A few weeks ago, I got a call from my daughter’s partner. He apologised that it was a phone call rather than a personal visit (there were good reasons), but he wanted to ask my permission for him to marry my daughter.

This is a tradition that I thought was pretty much long gone. Indeed, in this world of equality, permission from either parent seems redundant. In truth, the only person whose opinion matters is the prospective bride. I did try to reflect this in my response, and I hope I got the balance right between appreciating the gesture, with its nod to tradition, and acknowledging that my daughter had her own mind and wouldn’t need any approval from me.

During the course of the conversation, he pointed out that, although he had been married before, this was the first time he’d asked the father for permission. Ironically, it wasn’t the first time I’d been asked. And, in case you’re wondering, I do only have one daughter.

Unlike the traditions, I know they had talked about marriage before, so the proposal won’t have come as a complete surprise, though I did check in with her to find out the outcome (she did say yes). It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Hopefully, the build up and the wedding itself will be less eventful than the one Geoff Le Pard tells us about in his book, The Diary Of A Trainee In-Law.

I’ve known Geoff for several years. We met at the first Bloggers Bash and subsequently worked together on the committee as the event grew much bigger than any of us ever initially anticipated. Since the last one, Covid arrived and those Bash days seem like a distant memory.

Since meeting him, I started reading his books. You do that sometimes just as a way of supporting someone you know and like but, very quickly, my motives changed. Because he is just such a brilliant writer. He doesn’t stick to a genre, but he tells bloody good stories very well. I have missed one or two of his books, but I will get to them before much longer. If you like good writing, regardless of genre, I’d heartily recommend giving him a go.

And this book is a great way to start. It’s not a long one (around 170 pages), so really just a toe in the water, and it’s an easy read. The ‘diary’ tells the tale of an engagement and wedding from the point of view of the father of the bride. Inspired by his own experiences (though he maintains that none of the events from the book actually happened – and why would I doubt that?), there are inevitably elements you’ll be able to relate to if you’ve been within spitting distance of the run-up to a wedding.

At times, I was reminded of Tom Sharpe in terms of the kind of humour. Strangely, also Ronald Searle. creator of the St Trinians and Molesworth books. The style is stereotypically British, and reflects the eccentricities of our nation. At times, it’s like having Margot and Jerry from The Good Life meeting Del and Rodney Trotter. And, if none of this rings any bells with you, I’m guessing you’re likely to be the ones getting hitched rather than training to be in-laws.

I don’t mean to suggest with any of this that you’ll be laughing riotously from beginning to end, but I suspect you’ll smile most of the way through. It’s silly, and exaggerated, but it’ll ring some bells as well. Take a punt. Whether you buy the eBook or the paperback, you’ll still have paid less than you would for a couple of coffees, and the smiles will last longer.

If you’ve missed this treat of a book and want a copy yourself, click on the image above. If you want to know more about the author, you can check out his website here.