Two weddings and a picnic
My friend Pelly's Number One Daughter was married to her soulmate in the wonderful setting of Forde Abbey, which nestles inside the Dorset border, with just a nod to neighbouring Somerset for its postal address.
There were gasps when the bride walked in with her father to a score composed by the Cinematic Orchestra, as the huge log fire blazed in the great hall. A Jane Austen heroine, she took the arm of her husband-to-be, who in the film would have been played by a young Hugh Grant or maybe Dominic Cooper. There was even a distinguished wedding guest in a kilt. And the assembled throng sniggered when the registrar asked the bridegroom to repeat the words: 'I Timothy St John Dauphinois Sutherland...'
The guests gathered below the abbot's lodgings and tower (built by the last abbot, Thomas Chard, in the early 1500s) for a group photo as the female photographer tried to conduct the proceedings while balanced precariously on the parapet.
But the sun beat down for the picnic on Bluebell Hill the next day, as Mr Grigg ferried the less able and two beer barrels to the top. Some 50 people sat on blankets and chairs and to hell with the National Trust as the children played frisbee and football in among the beech trees. There was Italian bread made by Darling Loggins, a rather tasty pork pie from Mrs Bancroft and a bottle of bubbly cracked open by Champagne Charlie.
In the evening we crammed into the pub for a quiz, which our team narrowly missed winning by two-and-a-half points. The quiz master was duly shamed for naming Salisbury as the county town of Wiltshire (it's Trowbridge) and the winning team not only won the beer leg but a rib of beef in the raffle.
We have just returned from a garden party to celebrate the surprise wedding of friends who were married in secret on Friday. Wearing shorts and hiking boots, with two witnesses and a dog, they had their nuptials at the local register office and then finished off the ceremony with fish and chips down in the town.
Ah, weddings. Not one of them the same.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x