Monday, 28 April 2008
The bus collected us from the Travelodge at 1.20 pm, all dressed up and raring to go, hats, fascinators, high heeled shoes, dresses, suits, kilts and flowers, an impressive sight I thought. The bus arrived at the entrance gates of the castle and took the long narrow, mile long, tree lined, stone path to the castle, we all breathed in as the bus passed through the narrow gate pillars along the way. Although I guess the driver had done it before.
The bus drew to a stop outside the castle, my daughter was immediately disappointed to see what looked like the side of an old square building. We entered quickly as there was a cold wind in the air. A dark castle door lead into a circular brick porch area, through dark wooden double doors and into a large L shaped foyer, I was immediately drawn to the toilet sign on the left, pointing down a small set of stairs, I was glad to see it was slightly brighter down that set of stairs. The walls were completely panelled with dark wood and had an array of weapons on display from axes to swords, there was the occasional deers head, stuffed and hung proudly above the doorways. Straight along the foyer on the right were the double doors that would lead us to the dining room, there were 5 or 6 wide stairs leading up to the rest of the foyer on the left. A photographer, these ones who take 'action pictures' was bent on one knee at the top of the stairs causing everyone to freeze, trying to establish who or what he is snapping and then trying to act casual as you walk passed him. He then informed us he was taking pictures of 'the moment' and basically to ignore him! Getting to the top of the few stairs I was aware it had become lighter, brighter and more spacious, there was another dining room to the left, next to it was the lounge (with the bar) opposite the few stairs was a full windowed wall with door, we named this the back door, leading out onto the balcony, well they called it a balcony, I wouldn't have called it a balcony more a terrace, it ran the full length of the outside of the foyer and the drawing room, which was on the right, there were real pillars, flowers & plants, a row of seats and wide steps leading into the stunning grounds. I was given a menu and a children's menu and we had to pick our meal there and then, the menu was quite fancy but I was glad to say I liked it and the children even got to have chicken nuggets & cheeseburgers. The meal picked and the children off to explore the castle we hit the bar, I think we managed 2.5 drinks before we were called to make our way to the Great Hall for the marriage ceremony. As the castle was exclusively for our use we were advised by the bar staff to cover the drinks with a bar mat and they would be there on our return - very classy.
We were lead through the back door, onto the balcony, down the stairs and onto the stony path, that in high heels was an achievement in itself, around the side of the castle, through an archway and then a cobbled court yard, back onto a stony path, up a small set of outside stairs to a door way where we halted behind the queue of people that had gathered. And the reason for the queue was the single spiral uneven stair way which lead via a turret to the Great Hall! The turret had small square windows at stair level, with no glass, which caused the wind to whirl in that area, each woman carefully maneuvering up the widest part of the stair, holding the small uneven handrail, handbag, any small children while trying not to have a Marilyn Munro moment. I was glad I had trousers on. Bearing in mind the guests included my 73 year old MIL, oldest nephews other granny, who has sever dementia, lives in a home and had been brought by 2 carers, a 9 year old boy with severe cerebral palsy who was in a wheelchair and a couple of babies. Who in there right mind would have their wedding.............anyway! The Great Hall really was a disappointment, it was freezing cold, there were no seats and I don't mean no seats left, there were no seats, you stand for the ceremony, the kids were put in a turret area where they had a perfect view, the crying of the bride and grooms unwell 11 month old baby echoed around the room. Did I mention they have four children? 2 from the brides first marriage age 13 and 11 or there abouts and 2 together age 2 and 11 months. We all awaited the arrival of the bride, the wind whirled and whistled around my freezing feet, the baby cried and then she entered, accompanied by her dad, who also has dementia. She looked lovely, an ivory dress, her long black hair curled, she was followed by her little girl in an ivory dress with a black sash, her big girl and another 2 bridesmaids in black with the ivory sash all wearing ivory fur stoles (if that's what you call them) the groom's sister sneaked out with the baby to let his parents concentrate on getting married. I forgot all about my freezing feet while I watched and listened to the ceremony, a little tear in my eye, this was quickly brightened by the grooms other Granny shouting Fuck Off repeatedly towards the end of the ceremony. Getting up the stairs had been easy in comparison to trying to get back down them, the carers had started to take Granny down, she was terrified, routed to the spot, they encouraged her and finally got her moving, meanwhile the groom's sister was at the bottom of the stairs trying to get back up with the baby for the photo's, the bride kept sending people to get the baby, by this time I was half way down the stairs and ordered the person at the top to stop, go back, not let anyone down until the baby was up before both the bride and the groom's sister had a fit. Sorted. I can't be doing with folk faffing about, poeple need order and direction so that's what they got.
