls' eyes.  A thumping beat gave me an almost instant headache and I rather wished myself back in the car again.  The Bride came over and kissed us both and said how pleased she was to see us.  I could see that she was trying to work out just where she might have seen us and known us long enough to invite us to her wedding.  Mildred was not clad in her normal dungarees but in a rather fetching moss green two piece that she bought at Gammages in 1967 and that has served her well for Baptisms, weddings and funerals ever since.  At least she left off her ghastly yellow beret which she wore for Dora Heslop-Huntingdon's wedding about four years ago!  Dora Heslop as was.  We tottered of to find some seats and some ladies kindly made space for us on their table.  One, a short rather rotund girl with a bob that didn't suit her and a chiffon knee length flower print dress that flattered here evn less was holding gorth on the subject of "WeightWatchers".  She certainly looked like she needed to diet and was smugly saying how she had not missed a single session and had lost a stone (14lbs)!!  At that moment the DJ screamed something life "Brrfeeeesopen" and like a shot our girl was up and heading for the trough.  Mildred and I had had a toasted teacake at four o'clock and were not sure how hungry we were, when back came little Miss WW with a huge plate piled high with the most calorific stack of party food that one can imagine.  She had coleslaw, pickles, ham, chicken, two bread rolls - with butter, salad, potato salad with mayonnaise and profiteroles!!!  I know that it is rude to stare...but!!!!  Her friends said nothing but I did see some raised eyebrows and I hoped that her next weigh in is not for a day or two!!

By this time our drinks, Mildred's dry white wine and my diet Coke, were somewhat depleted.  Mildred tottered off to powder her nose and I headed for the bar.  I left the noise factory that was the Disco and entered the altogether more tranquil surroundings of the wider Hotel.  One or two men, quite inebriated, were chatting in that "Arsenal were good, but they've had it now" way that baffles we poor ladies and I trotted up to the barman, a glowing advertisement for his profession with a beer belly that caused his shirt buttons to strain and a red nose that suggested that he knew his way around the optics.  I ordered another wine and a glass of tap water for myself, with ice.  I had paid £4.75 for the wine and the Coke, so I expected to be charged around £3.50 or so for the wine.  "£4.50 please" said the barman!  In my shock at apprently being charged for either the water or the ice, perhaps both, for the first time ever in my life; I simply paid up and went back into the Disco.  My chair had been pinched by someone and there on the dancefloor was Mildred!  Dancing to "YMCA" complete with hand movements.  I slumped against the wall.  It was going to be one of those nights.