I've always had a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of attitude to trains, planes and er hire cars, but why oh why did I not just pick the darn thing up the day before? Yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
To avoid blathering on unnecessarily about the so-awful-it-was-almost-funny farce of running from church to church in the ____ area of London before finding the right one, I will try and sum up the learning points here:
- Don't rely on Google maps or sat nav predictions for getting from A to B, ’specially not in London. Ouch.
- Never fling the only set of directions and addresses you have at your partner in a moment of panic. (We are suddenly going in two cars –my bro’s and his girlfriend’s- as the queue to pick up the hire car is an hour and a half long and we only have just over an hour to get to the christening). If time gets tight (ha!) it may be necessary to by-pass the house and go straight to the church.
- Mobile phones can’t be relied on in these situations either.
- Don't believe a pensioner when they tell you a church is in walking distance –pensioners walk a lot. (I make this mistake three times, foolishly leaving the car behind at church number one – my bro’s girlfriend clearly thinking I am bonkers by church number three, but me insisting, ever the optimist and trusting the pensioners).
- Never run in flip-flops. I've buggered my left foot due to this one. (Mind you, the beautiful red high-heels I brought with me from Spain would have been even less appropriate running footwear. They didn't make it out of the suitcase anyway –a logistical cock-up due to the last-minute time constraints).
The ceremony goes well, except that my eldest spends most of it lying stretched out plank-style on the front row pew. I leave him to it and hope God won't mind too much. At least he is being quiet –for a four year old. My youngest starts playing up immediately the service begins, so my partner scoots outside with him and they spend it eating blackberries from the church garden. (Evidence of which is clearly visible all down my son’s smartest shirt –not that smart anyway, ’cos I forgot to pack posh outfits for the boys...)
After the christening I walk back to the house with Nic (my best mate and my goddaughter’s mum) and we get a chance to chat. Why don’t I click when she tries to convince me to find another solution to the hire car problem? Why do I imagine the after-christening party will just be folks standing around in the garden eating sausages on sticks? Why don’t I get that there will be speeches, toasts and a cake, all of which I’ll miss if I bugger off to get the sodding hire car?
Anyway, there it is. Off I go with my ever-patient younger brother (who’s been lurking around outside the church in his Sunday best Monster Munch t-shirt in case I need more ferrying around) and I eventually pick up the stoopid rent-a-car. It takes a “mere” three hours, thanks to London traffic and Europcar’s pitiful customer service. So yeah, I messed up monumentally. I ended up missing most of the party back at the house.
My sweet goddaughter didn't seem to mind. I had a quiet play with her on the floor when I sidled in at the end of the afternoon feeling like a giant fool. We didn’t get a photo together –I felt way too sheepish to ask, as if trying to fool posterity into thinking I'd been there the whole time. And now I’m kicking myself for that naïve sincerity –when will we be in our posh frocks again, the two of us? (Actually, I plan to get plenty more use out of mine, but I don't suppose a 9 month old gets much chance to wear her frilly number again).
Much soul-searching and self-flagellating later, I realize the main issue is that I need to slow right down and smell the roses. I have a long-held tendency to overload my plate, both metaphorically and gastronomically. The latter I’m loath to give up but seriously, will I ever learn to stop trying to cram so much into my days? And next time things go belly up, I need to remember to stay calm and not make rash decisions in panic mode.
The main reason I'm writing this is to say a ginormous sorry to Nic, Dan and my beautiful goddaughter and to our mutual friends Sarah and Russ, all of whom I’d been looking forward to spending the day with. And a massive thank you and apologies for all the faffing to my bro and his girlfriend, who taxied my clan and me all around London in two cars at a moment’s notice. Thanks also to my beloved partner, for not completely despairing of me. Ugh.
So, will Wing-It Weeza learn from this fiasco or will I be back in a few months to tell the tale of my next collossal bodge up? I sincerely hope it's the former, but I ain't promising nuffink.
What's that scratching noise? Om in Mom being crossed off people's potential godmother/bridesmaid lists everywhere. Damn.