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Saturday's match of the day for Cheryl

It never ceases to amuse me when I hear wonderful words being spoken about somebody’s achievements - ranging from taking the dog for a walk, getting out of bed quietly (without disturbing the other patients), remembering where they borrowed the hedge trimmer from a few years ago and from whom as it's not cutting as well as it used to.

Then the boredom factor in all but name that is the ritual handing around of photographs to be admired or ashamed of from the smiling person who has offered them for inspection, although it’s now done in tablet form - electronic version and not to be confused with the ‘two a day, in water’ variety - with ‘This is Mavis on the beach with a donkey - Mavis is on the right with the straw hat..’ being typical stuff.

This simple process of showing people, interested or not, such things with an example being: ‘This is me with Elvis Presley but it’s a cut-out poster of him, of course’ followed by ‘It looks very life-like don’t you think?’ although its not made that clear if they mean the cut-out poster of Elvis or the person telling all and sundry about it, so we mentally put a tick in the box marked ‘deluded’ as the next contestant tries their luck.

The thing that bugs me more than anything is the trend these days of the anorakus-boreus that will show you assorted photographs ranging from granny sitting, knitting, on the edge of Niagara Falls, to penguins skating around the Gobi desert with then being bored for the next few hours as they explain how they ‘Photo-shopped’ all the details.

‘Of course there were no penguins there so I had to insert them - I really wanted the Sahara desert but I find the sand there is too fine and the pixels do not do it justice… blah…blah’ but in basic terms perhaps they like to think that by explaining all this nonsense, it makes them feel somehow superior/a right clever clogs, while the truth of the matter is somewhat more basic and down to earth, as in that their ability is possibly somewhat lacking, so trying to ‘enhance’ something that does not really need it is clearly all but a vanity exercise, as most people like to look at a photograph and not be talked through it.

John Ward (5587649)
John Ward (5587649)

Years ago, when I used to be involved in wedding photography, I went out armed with a box of films, two cameras (one a ‘back up’ but it was never used, I am happy to relate), two flashguns, assorted batteries to power the flashes, a light meter, tripod, plus assorted folding reflectors for using the available light as required.

Then to actually take the photographs over a few hours, depending on what was requested or required, but not a hint of spending hours/days over one photo or image to mess about with it as if they started out with pimple, then there it stayed in those days.

Although the one chance to capture that ‘happy day’ was not strictly true in one instance.

I did have a sort-of ‘regular’ client, who engaged me, in the photographic sense before you gallop ahead, for the first three of her ‘events’, as she seemed to have an insatiable desire for dressing up and iced fruitcake.

I was virtually family as I was on ‘one to one’ terms with her parents, as we even exchanged Christmas cards, but after the second one or ‘event’, her mum sort-of apologised to me for being dragged out for another of their Cheryl’s ‘little do’s’ as I ‘must have other things to do’.

One ‘event’ was quite something, as the bridegroom had his gold wedding ring formed with the initials C (for Cheryl) and A (for Alan) as I was asked to take a photo with them holding the presentation-type knife just before carving the cake with the emphasis on that ring with its initials being prominent.

I set up the shot with assorted onlookers doing their usual comments like, as they knowing Cheryl and her ‘collecting’ habits by now: ‘Doesn’t she look lovely this time round?’ to: ‘What’s this one’s name did you say?’ but the one that stays with me forever was one guest seeing the C & A initialled ring then said: ‘I always buy my knickers from there you know - nice fit and all ’ as she was referring to the C & A department stores that were then about before they closed up shop.

It crossed my mind afterwards that there were 25 other letters in the alphabet, without repeats, that could yield other future candidates in the role of husband but with the understanding it would be for a small duration based on present form.

Her mum was quite a character in her own right, as on one occasion, she pointed out that ‘their Cheryl’ was so outgoing she ‘can get on with anybody she met’ (quite obvious really) as I replied you could say the same about bus conductors/drivers but they possibly never married their passengers on a sort-of rota basis as far I knew.

She said that Cheryl always liked dressing up ever since she was in the infant school and she seems to have carried on doing at possibly a far greater rate than could ever be imagined from those obviously-inspiring infant school days - plus iced fruit cake.

Dad was quite philosophical about it all and pointed out over a loose fitting glass of wine that by the time he got used to calling them ‘son’ they went, never to return unless invited to another of his daughter’s besotted events.

Once - it may have been the third one - I did take a shot of the bride and groom, best man and last past husband, which had all the aura of one of those group line-ups from some obscure country who sing in the Eurovision Song Contest (just the once, before their banishment) with a song about their pet yak dying/whatever.

Cheryl, for all her well meaning, did confide that she always married for ‘love’, unlike her friend Janice, who had ‘married money’ - but Cheryl had not been invited to her wedding. She felt rather let down and was surprised to learn that Janice had ‘wed a fella’, as she thought this 'marrying money' malarkey was about walking up the aisle with a wheelbarrow of used fivers or tenners, so perhaps a misunderstanding there with the bad news that, in that case, it was ‘Till empty wallet do us part’ or to be advised.

I think it might have been her aunt who asked her if she had ever considered children, to which she responded: ‘I only marry the over-18s, although they might look a bit under age, it's true’ was perhaps not quite the reply she was expecting.

The years have rumbled on now, as I covered her third ‘event’ - she moved away shortly afterwards - so one can only wonder how many have been ‘Cheryl-ed’, since her early days of ‘getting wed’ was her idea of spending a Saturday and gave ‘Match of the Day' a whole new meaning.


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