Saturday, 25th October 2003


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What better way to start a romantic vacation than to go to a wedding! It gives you a warm glow that wraps you in hugs and kisses and leaves you all loved-up. It makes you glad to be alive; grateful for being loved.

We reached Soughton Hall near Mold in time for a few pints before the ceremony. I was being extra careful not to spill any beer because I was wearing a cream linen suit, and sods law states that clumsy fools, (such as I), are 100% guaranteed to spill or splash something foul and dark that was going to leave a nasty residual stain.

Naturally I almost came a cropper within the first five minutes as I nearly choked on my beer when Julie's aunty Brenda said that I looked just like Billy Connolly! Now I know I have been growing my hair recently, (Doctor's orders. Honestly!) but I was aiming for more of a Johnny Depp vibe than the big hairy arsed Glaswegian.

Nevertheless, I guess I should be happy with looking "windswept and interesting". It's certainly better than being compared to Noel Edmonds!

Soughton Hall was a superb location for a wedding.

It also had quite an interesting history. The main development of the house as it stands today was mostly due to a William John Bankes and apparently, (and I quote …) "He was a brilliant and remarkable man: rich, charming, witty and good-looking, he studied Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a close and lifelong friend of Byron. In 1812 he went to Spain and Portugal to pursue a Bohemian lifestyle among the gypsies.

This was followed by travels in the Near East, where he sought out danger and excitement, from clandestine trips to the forbidden mosque in Jerusalem to the very real perils attending early travellers in Egypt and Nubia. Bankes spent his later years in self-imposed exile in Italy to avoid the repercussions of a charge brought against him for a homosexual offence involving a guardsman in Green Park."

Apart for the buggering about at the end what a fascinating life he led!

For the wedding ceremony all the guests were cosily packed into the living room which gave it an intimate feeling. The service was nice and brief, the registrar read out the vows with a calming voice. Although call me old fashioned, but I felt it lacked a little something because it wasn't a man of the cloth, or at the very least a village elder that was sanctifying the marriage, but I suppose at least it wasn't Elvis!

Julie and I had just celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary last Saturday. It made us feel very old to think that Rachel, today's blushing bride, was then our blushing bridesmaid.

Seventeen years ago, my God! How fast has that flown by?!

There's no holding back time, that's for sure. Before too long I'll get a taste for cruises, think that golf is my kind of sport, and develop a feeling that Joan Collins is looking sexy!

Anyway, back at the wedding, whilst the official photographs were being taken we made the most of the complimentary champagne and drank until they ran out of the bubbly stuff.

(By the way, it was unfortunate that the official photos were on black and white film because they don't show off Julie's St. Tropez "tan-from-a-can". Although we do look more classic in monochrome!)

After finding the bar, (behind a secret hidden door in the library!) we drank even more than I thought we were capable of consuming. We must have been very thirsty!

Day blended into night as a band (called The Jukes) set up in the living room. I recognised several familiar faces from around the Bangor area. (The guy from Sam's Guitar's and another from Cob Records.)

They were very good, and everyone danced the night away. Even I had a go, which is an event as rare as a total solar eclipse! My inability to dance is legendary. Only the smoochy slow dances capture my attention. Bopping away to Whitney Houston really isn't me!

We eventually made it back to the nearby Holiday Inn the small hours of the morning, singing merrily away to Bruce Springsteen, (that's more "me"!) wondering if Julie had made it safely to the room before me as I had to wait for a later mini bus, which had the bonus of squeezing another drink in! Today had been great fun! Plus my cream suit survived unstained. Bonus!

Sunday 26th October >>

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