Today Mark’s mother arrived in town, so our peace is over. She immediately took charge of everything, and we can fully expect to lose control over our wedding now. Mark came in, earlier, resigned and told that the arrangement with the cake has been totally changed now. Instead of storing it at the bakery, it will be taken here. The dogs and the cat are already circling the arrival, licking their lips.

But it’s also welcome, so I’m not totally complaining. She has gone through the guest list, and fixed our recipes for disasters. She has rearranged the seating, because this uncle can’t possibly sit with that aunt twice removed. They abhor each other, and would fling food across the table. And this part of the Mark-kinship can’t sit too close to that other part, because they’ve been feuding since some granny’s inheritance favoured one group over another in the flower-pot department. This cousin can’t sit too close to the booze and the beer because he has a bit of a drinking problem. And so on it goes. Our guest list has been totally rearranged.

Also, the dispersal of rooms and flat have changed because the little conflicts and allegiances inherent in the numerous kinship of Mark. Our plan to put some people with some other people have changed. Thus, I don’t think that Mark’s mum has been off the phone since she arrived. However, she looks absolutely radiant, as if what she is doing is what she was born to do.

On Wednesday my mum arrives, but I don’t expect anything like this because my family is tiny. Just my auntie, my cousin in Brighton, my parents, and my Scottish uncle with wife and the three cousins there. We don’t actually fight; we are more along the line of sending a Christmas card but otherwise not talking too much to each other. My Swedish aunt is also coming, but she’s more outside everything and doesn’t really belong to any grouping.

As my soon to be mother-in-law has taken over, it has curiously given me and Mark more time together. We’ve spent quite a lot of time apart as we’ve run errands during the day, only to come home and collapse in the sofa in front of the telly. Maybe we won’t be as exhausted come Friday. That’s when Mark’s dad is coming, and he’s already complained about his broken back because he expects Mark’s mum will make him carry everything everywhere.

Family bliss. I can’t wait until all this is over and life returns to normal. Why on earth did we ever agree to involve everyone? We could have eloped to France, damn the consequences. So what if our mothers disowned us? At least they wouldn’t meddle so much.

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