We headed back to the warmth of the bar, where we were greeted with a pink cocktail punch, it was lovely, so lovely we got the men to go and get us their share. My daughter announced she was starving, she doesn't eat ordinary crisps it has to be Skips or Quavers, they had none. It was announced dinner would be at 6pm, it was 3.45pm. I knew then it would be a long night.
And as usual there has to be a tragedy to balance the world, another niece, the one who has just announced her engagement had been sat with us the night before telling us about her fiance's dad, he had been unwell and had developed lumps on his head he had been taken into hospital on the Friday night, they decided to come to the wedding as there seemed nothing to worry about. After the ceremony he called home to see how things were and was told he should make his way home as it didn't look to good. There was instant panic on the poor boys part, but my SIL stepped in and went to arrange a taxi, my niece had not been drinking luckily so they only needed a taxi to the Travelodge to collect their car. Kindly and under the circumstances a member of staff from the castle took them to the Travelodge to collect their car. They travelled the hour and a half journey back to Glasgow and we were told just after dinner that the man had died. He had slipped away even before his only child had spoken to his mother but she obviously couldn't find the words to tell him over the phone and make his journey home any worse.
Friday, 18 April 2008
Darling daughter and her favourite closest cousin.
Me & the hubby, minus the head-dress. Also note the hubby is not a giant but standing on a step higher than me!
Me, Hubby, handsome son and darling daughter.
Handsome son and his favourite closest cousin (brother to my daughters favourite cousin)
These boys are only 9 months apart!!
My mum and her favourite girl.
The Windy Family.
Must remember to close my legs and change out of my slippers for photo moments.
My MIL with her youngest Granddaughter (out of 19 grandchildren)
My beautiful niece & darling daughter
Notice Angel the cat, photo opportunity moment!
Me & my friend, it's not wine honest, it's Lambrusco!
The hubby and his 6 sisters, he also has 2 brothers but they were unavailable for this photo moment.
My hubby has a favourite song that gets played at every family party and he changes the words accordingly it goes........
"We are family......
I've got my 6 sisters with me"
A little insight into the Windy family. I will continue with the wedding story soon.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
Now I'm not sure what your idea of a good wedding would be but let me tell you mine. You get dressed up, you watch the happy couple tie the knot with a little tear in your eye, you have a wee drink, in the middle of the day, scandalous. You eat, laugh at the the speeches and then get the party started and drink a wee drop more, laugh a big bit more and dance the night away. Simple but most enjoyable.
