“Is that the place where they have the swimming pool?” I asked Oncle, as he told me about the upcoming ‘nuptials’ due to take place at Chelsea Registry Office. “I’ve never seen a pool there!” he retorted. “I hope you know where you have to be on the day!”
I left extra early to make sure I got there for 8.50am. The civil partnership ceremony was to take place at 9am, and being a witness, there was no room for tardiness. Ah, but surely this was the one day I could wear my (vintage) Mink collar? I thought as I rushed out of my front door. I hastened back again and put it on.
The Circle line took its time and 8.50am found me hurrying out of a taxi on the Kings Road only to come face to face with the rest of the party. We rang the buzzer to the side entrance of the town hall and up we went.
J and I chatted in the waiting area as the civil partnership to be went for their briefing with the Registrar. We were excited but restrained at the same time. After all we’d been told ‘Absolutely no confetti!’ and were keen to toe the party line.
The ceremony was brief and sweet. When the happy couple were asked if they’d like to hold hands after the ‘vows’ were exchanged a very firm ‘No’ was the response.
I grabbed a passer by to get the obligatory photo on the steps of Chelsea Town Hall. “We got married here just two weeks ago” the man said, as he handed me back the camera and smiled lovingly at his wife.
The Bluebird cafe welcomed us for breakfast and soon the bubbly was flowing. Well, in a reserved way naturally, but the excitement was hard to contain as phone calls of congratulations came in, and our merriness was such that even a well known loquacious pop star at the next table was all but drowned out.
Photographs aplenty were taken and two rounds of coffees consumed as well as Eggs Benedict to a band playing.
A couple of hours later, finally it felt like the occasion it should: A celebration of a partnership and fondness of some years which doesn’t have much truck with sentimentality on the outside, but on leaving the restaurant, heading home, brought a lump to my throat.