Photo Journal Part 1 – The Wedding

August already – how did that happen? Silly question. As some of you may have noticed, I took a break from Facebook for 10 days or so. An experiment in several ways, but mostly an attempt to be true to my principles, and boycott the dastardly thing. I detest its organisational structure, its business model, its total lack of any kind of ethics or morality and most of all its ability to suck us into dependence on it. Instead of posting every second thought and experience as it happened, and spending hours reading what people I barely know are saying and thinking, I decided to create a photo journal for these 10 days, and share that with people I do actually know and care about. I’ll put a link on Facebook as well, because there are people who come into that category who still only communicate via Facebook. I’m hoping that will change, but not ‘holding my breath’. So there I was, sitting on the train, about to cross the border from Scotland back into England.  The big adventure of Roderick and Arwen’s wedding had been and gone, and so had my mini-break on the Isle of Tiree with my sister-in-law Mabel Macarthur.  Rather than writing up my blog/journal at reasonable intervals, of course I left it till the adventure was almost over!  Then, having made a start, Virgin West Coast Train’s wifi crashed, and I was left to ‘consider my options’. I’ve been back in Liverpool amost a week now; marvellous how life takes over. But I’ll have a go at re-tracing my steps in an attempt to share the adventure with you all. This is Part 1, The Wedding. First off, before I left, I set up the self-watering system for my houseplants. The next morning I found a huge puddle on the floor, as you can see the lengths of string are drooping between the bottle of water and the plants, hence proving the drip principle does work, but it’s more effective if the water actually drips into the pot!
First, setting up the automatic watering system for my indoow garden
I also spent the evening packing and baking, making Lamingtons to help out with the snacks for the guests after the wedding ceremony.
This is an Aussie favourite, squares of plain sponge cake dipped (or in my case soaked) in chocolate icing and rolled in chocolate.  I also made some Anzac biscuits and my first ever successful batch of shortbread.
My first successful batch of Shortbread
Roddy and I drove up to the Lake District together in his lovely hire car on Thursday afternoon, arriving just in time to enjoy a single malt on the terrace of the Cragwood Country House Hotel, overlooking Lake Windermere, on a gorgeous clear blue skied evening, with Adele and Gerry Grodstein from New Jersey. (My elder son Iain’s in-laws). On Friday morning we met up with Arwen and her family (who’d come in from the Isle of Wight, Home Counties and New Zealand) for the rehearsal.  Iain had arrived (from Seattle) with his wife Jessie and the grandchildren Owen and Natalie the night before, and the twisty, windy roads up the lake to the church managed to lose them. Meantime, in my efforts to connect with them – no phone reception where the church is – I had an adventure climbing up the hill behind the village trying to get some ‘3’ bars on my phone, where I was rescued by a very kind couple who pointed out that this was Vodafone territory, and let me call Iain on their landline. They also treated me to a history lesson about the origins of the church, the glacier traces in the hill behind their house, and the local farmers’ concerns about the drought. That sorted, Roddy found me some lunch and a taxi to take me to Oxenholme station to collect my sister-in-law, Roddy and Iain’s Aunt Mabel, travelling down from the Isle of Tiree. Next up, the boat trip on the lake. Roddy and Arwen had booked a boat to take us all for an hour’s run on the water, with Prosecco and juice and snacks galore, and much laughter.
Roderick offers Adele a glass of bubbly, while Albert and Arwen hand out food
Mabel and me
Iain, Jessie and Natalie
Arwen’s brother Alister photo-bombing the group shot. I love this one!
After some shenanigans, the boat skipper finally got this one, with everyone
Back on land, we enjoyed a lovely bar meal in the hotel, (did I mention, they’d booked the whole hotel for the weekend!), took a stroll in the grounds as the light was fading – around 10.30 in the evening. And then, a really comfy bed, and a great night’s sleep for me, before the big day dawned.

Wedding of the year

Saturday arrived with a fair amount of cloud cover, just enough blue sky to make for great photos. It was warm and delightful as more and more friends and relatives arrived. I’ll try to keep my commentary to a minimum, and let the pictures do the talking.
Roderick
Roderick (the Bridegroom), Owen (Groomsman) and Iain (Best Man)
Mabel and Adele flaunting fabulous fascinators
Jessie, Iain’s wife, with her sister Lauren, mother of Natey and Penelope.
Jessie and Lauren make all those fascinator experiments of mine worth while! Roderick’s friends and work colleagues made the trip. I didn’t manage to photograph them all, but here are a few
Steve, Adele, John and Kate – part of the Liverpool contingent
Betty and Wayne, Chloe and Mike, Baltic Creative folk
St Peter’s is a beautiful little parish church, built in 1873-4, paid for by the owner of the nearby Bobbin Mill. Natalie leads the bridesmaids down the aisle.
The vows.
Yes, I cried. We all traipsed over to the Village Hall which had been decked out with Arwen’s beautifully crafted bunting and balloons and flowers. Wendy’s gorgeous sandwiches and snacks went down a treat, and my goodies disappeared pretty quickly too. I enjoyed my ride back to the hotel in the limo with the groomsmen and ushers, but the bride and groom had an a royal return to the hotel in this little gem, being waved and cheered on their way as they drove through Bowness. Adele Grodstein managed to capture this image (below) of the bridal party arriving back at the hotel I couldn’t resist including this one, of Natalie and Owen relaxing outside the hotel after the wedding.   And then there was the reception – the Wedding Breakfast.  I didn’t take any photos during the meal, or the speeches, but I can tell you the food was tasty, and plentiful, and beautifully presented, the crackers – also handmade by Arwen, burst and cracked fabulously, and the speeches were, without exception, stunningly generous, funny and moving. Of course I cried. Later in the evening, as a very fine Manchester rock band kept the floors bouncing fabulously, Mabel and Adele and I discovered some fun, self-entertaining accoutrements that Arwen had set up in the bar. And there was more… Giant Sparklers out on the terrace after dark, for children of all ages. I had a bit of a jig to the band playing some of my fave hits from the 60s before finally crashing out just after midnight. The Day After Sunday saw the departure of the US contingent. So sad to see them go, but very very grateful for the brief time I had with them all. Look carefully at that image above.  Natey (aged 11, Owen’s cousin) and Owen (aged 12) reading actually newspapers. I call this “Hope for the Future of Humanity”. Left to right, back row first: Adele, Flloyd*, Iain, Jessie, Mabel, Jerry Natey, Owen, Natalie. (*Footnote: I recently discovered that I look much, much better in photos – and even in the mirror – when I smile. Thanks to the Grodsteins for teaching me that) Part 2 continues next time, the Tiree Holiday.    

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