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The 12 Hour Wedding
by Alister Thorpe

In the past year or so, I have attended over thirty wedding receptions. Yes, my dear reader, I’m a wedding junky. Although 'attend' may be stretching the truth a tad, as all but one were involuntary. Let me explain. 

I live across the road from the local Girl Guide hall. “How wonderful.“ I hear you say, with images of young ladies in beautiful freshly pressed uniforms going about the scouting business of learning to tie knots and put up tents etc., but alas in all the time I’ve been here I’ve never heard a single 'dyb dyb: do your best.’

No, my fellow reader, this hall doubles for a wedding reception centre.
Early afternoon or evening affairs, but yesterday broke all records.

About 10am I gave a short glance towards my wife with eye brows raised as the first notes of sound reached my ears. It signalled  another long day of noise pollution. (The concept of noise pollution hasn’t made it to this part of the world.) 

Being less than 50 metres from the halls quad speaker system is never a good experience.
The music in general ranges in quality from barely listenable to drunken barracking at the football. (sorry Manchester United fans ) 

Most receptions here have what appears to be an open house. The happy couple whom in most cases look anything but happy, sit on stage as guests arrive and depart in continuous dribs and drabs. A large part of the time, the hall seems mostly empty, but the band keeps playing on regardless, progressively increasing in volume to compensate for the lack of people. ( I know this because we’re that close.)

Come four pm I had almost reached the end of my tether, my fuse is short and the bomb was about to go off.

“Hang in there,” my wife said with understanding eyes. I lay on the bed, twitching, rolling, wriggling, hands over my ears. “Let's go out for dinner; by the time we get back they’ll have packed up and gone home,”

What a good plate of noodles and a mango smoothie can do to soothe the nerves. Then, we arrived home to witness to our utter astonishment the proceedings, instead of disbanding, had ratchet up a notch. Long days journey into night - Eugene O'Neill's addiction without the alcohol. I cried out in despair, “Where’s the bottle.”

The funny thing is the music sounded exactly the same as it did  in the morning. In fact I could swear they had been playing the same song continuously all day. 
The worst part is always the last few hours, when the paid singer has retired due to exhaustion and is replaced by some of the guests who think they can do better. 
It was singing in the shower with no water and an audience! But as the saying goes. All good bad things must come to an end.

Finally the high pitch whine of the ally cats petered out a little after 10 pm. 12 hours of torture to my wife from complaining on my part. Can’t wait for the next round, not!!

What is that you say? The bride and groom. Oh I suspect they slipped out hours ago and got on with the important part of the day in the peace and quiet of one of the local hotels.