Another momentous occasion in a year I sense will have many. First Dempson and Lady Makepeace introduce young Groucho into the world, now Parson and Marny can get cracking on exactly that sort of thing. The lime green trimmings, so patiently acquired in Piccadilly station’s Tie Stocks over the last few weeks; so unlikely under a dun Manchester sky, sparkle as they were meant to, beneath a sunny Albertan dome; against the snow and awesome white of the Cardston temple.
In order to authentisize my big speech Barton kindly runs my wooden microphone through a clockwork wah-wah pedal, the resultant slurring an almost perfect imitation of one ‘over-the-eight’. However, when it’s time for me and Smoky Uncle to mingle with the other guests we cannot help but feel that water-into-wine should be more than a metaphor at such religious gatherings. It turns out there's little to fear – the room is set up in such a way that two long lines of guests shuffle past each other, exchanging greetings and good wishes, until you've met the whole darn troupe. Near neighbours strapped in snowshoes have come from far and wide, while carefully removing layers of fur reveals a shivering of former Brits contained within this most pleasant of ID parades. Only the dehydration caused by a hundred polite conversations proved a problem – and we all know that alcohol is the last thing one requires for that condition.
Once the deed is done the most enduring daguerreotype of the day must be of Marny lifting aloft my besuited 'baby rhino' (stuffed full of competing lasagnes and victorious ice cream). Yet there is no need for my sister-in-law to prove her superhuman strength – we have already surrendered to the tough and tender charms of our new home-from-home and those who grace it. Home from home-from-home will take a little adjustment but at least I have a certain someone to help with the inevitable trouser lag.