Why bride must come before a fall

Offering support: I'd have been lost without crutches
Offering support: I'd have been lost without crutches
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I’d not just planned my wedding outfit, I’d double-planned it.

Not one, but two ensembles, each perfectly co-ordinated with hats, shoes, handbags and jewellery, were laid out in the spare bedroom.

The theory was that, come Saturday morn, all I had to do was slip into the outfit that best-suited the clime.

Only, events took a twist the night before niece Claire’s big day.

I went to the foot of our stairs. I’d decided, like you do when you’re a working woman and every minute counts, to put the washing on at a quarter to midnight.

I’d peg it out on Saturday morning, somewhere between cleaning out the chickens, chivvying Boy to get out of bed and into his suit and dolling myself up into some semblance of the glamorous auntie Our Claire tells all her friends about.

Only, at a quarter to midnight, after only a couple of glasses of wine, I missed the last few steps and ended up on the stone floor, in agony and bawling my eyes out.

Bloke stood and looked at me, with a What On Earth Do You Think You’re Doing expression. So I buried my face in what dirty laundry remained in the wash basket and howled some more. Why is it that when women cry, really cry, men either think you’re faking it, or recoil like you’ve gone really, really ugly?

When it dawned I wasn’t being a drama queen he got me upstairs. Boy arrived with this university drugs stash (hangover cures, I was assured) and administered anti-inflammatories and the herbal Kalms I’d given him to get through his A levels in 2007. Bloke plonked a bag of frozen peas on my rapidly swelling foot, and after laughing themselves almost sick, they assured me I’d be fine by morning.

Readers, they lied. I couldn’t stand up; I couldn’t walk. And I didn’t have three hours to waste in A&E. Crutches, I needed crutches to get me to the church on time.

Mrs ex-husband came to the rescue with a pair. But then, an even bigger dilemma dawned; I couldn’t get my lovely, nude suede Jones the Bootmaker courts on. (Yes, I HAD vainly and stupidly thought I could balance on one stilettoed tiptoe and crutches, and dangle the invalid foot like Victoria Beckham does with her wrist when she’s parading a handbag the size of a European principality).

Which meant an entire wardrobe rethink just 90 minutes prior to departure.

And so it was that I ended up hobbling into Our Claire’s big day in a long, elastic bandage-covering, Grecian evening dress and rubber flip-flops, beautifully accessorised with crutches the clever old NHS had fashioned in a co-ordinating shade of grey.

At the evening do, I had to stay in my chair and dance from the waist upwards and set off for the toilet a good ten minutes before I needed to. But it was worth it, and as a three-hour A&E visit the next day revealed, nothing had been broken.

Just strained; a bit like me and the relative who leaned in close as revellers parted before me like waves on the Red Sea and whispered: “Jo, you’ll do anything to hog the limelight.”