I didn't want to go. I griped and grizzled, and who wouldn't have? It was hardly the invitation to the wedding of the year. All right, it was, just, better than an invitation to one of those My Big Fat Greek Weddings, but how classy could a Corrie Street wedding involving Janice, and Sally, and Rosie be?
Mad Claire was on the guest list too, and everyone knows she could go off her rocker at the drop of a wedding hat. And Becky and Fiz were the bridesmaids - and the bride used to be a man.
Then there was the getting to the Croppers' wedding. This was shrouded in mystery; even the groom didn't know how he'd be getting to the venue. So we had to get on a bus - Janice screeching from the back and downing cans of ale before we even left; Norris being mean with the barley sugars; the groom looking like a man on his way to the gallows. And there were sing-alongs.
Then we had to get on a steam train - admittedly it was a beauty: The Lancashire Fusilier. The groom and his groomsman, dear wee Chesney, now all grown up and still looking like a chimney sweeper's lad from a much earlier fiction, got to stoke the boilers and even Roy almost managed to crack a grin, so stoked was he.
On board, Sally Webster and mad Claire had a blazing row. Claire had told Sally that good Christian daughter Sophie (as opposed to slapper daughter, Rosie) was a lesbian. There was no love lost even before this carry-on. Claire on Sally: "She's such a sour-faced old cow, that Sally Webster."
Sally on Claire: "Don't worry about Claire. Everybody knows she gets mentally ill."
Would Claire stick Sally with the wedding cake knife, and then hang herself with Hayley's garter? No such luck. The whole thing was madder than Claire, but even Corrie has limits to lunacy. Actually, maybe they just didn't think of it. Because limits?
Nobody actually uttered the line: "Will they come a cropper?" Can't think how the scriptwriters resisted that one. They did get this one in: "You've heard of a car crash wedding? This one's a train crash." And: "It was full steam ahead." Of course somebody was going to come a cropper. The train carriage carrying the bride and bridesmaids came, er, uncoupled, stranding the bridal party, in all their finery, somewhere in the countryside. So much for the happy couple. Fortuitously, they came across a pump wagon (thanks to the train-mad groom, we had a name for the thing), jumped aboard and the bridesmaids pumped the wagon all the way to the venue with Hayley riding, almost regally, and certainly triumphantly, in her truly ghastly wedding frock and pearls.
It really was a Corrie Street classic. We all, including the actors who play Roy and Hayley, thought they'd been married for years. Roy made a moving speech about how he and Hayley had applied to marry 11 years earlier and had been told they could not. Since then, "we have been standing still and the world has turned to meet us. The world can change its rules, its laws ... as frequently as it chooses, but I will remain standing beside you. That will not change."
Then the bride and groom danced to Perfect Day. It was, and I wouldn't have missed being there for the world.