Blimey, it’s been a week and a half already – and were still only half way through it!! Serves me right for having such a great weekend.
I take it all back, apart from a few little slips, the conversation stayed mainly away from flying in spite of all my misgivings. Y’see even hairy arsed microlighters can behave when necessary!! Yay! Which actually was amazing when taking in to account the number of aviation dignitaries who were seated around the table. No (hand raised a la Mrs Thatcher). Don’t ask me – I couldn’t possibly be so vulgar as to name drop (pssst – ask me later).
Ok, ok, I know some of you might find it all terribly interesting had the conversation been all about microlighting, skydiving and other types of general aviation but to be honest after 20 years of it the novelty has kind of worn off for me.
Anyway, I digress. Let’s start at the beginning.
Bob amazed me!!!! Even though there was a crisis at work he still left early so we could set off on our trip as planned. Here is where I have to publicly thank all of the staff ( and family) who worked stupidly long hours on Friday to get the job done. Every single person (except me and Bob) worked way above and beyond the call of duty. One chap who was on leave last week came in to help. THANKS, FOLKS, you’re amazing!!!!
Our drive up to Co Durham was uneventful. We checked in at our hotel in Barnard Castle. Oh dear Lord! Clearly they have a fondness for cats. The smell of cat urine and spray drove us straight out of the bar area. There was actually nothing wrong with the hotel that bulldozing it and starting again wouldn’t have cured. Failing that they could clean it, make the doors shut, remove the black, sticky, clearly had at one time been blue, carpet and remove the 1970’s woodchip wallpaper.
It wasn’t all awful. Our room, reached by going up stairs, through a room, up more stairs, along a corridor, down some stairs, round a corner and down more stairs, left me feeling like I needed to tie a length of string to the door handle and trail it out behind me so I didn’t get lost. It did however have a nice little bit of private garden to sit in. It was next to the dustbins but lets not be picky.
We found the hotel’s ‘Friday night ribeye steak for a tenner’ offer to good to resist ( as we were too tired to go anywhere else) and it was surprisingly good. Better than good, in fact, it was excellent. That surprised you didn’t it? It sure as hell surprised me.
Had a stroll round the town, got my hair washed and blow dried at the local salon. Brilliant job. Friendly staff and an offer to shoot the stylists wedding next year. Turned out that the salon owner was also a musician who was playing at the wedding later in the day. We had a quick shufti round the numerous antique shops and found exactly the right mirror for the studio, along with a chaise longue, a zebra print chair and a dressing table. A quick enquiry with the shop owner established that we were in fact in a clothes shop not an antique shop and all the items we wanted to buy were shop fittings. Dammit! We didn’t see any clothes anywhere…confused (scratches head).
We didn’t know what to get as a present, so we got them a box of artisan choccies. Isn’t the box lovely? It was on the floor three seconds after this as Bob accelerated when he saw a gap in the traffic. Hope there were no juicy centres. Splat!
The wedding. Our friends Paul and Lisa came from Dublin in their camper van which was parked next to the church when we arrived. It looked a tad incongruous but not as incongruous as Lisa’s combo of evening dress and Doc Martin’s. Not a girly girl in he slightest, the b & g should consider themselves honoured she wore a dress at all. She did at least make a point of standing downwind so the wind blew her dress over the front of her boots. She wouldn’t thank me for identifying her in a dress so I cut her head off.
We met lots of friends we only see once a year at best at various conferences. The sun shone, it was warm and the atmosphere was congenial. Eventually we were ushered into the packed solid gorgeous little 12th century church. The organ player caused much hilarity with many a bum note, as did the bell ringer who had only the two hands but three bells to ring so improvised by leaning against a wall with a loop round one foot to ring the 3rd bell. I so wish I could have photographed her with her little arms and legs pumping up and down while she leaned on the wall to try and keep her balance. It really needs to be seen.
Off to The Morritt Hotel after the fabulous and very moving ceremony we were greeted a brass band (remember the hairdresser?). We sat in the garden chatting and enjoying the music and warm weather while I idly watched the photographer run around like a mad man while I occasionally snapped a picture from my the comfort of my seat in the garden seat with the compact camera. Did I find it hard not taking a camera. Nah, not in the slightest. I just LOVED being a guest and really enjoyed being a part of what was going on for once instead of just an observer.
After the brass band finished their spot a trio of chaps turned up to take their place. One had a mandolin, one a banjo and the other a guitar. They were amazing. (Is this getting too long
winded- are you bored yet?).
The food. Just look at this pud. Is this not the finest pudding you’ve ever seen? I did attract a few looks while I was taking this photo but by then members of our table were using spoons to play tunes on the table and wine glasses so I felt quite low key in comparison.
As the day wore on into evening there was no sign of that mid afternoon lull you often get at weddings. In fact it was the wee small hours before we stopped partying and went to bed, and that was only because they turned the music off, took our drinks away and dismantled the tables!
Have you ever noticed how women who are itching to dance at a party but can’t get anyone to dance with them get up and dance backwards onto the dance floor to encourage others to join them? Funny, funny, funny!!!