Thursday, January 24, 2013
Upon learning something new every day
Yesterday, I learned a few things I'd never known before. The first is this: One person's idea of a "wedding planning meeting" and another's can be vastly, oh so vastly different.
Our friends who are getting married in our garden made a special date with us last night to get together for a "wedding planning meeting". I made dinner, and they came over and we all sat around the kitchen table.
Here's what I thought was going to happen:
We'd have a drink and a nosh, and discuss seating, outdoor decorations, and whether or not to have champagne and hors d'oeuvres, and if yes, what type they should be. Things like that.
What actually happened:
The couple came over, we sat around the table, I poured drinks, and the couple pulled out their guest list and proceeded to have an intensely antagonistic and very long argument over how many and who should be invited.
I sat there, stunned, wondering why it was necessary to book our evening to discuss their guest list. Firstly, we don't know any of the people on it. Secondly, it's none of our business. Thirdly, we barely had room to fit the number of guests that they started out with, and now they want to double the number.
Bear and I tried to jolly things along a bit, but it was like an episode of "Bridezilla" was being filmed in our kitchen. The groom to be was making his best effort at compromise, but every person he suggested cutting from the list was greeted with a tantrum from his intended. I tried to steer the conversation back to things that WE were actually involved in, like the outside decorations and things, but she was not to be moved. Back into the vortex of the guest list we went.
I tried to suggest that if having a lot of people is necessary, then they should find another venue so they won't have to agonize over who to invite and who not to invite. I also tried to express the fact that in the long run, most non-family guests don't really care about getting invited to the ceremony as long as they get invited to the reception (which is being held at a hall). Considering this couple is in their twenties, I should think all their young friends wouldn't care a hoot about spending a half hour in my garden watching them exchange rings, so long as they can drink and dance and party with them at the reception. But oh, THE DRAMA.
Finally, we managed to come to some sort of stopping place (at which they had not remotely come to terms with said guest list), I served dinner, and Bear and I basically tap-danced our way to a semi-enjoyable rest of the evening.
I now stand forewarned. If there is ever another wedding planning meeting called for, I will stipulate that topics of discussion must be those that all parties have say in... personal fights must be had at home in private! I don't like being a captive audience at the best of times, and certainly not during a bridal meltdown!
The OTHER thing I learned yesterday was loads of fun, and historically educational, as well!
I was looking at this screen cap from "Withnail & I" - the scene in the Crow & Crown pub where Jake the poacher comes in and threatens the boys with a dead eel.
Obviously, that's a taxidermied alligator hanging over the doorway just behind Jake's cap. I've looked into getting one, but they're either all manky or they're just too bloody pricey.
However. Up on that shelf, about halfway between Jake and Withnail, is a porcelain mug that looks like a guy's face. And I could swear that's a fish either trying to jump onto his head, or hanging from a hook off his hat.
So I started Googling the words "sailor mug"... and soon found photographs of similar large-faced mugs of all sorts. From there, I found out they're called "Toby mugs" and they were made by Royal Doulton. From there, I found out the following from Wikipedia:
"A Toby Jug - also sometimes known as a Fillpot (or Philpot) - is a pottery jug in the form of a seated person, or the head of a recognizable person (often an English king). Typically the seated figure is a heavily-set, jovial man holding a mug of beer in one hand and a pipe of tobacco in the other and wearing 18th century attire: a long coat and a tricorn hat. The tricorn hat forms a pouring spout, often with a removable lid, and a handle is attached at the rear. Jugs depicting just the head and shoulders of a figure are also referred to as Toby Jugs, although these should strictly be called "Character Jugs".
There are competing theories for the origin of the name "Toby Jug". It was named after the character of Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night. He was an intoxicated, jovial man. It was named after a notorious 18th century Yorkshire drinker, Henry Elwes, who was known as "Toby Fillpot" (or Philpot). It was inspired by an old English drinking song, "The Brown Jug", which paid tribute to Toby Fillpot; the popular verses were first published in 1761.
In the book and film "12 O'Clock High!" a Toby Jug depicting Robin Hood is used as a signal in the Officer's Club, to discreetly warn aircrews that there will be a mission the following day, without spilling the beans to outsiders who might be visiting. This Toby Jug plays a pivotal role in the film.
The American Toby Jug Museum is located on Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois."
So then I started looking on ebay for "Toby mug", and hundreds upon hundreds came up.
Working only from the grainy, out-of-focus still frame from the movie, I compared all the mugs I found on ebay with the vague shape of the face and the fish...
Lo and behold, I FOUND IT! Fish and all! And the best part is, all these Toby mugs have names..... wait for it.... this Toby mug is called....
I laughed my bollocks off when I read that... here's the scene with Jake the Poacher, and they've hidden "The Poacher" Toby mug up there on the shelf where only the most insane Withnail fan might discover it!
Of course, I'll probably come to find that everyone in the UK knows what a Toby mug is, and is well familiar with all the characters they're fashioned after, and they already knew that one was "The Poacher"... but as an American born and bred, I'm pretty damn proud of my detective skills on this one.
And of course, I've located one I hope to get on ebay... we'll see if I can hook "The Poacher" for my W.O.W. (as the Wall-O-Withnail is now nicknamed).