Here's a question - if your mother in law was a type of rock, what would she be. I pondered this issue this morning over a cup of tea.
Sedimentary rock - created from the accumulation of mineral and organic particles
Metamorphic - transformed by the application of heat and pressure into a substance which is incredibly hard and often made into kitchen work tops.
I did not have to go any further. Initially, I felt that Mrs Pickwick's mother may have been honed out of particles left by her ancestors at the side of the lounge carpet. This would be consistent with the family trait of never being seen in the same room as a vacuum cleaner.
However, heat, pressure and kitchen work tops. These are all key aspects of the Pickwick mother in law. So, my conclusion was drawn.
Coincidentally, I read today that Tracey Emin has married a rock taken from the garden of her house in France. She has gone one better - her mother in law is a rock.
Comparing our two mothers in law, the Pickwick mother in law was created in 1930s Ireland, a troubled period of Irish history. Mrs Emin's mother in law was laid down in the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs ruled the earth. They would have a lot in common.
I am pleased that Mrs Emin has found happiness marrying a rock, who I will refer to as Reg until I get more accustomed to the idea. She is quoted as saying "No matter how mad my life may be or may happen, the stone is stability and comfort". This adds particular poignancy to the fact of Mrs Emin being between a rock and a hard place.
Mrs Emin is not the first to fall in love with an inanimate object. Who can forget when Father Jack Hackett, the alcoholic priest on the comedy series "Father Ted" declared his love for a brick. To hear him say "I love my brick" was a moment when we all realised that there was someone out there for everyone, even Mrs Emin.
Mrs Emin is also wise that she has chosen not to celebrate her union with Reg in a multi-page spread in "Hello". I understand though that "the Geologist" did bid for pictures of the happy couple.
Rather than be worried about embarking on a rocky marriage, Mrs Emin has chosen to embrace one. In fact, the internet records a cruel interview with Reg announcing that he is filing for divorce from Mrs Emin having realised what he has got himself itself into. Should divorce occur, Reg from his fixed point in the ground will I am sure be reasonable ground in divorce.
I realise that I have fallen in the very trap that Mrs Emin was hoping for in announcing her marriage to Reg. The publicity she has garnered through making this statement has created many column inches including the Guardian's "Don't mock the rock, Tracey Emin's wedding is a message to single women". I am simply adding to this with my Mr Angry from Purley right to vent.
Mrs Emin's ability to state the bleeding obvious is most notable in the unmade bed which I recently viewed at Tate Britain in London. While I get the message that it is a snapshot of a life at a moment in time when she was in a bad place, the same can be achieved by viewing the contents of peoples' shopping bags in any city in the land. A bag containing cat food, vodka, chocolate and freezer meals will lead to the same conclusion being drawn but at least give you more to chew on particularly if it is good cat food. The unmade bed made me think of similar installations created by my children which cause me either to reach for a bin liner or close their bedroom door hoping that what I had seen was not true. I had the same feeling when I saw the mess left by Mrs Emin.
Rather than being metaphorical in the description of the rock in a relationship like Paul Burrell and Princess Diana, Mrs Emin has chosen to be literal (or do I mean littoral). Once she moves away from Reg, will she fall heads over heels in love again leading to her declaring she is suffering from serious concussion?
The Guardian is sincere and upbeat in its message that the Rock is a message to single women. The journalist is passionate and most importantly metaphorical in her analysis of the matter. At no time is there a consideration of why one might marry a rock at all. Alternatively, what other form of union could be considered instead of the classic combo. Simple research would have highlighted that men and women have married a dolphin, snake, cat, a fairground ride, themselves and character in a computer game. All such relationships have one thing in common (apart from the man who married himself). That is that they did not want to be with their spouse, except on their own terms. To be brutal, despite marrying, they were not the marrying kind.
The marriage of Mrs Emin to Reg will give them both support, constancy, experience and the potential to grow further. She is following many famous people who have achieved the same in their relationships with rocks. St Peter for instance was quite keen on rocks declaring "on this rock I will build my church". The Bible never declares whether he stepped out with one though. It is more likely that he was wedded to both the rock and the church. I fear for Reg should Mrs Emin seek to do the same. Descriptions in the media suggest he is sizeable but not huge suggesting it will be more "on this rock, I will build my shed". In fact, Mrs Emin's works include a couple of sheds so this seems quite likely.
I wish Mrs Emin every happiness with Reg. And I hope she is gentle with him, particularly if he is sedimentary with a tendency to fragment.