Last time we met I told you of my struggle with that knotty nuptial problem of procuring a bag to use on my wedding day. And how, just when I was about to admit defeat, the solution appeared before my very eyes in the most unlikely place. That place was my local hospital. No word of a lie. I had been for a blood test and was making my way, very swiftly, to the exit. Reader, take note of my use of the words ‘very swiftly’. I do not use these words carelessly. Rather, they are chosen to reflect my deep-seated horror of all things medical. It is a fear so strong that nothing could persuade me to remain in a hospital a moment longer than absolutely necessary. Nothing, that is, except the contents of a glass cabinet in the reception area. I glimpsed the said cabinet out of the corner of my eye and, whilst my almost phobic fear sought to propel me at speed onwards towards the sliding glass doors, my curiosity urged me to slacken my pace and take a better look. It was my curiosity which won the day for I found myself at a complete standstill in front of the cabinet gazing wide-eyed at the beautiful silken bags contained within, each one decorated with a sepia coloured print.
At this point you might be wondering whether I am getting confused and was actually in a museum or art gallery, rather than a hospital. I was surprised myself until I learnt that the bags were being displayed as party of an initiative within the north Birmingham Primary Care Trust to showcase the work of local arts and craftspeople. One of whom was Bridget West.
Now Mrs West, now known affectionately to me as Mrs BeeKnit, is one of those people that although you’ve never met, you feel as if you’ve known forever. I arranged to meet her at her home last July and arrived on her doorstep feeling hot and hassled. It was the day I’d discovered the printing error on the cover of A Dummies Guide to A Warwickshire Wedding so you can guess that my mood was less than lighthearted. But an hour or so with Mrs BeeKnit saw my equanimity restored and my wedding bag problem completely solved. We agreed that the best way forward would be for Mrs BeeKnit to make a small bag using the excess material from my dress. She also agreed to make a bag for MoH, again using the same material as MoH’s beautiful coppery coloured chiffon dress.
When I collected the bags a few weeks later, I was absolutely thrilled. Mrs BeeKnit’s creations exceeded all of my expectations. Both bags beautifully complimented the dresses and were made with such care and loving attention to detail. Mrs BeeKnit had even sourced matching material to make extra flowers to decorate my bag. But perhaps the best part of my bag was to be found hidden on the inside: for, as you can see, Mrs BeeKnit had very cleverly printed our P & J monogram on the inner lining. Such a thoughtful touch.
But Mrs BeeKnit did so much more than just create the bags. She became our friend and provided all sorts of practical assistance, advice and support during those final frantic weeks running up to our wedding. She was even at All Saints Church, Sherbourne on The Big Day itself calming Mr Moore and making a few final adjustments to his attire. Indeed, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mrs BeeKnit isn’t quite what she seems: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she has a wand and wings hidden away somewhere because she certainly feels like a fairy godmother to me.