Yesterday, Captain Elly Bailey, my younger daughter Phillipa's best friend since they were eleven, married her dashing Major Philip Carrotte, naturally known as The Carrot. My Philly was her only bridesmaid, and while sons Miles, Leo and I were waiting for the arrival of the bride, people kept coming up and telling me "Your daughter looks stunning." And she did, in a Marilyn Monroe inspired red dress and heels that made her taller than her six feet three inches brother.
Eastling village church is a beautiful Norman building and still has box pews. We go every year for "The 9 lessons and carols" on Christmas Eve, so we all know the vicar. The service was lovely, and the happy couple left under the traditional guard of honour provided by their friends in dress uniforms, swords and all.
A wet and windy walk took us to the village hall, which had been converted into a cross between Narnia and a skiing lodge. We were welcomed by the White Witch, a professional stilt walker who is a friend and neighbour, and her two elves who dodged between the guests cackling and frightening the children. Gluewein and/or hot chocolate were handed round, and eventually, after all the photographs, we were ushered into a marquee converted into a Snow Palace, where we were served roast ham and vegetables, strudel and a lot of wine. Before the speeches the White Witch reappeared on a specially built sledge, with her two elves, now in eerie green leotards, who performed comedy acrobatics in front of the happy couple, eventually dragging the poor Carrot into it.
Then it was the speeches. Father of the bride Graham, known to us all as The Muzzle, although I've no idea why, embarked on his daughter's life, with so many references to our Philly that the uninitiated must have thought she was an adopted daughter. He even compared their GCSE Maths results and talked about my late husband Brian. Crowning moment, however, was when he asked us all to be upstanding and raise a glass to "Eleanor and Phillipa"! Cue uproarious laughter and applause. The Carrot took it exceptionally well, and even presented Philly with a Tiffany pendant. Tiffany - I ask you!
The party in the evening was entertained by Phillipa's band, up from Bristol for the occasion, although without Philly. However, towards the end, she and her fellow singer Charlotte, who had done the bride's make up, took over from the dep singer and brought the house down.
I haven't enjoyed a wedding so much in years, although my ears are still ringing (Philly's band are LOUD) and my feet hurt. Report from Miles, who was persuaded to stay (on a floor somewhere, I assume) is that the heads are Very Bad this morning. Could be in part because our military friends held a "Shots competition" in the middle of the evening. Every time the hooter sounded they had to down one. No wonder they ran out of Jegermeister in 20 minutes.
After that, Christmas seems like a rest.
To all my readers and friends, have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Love to all