My elder daughter and I spent the night in Chew Stoke with friends and then left early for a cross country drive to Portsmouth for the ferry. It was just as well I'd added an hour to the nat-sav's estimate of a 2 journey time, as all of the UK's evils were thrown at us - country lanes, school traffic, slow trucks, slower buses, even slower tractors and a jam-strewn drive through the centre of Salisbury. Finally, speed restrictions on the M27. We made check-in with just 5 minutes to spare, feeling rather frazzled by the experience.
BTW . . . "Stoke is one of the most common place names in the UK. Originally from the Old English 'stoc' meaning 'place', it came to be used in two special senses, 1) a religious place and 2) a secondary settlement."
So, more reflections on the wedding:-
- It went off very well, despite the (at times) chaotic planning of the bride. Thanks are due to all those who acted as Hannah's Little Helpers in the run up to the event. Special mention must go to Melanie, who flew in from the USA and, inter alia, played a lovely violin during the service.
- Apart from the nuptial Mass, it was all very informal and clearly enjoyed by everyone, especially the Mancunian mob on the dance floor.
- I had a whale of a time, largely because I was looked after all evening by a beautiful young lady who danced her socks off with me and didn't look embarrassed once.
- Talking of dancing . . . My daughter took her first with her husband, not with me as dictated by tradition. The end of an era.
- All the speeches met with much gratifying laughter. I tried to use my laptop as a crib but came unstuck in the middle of it when this message appeared on the screen - "This program has unexpectedly closed". Fortunately, the hotel had printed out a copy 5 minutes before things began.
- Unhappily for the groom, the bride found that a glass or two of champagne calms her down quite well.
- As I've said, it was a great joy to reestablish old friendships, especially with (ex) in-laws.
When my sister called my mother, who's coming up for 90, to tell her she'd found her an outfit for the wedding, my mother asked for the name of the shop and then said "I've never bought anything there. I've always thought it was for the older woman."
As my daughter and I were getting out of the wedding car at the chapel, the Best Man (with rings) ran past, asking: "Is this the place?"
When the groom, in his speech, thanked his mother for all the advice she'd given him over the years, she exclaimed, with feeling: "Which you never took!". I (silently) hoped the comment didn't cover marriage to my daughter.
The exaggeration of the evening, from the mouth of the beautiful young lady when we re-met for the first time in 15 years: "You haven't changed a bit!".
Oh, how I wish.