Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

Low life | 12 October 2017

My presence at his daughter’s wedding with his ex-wife on my arm was bad enough; this might be a provocation too far

Early on Friday morning I flew from the north of Iceland to Reykjavik, from Reykjavik to Heathrow, then I hopped aboard the night sleeper from Euston to Glasgow Central to attend the wedding of Catriona’s eldest daughter, held the next day at the Winter Gardens of the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green.

Three years ago, Catriona separated from her husband after a 30-year-long union. The separation was not amicable and is as yet unsettled. Apart from a glimpse at a graduation, the wedding was the first time they had been in the same room for three years. I was invited to the reception but not to the ceremony. As the new man in Catriona’s life, I imagined I would be a cynosure when I walked through the door that evening. And because they are labouring under the misapprehension (understandably enough) that your correspondent was the principle cause of the marriage’s breakdown, I also imagined I would be the object of his and his wider family’s hostility.

I had brought with me from Iceland a suit and clean shirt, but no shoes. I possess shoes, obviously, but nothing respectable enough for a society wedding, and I am in no position, this month, to afford to buy any. So I put the word out that if anyone had a half-decent pair of size tens they could lend me for the day, I’d be glad. And the groom, Andrea, from Como, kindly came forward and said that he had a spare pair and that if he could find them I was welcome to them.

It was typical of Andrea that, in spite of all the other things he had to think about, he made my lack of credible footwear his concern. The only problem was that the shoes he was offering were in fact Catriona’s former husband’s shoes.

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