It's a good thing that we're already used to hard, slow travel in difficult conditions. It took eight and a half hours to travel 150 miles from Heathrow to Shropshire (near the Welsh border) on flooded roads, just like Africa! The upside was, by escaping the flooded, jammed freeway and taking our chances on the country roads, we saw much more of the English countryside than we imagined we would on this short trip. And we got to drive the rental car through rivers!
The heaviest rains in history hardly slowed down the wedding, though. A tractor was dispatched to bring the groom's grandmother and the organist to the ceremony. People like us who came from places that were 45 degrees warmer and brought completely inappropriate clothes felt dumb for failing to check Accu-weather. No one, apparently, plans to do anything outside in July in England.
A number of former colonists were quite impressed with merry old England. In fact, some of us wanted to become English so chances would increase that we could have a house like this, where the reception was held. LOVED the hedgerows.
The place is called Lorton Park. It isn't that old (1873 I think), but it is still lived in by the family whose ancestors' photos and portraits hang on the walls of the library. They rent it out now to cover its substantial maintenance costs. Set among wheat and cornfields, it was once 16,000 acres. Now, due to divorces and taxes, it's only 2000 acres. The manager gave me and the producer a tour of its cobwebby old kitchen, billiard and gun rooms in the lower level, which looked like they had never been remodeled, with all the old fixtures (labeled bells used to ring the servants from different areas of the house) and furniture. It made me nostalgic for someone else's past.
It wouldn't be Carpetblog if we didn't take issue with a few things, however. The points are minor, but important:
- Someone forgot to bring the confetti cannons! Heads should roll.
- The toasts. They were nice, for sure. But a lot of important entities were not acknowledged and that has been worrying me a little. Mothers, check. Fathers, check. Those are very important. But what about the beautiful women? Lost territories? The martyrs?
- Gin was the only liquor available at the bar (from which the beer and wine flowed admirably). But Sto Gram of gin? When we asked the bar tender why there was only gin, she answered "because this is an English wedding," as if that explained anything.
The ceremony took place in the chapel of the groom's boarding school (English boarding schools - where head boy is a command as well as a position) and was performed by a vicar (a word that always makes me giggle). And, there were lots of brilliant feathered and beribboned hats. Really, it couldn't have been more English.
How did this match ever happen? An ass for every saddle, I guess