In which a Swiss Army knife is needed.
The first night of your honeymoon is supposed to be memorable, and believe me Polly's and mine certainly was. If you've been following the tale of our wedding day then you will know that we had both been sent to be covered in confetti at an event called London Lights. Afterwards we were driven to our flat where we met up with my best man Kevin and his partner Harvey who had been unloading the huge pile of wedding presents and cafetieres.
The story continues. . .
In those long agodays I used a manual wheelchair for everyday use but had a high powered out door electric wheelchair for whizzing to the shops and such like. We had hired a small van for the duration of the honeymoon and Kevin and Harvey helped us load the heavy chair in to it. I made the, by today's standard easy, transfer to the passenger seat and we were off. Polly did not yet know where we were spending our wedding night so I directed us through South London towards Wimbledon.
Polly grew up a few miles from Wimbledon common and had spent many happy times there. On the edge of the common is an area called Cannizaro Park, named for the house that has stood there in one form or another since the 18th Century. When Polly was a girl the house was a rather twee nursing home and she could see
residents taking tea on the veranda from the house's now public gardens. She often wondered what it was like inside the grand building. In the late 1980s the house was converted into a fine country hotel and this was where
we were heading.
Our little Ford Escort van pulled into the car park and found a space between a BMW and a Mercedes and we made our way into the hotel. Dressed in our best going away outfits we didn't look too out of place as we were led to our room but both felt that any second someone would demand to know what we thought we were doing there. Our room was lovely, with an en suite bathroom, and their was a bottle of Champagne waiting for us. We couldn't spend long in there because we had a table booked in the restaurant. So, grabbing our bottle of Champagne, we headed back downstairs.
The restaurant was silver service and when our main course arrived and as two waiters dramatically lifted the silver domes from the plates I watched Polly struggle not to say “Ta-dah”. The meal was great and we realized how hungry we were having not managed more than a mouthful at the reception what with the speeches and the catching up with friends and relatives. It was late by the time we got back to our room and we were both tired.
I went into the bathroom and was relieved to find the wheelchair just squeezed through the doorway without scratching too much paint in the process. A few minutes later, face scrubbed and teeth brushed, I turned the chair around and prepared to return to the room and hopefully some nuptials. Unfortunately although the chair squeezed in it wouldn't squeeze out. The door opened inwards and was prevented from hitting the wall by a small rubber doorstop. On the way in the doorstop gave just enough to allow the chair in but going out was another matter. I tried, I really tried, but on the first night of my honeymoon I was firmly stuck in the bathroom while my beloved changed in to something appropriate for the occasion.
I called for Polly who came and pushed at the door trying to get the doorstop to give enough to let me out. It was useless and after several minutes of trying she had to concede defeat. “I suppose we could sleep in the bath,” I said. “There's a great big comfy bed in there. You can sleep in the bath, I know where I'm sleeping.”
After a few more fruitless moments of increasingly frustrating pushing and shoving Polly had a brainwave. She got up and found her handbag and I heard her rummaging through it. She returned waving a two inch red Swiss Army knife. Somewhere among the serrated blades, pointy things and stone removers was a small screwdriver. The rubber doorstop was was unscrewed and at last I was set free. Polly clicked the knife shut and I followed to the bedroom.
In the morning we were off to the English Lake District for two weeks and by now it was past midnight and we were both exhausted. Polly, armed and beautiful looked at me, smiled and asked, “So, what should we do now?” I looked at her, I looked at the bed. “Sleep?” I said hopefully. “Oh, thank goodness for that,” she said and promptly fell asleep.