The fictional wedding – not just a wedding

Simi: a Londoner, who happens to be staying at the resort while the wedding is on

Rudd: the young manager of the resort

Katania: the mother of the bride

Jen and Hansie: the soon-to-be-married couple

Setting: Zimbabwe

“Jen and Hansie? Oh please! What do they know? They’ve never been married before. I’ve had two weddings, and I know what matters. It’s the looking fantastic. The evidence. It’s so important to do this stuff better than everyone else. You want them to talk about your wedding. The beautiful show. Tell me Simi, have you ever been married?”


 “Then of course, you’ve no idea what I’m talking about. It’s like building a portfolio. It matters.”

Simi sipped slowly, eyes lowered. Nearly married she thought, as Katania clinked her teaspoon into her coffee and scraped out the last of its froth.  

“The trouble is,” Katania said, pausing to dab a napkin around her lips, “the real problem is that most people here will have no idea what I’m talking about. No disrespect – I love them all – but they’re too close to the earth all these farmers. All they want to talk about is crops, cattle, rain. Do you know what I mean?”

Simi looked at her. Neither cows, nor crops had been mentioned to her. A bit about a storm, but not much. Gossip and birdwalks yes, and now marriage, but not the farming stuff. Perhaps the ‘Londoner’ bit she thought, perhaps that’s what’s put them off.

Katania’s dark glasses stared at her expectantly.

“No? You don’t know what a I mean?”

Simi shook her head.

“Well, anyway, poor Jen has got a bit mixed up in it all, seduced somehow, but I think it’s a phase that she’ll grow out of. I know there’ll be other weddings for her. She just has to come and live with me for a few months in Paris and voilà, the lights will come on. Probably shouldn’t have left her here with her father, but what could I do?”

“And Hansie?”

“Oh, I think she’ll be happy to leave him behind, but the right sort of people will want to know what they’re getting. Believe me Simi, it’s a tough, glittery world if you want to be where the money is. Isn’t it like that with you in London?”

Simi put down her coffee. She considered the question.

“No. Not with me,” she said. “I’m no expert but I thought the idea was to stay with someone for life? Not marry them for show, or for money.”

“Oh, that’s hopeless. Romantic nonsense. Actually, I don’t expect you to understand Simi. It’s a tricky situation. But Jen will come round.”

“Really? Do you think that? She and Hansie seem pretty devoted from what I can see,” said Simi, turning her chair half round to face the view.

She had no idea what to say next. She barely knew the couple, but she liked what she’d seen and they seemed well suited. Her eyes reached out over the golf course, over the tea terraces, over the distant hills … reached out to anywhere that was not Katania.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

Difficult discussions as the wedding gets closer

Simi: a Londoner, who happens to be staying at the resort while the wedding is on

Rudd: the young manager of the resort

Katania: the mother of the bride

Jen and Hansie: the soon-to-be-married couple

Setting: Zimbabwe

Simi shifted in her seat, her kaftan sticky against the back of her legs. One party is enjoying this, she thought, the other is not.

Katania continued, voice brisk.

“Oh, Mick’s fine. Anyway, I’ve sorted it. I had a brainwave. Knew there must be a local priest, so I went and found him. He’s perfect. Problem solved.”

“A priest? But we don’t know him. We don’t even need a priest. Surely someone else could do it? A friend?”

“Who Jen? Do be sensible. I’ve been through everyone here. And there’s no-one. Just trust me on this. This priest will be perfect. Such presence.”

Presence? Simi considered the word, as she balanced a forkful from her plate to her mouth. She chewed slowly, savouring the fluff of the pancake, against the crunch of the bacon.

“Presence? What’s his name?”


“Norman?” Jen pushed her bowl of fruit away. She stood up, rewrapping her towel around her waist. “Who is he? I mean we don’t even know him. Thanks for finding him, but I’m sorry, I really want to talk to Hansie about this.”

“Okay.” The word stretched slowly. “Fine by me. I’ll wait for you here.”

Katania’s fingers drummed lightly on the table as the bright pink of Jen’s t-shirt disappeared into the lodge.

Simi swallowed, then cleared her throat, searching for words. She was about to reach for the weather, when the laughter of the birdwalkers surged up the hill behind her. Katania, apparently, did not notice them.

“So tricky, don’t you think?” she said.

“Difficult” mumbled Simi, wishing she’d woken in time to go for the birdwalk.

Katania tipped her head back, shaking out her hair behind her. She ran the fingers of both hands through its length, flicking sunlight back at Simi.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

A few words imagined around a wedding

A family wedding is due this week, and excitement is mounting, so I thought I’d ask the fictional characters who kept me company during lockdown, to keep you company.

When I met my characters, they were at a wedding in Zimbabwe. Over the next few days I’ll put up some short, draft ‘postcards’ from that time. Simi and Rudd will be your hosts.

Simi: happens to be staying at the resort while the wedding is on

Rudd: the young manager of the resort

Katania: the mother of the bride

Jen and Hansie: the soon-to-be-married couple

Rudd, still not fully awake, was halfway back to his office when he met Katania. There was no missing her. Crisp in pale linen, she came out of reception, just as he was about to go in.

“Rudd, there you are! I’ve been looking for you everywhere. That waiter said you might be out here.”

“Oh. How can I help?” asked Rudd, regretting his decision not to shave.

 “It’s my brother. He’s just texted. He can’t get here.”

 “I’m sorry. I thought all the guests had arrived …”

“No. No!”

The stress in Katania’s voice alarmed Rudd. His mind raced, trying to put a name to the brother, but he couldn’t find one.

“Is he on the room list?”

“Of course he’s not,” she snapped. “He wasn’t going to use a room. He likes to camp. Don’t you see? This is such a mess. It’s a disaster.”

“Why? I mean, I’m sorry he’s not here, but …”

“Ah! Maybe they didn’t tell you. He’s taking the service. He’s the celebrant … or he’s supposed to be.

Rudd slapped his head, now he remembered his conversation with the best man, Tim.

“He must be Mick Lang. Coming up from Beira. He’s your brother?”

Katania nodded.

“Tim did mention him,” said Rudd. “Makes sense now. By the way, I’ve just met your other brother. Steve? He didn’t …”

“Oh, he wouldn’t know. Don’t want him involved any more than he has to be. He’s never liked me, and the feeling’s mutual. Anyway, this is nothing about Steve. This is about Mick. I just don’t understand why he can’t come. He promised he would.”

“Didn’t he say why?”

“No, well, something about the weather. It’s so annoying. Things like that don’t normally stop him.”

 “Okay,” Rudd said, “why don’t we go inside and sit down? I’ll get us some tea.”

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023