On the day of the Formal Arabella woke to a phone call from the tailor advising that his daughter, who was going to deliver the dress to us, now couldn’t as she had been caught speeding through a 40km school zone and had her licence torn-up on the spot. He asked if Arabella would prefer to collect the dress from Ryde where one of his daughter’s would be starting work at 2pm (45 minute drive) or from Parramatta at 3pm (60 minute drive) where the other daughter would be. Arabella went slightly tense as she advised the tailor that at 2pm she would be having her make-up done at Mac Cosmetics in Paddington (further away from both Ryde and Parramatta) and at 3pm she would be having her hair done at Valonz Haircutters, also in Paddington.
Arabella asked the tailor if the dress was ready and he said, ‘Yes,’, but you would all know that things can be lost in translation. She then asked if it would be okay for her and her ‘special friend’ to drive out to Liverpool (90 minute drive) to collect the dress. He said, ‘Yes’. The special friend was given the keys to my car and off he went with Arabella for an extended tour of Sydney.
Meanwhile I took Alfie to school and then headed off for a swim squad. I explained to Arabella that it was essential for my health and well-being to have a 60-minute time-out from her life that is drama-central, ‘So don’t phone or text me, I’ll be under-water’. The time-out was short lived as my phone was pinging and vibrating as I entered the change rooms.
Arabella had made it to Liverpool. The tailor had been up all night. The dress was not ready. He made Arabella try it on and then pinned and re-pinned and unpicked and re-sewed and Arabella was getting stressed.
The plan was that they would drive back here, carefully hang up the dress and then we would get back into the car and drive to Cockle Bay where I had been promised a refund on the tickets I had purchased for the after-party, then we would make our way to Paddington for the hair and make-up sessions. Now there was no time to pick me up. ‘Mum, could you catch a bus and meet us in the city? We’ll pick you up from Cockle Bay’. How much would I love to catch a bus!
‘How are you getting to Cockle Bay?’
‘Fred’s driving and I’m navigating’. That’s not good. Arabella has no sense of direction.
‘It’s really hard to get to Cockle Bay. I’ll meet you in the city.’
‘No mum, I know where it is. I’ve been there before.’
‘Okay’. I was wearing high-heeled boots and hobbled to the bus stop and caught a bus to the city then ran across to Cockle Bay which took about half an hour. My new boots were killing me. At the venue I was given my refund then waited for the pick-up. And I waited and I waited, where it was blowing a gale and was freezing cold. I phoned Arabella. ‘Where are you?’
‘We’re nearly there, we’re just coming down William Street’. William Street?
‘Are you in Kings Cross?’
‘Well we were, but we’re on our way back.’ Kings Cross is not on the way from Liverpool to Cockle Bay.
‘What were you doing in Kings Cross?’
‘Mum, we went the wrong way. Just wait where you are. We’re nearly there.’
Next thing I saw them speed past me while I frantically waved and chased after the car. I called Arabella again. ‘Did you see me waving? You were in the wrong lane. You just sped right past me. Where are you now?’
‘We’re in North Sydney. We’re just coming back now’.
‘North Sydney? Did you just go back over the bridge?’
‘Mum, we couldn’t help it. We got stuck on some sort of a freeway and we couldn’t turn off. We’re heading back over the Harbour Bridge now.’
‘Well don’t come to Cockle Bay, you’ll never find me. I’ll go over the over-pass and head back to the city. Get onto York Street and stay there. I’ll run.’ So in my brand new boots that were killing me I ran back across the over-pass and into the city where I waited in York Street for Arabella and the special friend.
Finally they arrived and I moved him into the back seat and took the wheel. Hmmm, with all that extra driving going via Kings Cross and North Sydney there now wasn’t a whiff of petrol left in the tank. And there are no petrol stations in the CBD. Excellent. Someone call on the Lord for mercy!
We made it to Paddington and dropped Arabella off while the special friend and I looked for a park and we managed to find one right outside Valonz. We ran back to Mac where Arabella was having her make-up applied and they did a great job. Arabella and I were both happy. Special friend was bored.
We ran to Valonz for the hair appointment. Arabella showed them the photos of the dress and Diane, the most experienced up-do hairdresser who mostly does the hair of models for editorial shoots, said, ‘With a dress like that it’s all about the dress, not the hair. You’ll wear it pulled back from your face and done up so nothing detracts from the dress’. Right then. So Arabella sat up and her hair was done and she and I were very happy. Special friend was not only bored but now looking exhausted.
We hopped into the car. It was 3.45pm and we were hosting the pre-pre’s at 4.30pm. We came home via our local petrol station and thanked the Lord we’d made it without a break-down. We then picked up the corsage special friend had ordered earlier that day. I noticed I had parked across the road from a bottle shop and remembered I needed some champagne for the pre-pres. With such sore feet I gave special friend some money and asked if he would mind going in and buying a couple of bottles of sparkling. A few minutes later he was back empty-handed. They wouldn’t let him buy anything because he didn’t have ID to prove he’s over 18. He’ll be 20 next week. So with time being of the essence I got out of the car and marched into the bottle shop and you won’t believe it but they wouldn’t serve me because they said I was ‘a secondary’ and as they couldn’t prove special friend was over 18, I could be buying it on his behalf. It took two of them to deliver me this news.
‘The alcohol is for me. Doesn’t it look like I need it?’
‘We’re very sorry ma’am, we cannot serve you’.
We’re dealing with a world gone made.
We made it home. Archie went to the bottle shop (a different one) with ID and bought the champagne. Special Friend had a shower while I ironed his shirt. Arabella slipped into the dress. We had the pre-pre’s, then took her to the pre’s, then drove her and special friend to the Taronga Function Centre for her night of nights.
They arrived home late last night and Arabella said it was her best formal EVER.
So it was all worth it then.
But there’s no rest. She’s already started talking about her plans for the other formal she’s going to in two weeks time.
Where’s the rest of that champagne?
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