Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Very English Wedding

On the last Friday in July, we took a break from our Spanish travels and boarded a short flight from Girona to Bournemouth England to attend the wedding of the daughter of Maxine, one of Sally’s oldest and best friends. The wedding was held at Preshaw, a country estate outside of Winchester, yes the one with the cathedral, which once belonged to the noble Pelly family. Today, the grand 27 bedroom Elizabethan manor house with the Nash addition has been divided into four freehold properties, one of which was owned by Maxine’s friends. Another 20 houses and cottages scattered around the estate are also inhabited. However, judging by the number of Range Rovers and BMW’s, the new residents are much better off than the estate workers who formerly lived on the grounds.Two elegant Italian buses picked us up at the hotel to take us to the estate. Upon arrival, residents of the hamlet stood alongside the road, many with glasses of beer and white wine, to greet us. The wedding ceremony was held in a small chapel on the grounds under the direction of a vicar who did his best to give the young couple the kind of advice that would keep them together for life. However, most people were paying more attention to the magnificent flowers that were placed around the chapel.Following the ceremony we walked up to a large field where two marquees had been set up; one with tables laden with champagne and sparkling elderberry juice, quails eggs with celery salt, and other delectables. After a few hours, we headed into the larger marquee, with its draped walls, chandeliers and dance floor, and enjoyed a most sensational evening. Some of the older men were dressed in morning suits, and the younger men dressed like the doctors and bankers that they were. (Spread collars, large knotted ties, with lots of pink and purple checks and stripes.)The women all looked very smart, with many wearing little ornamental things on their heads in lieu of hats. Do women wear these at Canadian weddings?

After dinner, some of the waiters started to make a bit of a commotion, which caught us all off guard. But soon they burst into song and we realized that we were being treated to a rendition of Abba’s Mama Mia! Then the band started up, the lights were dimmed and the music played on.
Around midnight I started to get a bit peckish, but the caterers had anticipated this, and set up barbecues to roast sausages and English bacon and rolls. Soon thereafter, we boarded the bus and were taken back to the hotel.
The next day, we returned to the hamlet where a very elegant lunch was served. Around 4, the bride and groom set off for Africa, and we set off for Bournemouth to meet up with my cousin Jackie Geller, for even more wonderful wines and food.
On Monday morning, after a brief stop at Marks and Spencer’s to buy a spread collar pink and purple checked shirt we returned to Spain, along with a plane load of Spaniards who had also enjoyed a long weekend in UK, and some English people who regularly take advantage of the fact that they can fly from UK to a variety of European countries at very little cost, in very little time.
Naomi and Alex, we hope you are enjoying Africa and wish you both all the best for a very happy life together. You certainly have had a good start.

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