The wedding was 9 miles outside of Dumfries on the Sunday at 2pm. We left on the Saturday and had booked into a Travelodge, most of the family had. A leisurely journey, only an hour and a half, arriving at 3.30. The Travelodge had no eating/drinking facilities so we took the short journey across the road to the Premier Inn. It was very sociable and quite exciting. Now I hope I don't confuse you in my telling of this story as my hubby has 6 sisters and 2 brothers all of whom are married, bar one, who stays at home with her mother. The wedding was the oldest sister's son. So we had our family, the other side of the grooms family and the brides family all congregating in the Premier Inn, there certainly was a buzz about the place. They were arranging an 'en mass' booking for dinner at 7pm, but we decided the kids couldn't wait that long and we went back to the Travelodge to unpack. We had a great set up, my favourite SIL next door, her kids are 15, 11 & 10 the youngest being the closest in age to my 2 and practically inseparable and my MIL & SIL in the room directly opposite, we had these automatic closing doors, which we held open with hangers and you knew if the door was held open it was a family member or at least someone going to the wedding, we were all sick of knock, knock, knock. The kids had a ball, dotting from room to room, we had at least 15 rooms booked. My favourite SIL, MIL & SIL had all eaten late afternoon so we sneaked over into a quiet corner in the Premier Inn and had our dinner, just the 4 of us. On our return to the Travelodge my MIL & SIL informed us they would watch the kids and we could go out for a drink! Whoooo Hooooo a night out. All rooms in the Travelodge have a double bed and a couch and pull out bed, so my MIL took the 2 girls in her room and my SIL took the 2 boys in our room. This time we walked across to the Premier Inn, landed a booth with a SIL, BIL, niece and her fiance. Make mine a Vodka and fresh orange, I haven't drunk vodka for over a year and a half, in fact apart from the odd Baileys and 3 Smirnoff Ice at New Year I haven't drunk at all. The rest of the masses were having dinner so we had a nice chat and a laugh and a bit of a bitch about the 'brother and SIL' that I don't talk to. As the masses finished their meals, the men gradually made their way to the bar and the women squeezed up in the booth, at one point I was surrounded by 5 SIL's, 4 nieces and 3 nephews and take a moment just to look round them all laughing and joking. It's not all rosy in the family, mainly triggered by the actions of the brother and SIL. But blood is thicker than water and they have something I will never experience, an unseen bond, related to each other, 8 siblings. I am quickly drawn out of my thoughts by another drink. I had a great night, sauntering back to the Travelodge with the SIL's, the men trailing behind as usual. The kids were still awake when we returned, my daughter deciding she wanted to sleep in our room, so we turfed out the nephew back to his room and my niece, she stayed quite happily with her granny & auntie.
The fact that the kids were still wakened, started to grate, they need routine, they need a good nights sleep or else they will be miserable, it's a long day tomorrow. But I gave myself a good talking too, it's only one weekend, it'll not do them any harm, get over it. I think the vodka helped.
The next morning and it was all go, we went to the Little Chef for breakfast, nice big cooked breakfast. The bus was collecting is at 1.20 so this was the only food we would get until dinner. This also sets my OCD into overdrive, no lunch, the kids can't go without lunch, but again I control it, telling them to fill their stomachs to the max. I don't think the Little Chef knew what had hit them, at least 30 people hitting them for breakfast at the one time, plus the other guests, who must have wondered what was going on, laughing, joking, shouting, did I ever mention shouting. I think it might be a big family thing, nobody talks, they all shout, quite possible trying to be heard, a small voice in a large crowd. The breakfast was extortionate, we decided Morrison's cafe would be ideal on the Monday morning.
We then got suited and booted so to speak and off we went in the bus, a pleasant journey, we entered the gates of the castle and took the mile long driveway to the castle, all breathing in as the bus went through 2 very narrow sets of brick pillars. The castle is a medieval castle and so everything inside was dark wood panelling, suits of armour strategically placed, I apologised to one for bumping into it only to see as I turned around it was in fact a tin man. The grounds were beautiful and plentiful, the kids went immediately to explore outside, starting with the dungeons! I noted how cold it was as the door opened. We were given menus to choose our meal right there and then, a beautiful menu and a kids menu, the kids were even eating in a separate room, watched over by my beautiful niece and her joined-at-the-hip-friend. We were then informed the marriage ceremony would take place at 3pm, nearly 45 minutes later. Apparently we had to be there at 2pm so that everyone would have placed their food order before the ceremony. I knew at that point this was going to be a long day. Vodka and fresh orange for me, I requested.
Monday, 14 April 2008
We enjoyed the Easter weekend, the hubby he worked as usual, I took the kids including the next door neighbour to church and then up the hills to roll their coloured eggs. I seem to remember from years ago something about rolling your eggs before 12 noon, now whether I made that up or not I'm not sure, but as I thought out loud and mentioned it to the kids, the 8 year old asked
'How, what time did Jesus roll his at?'
And here was me thinking she was receiving good religious education at school, not to mention her grammar! She has frequent blonde moments like these.
After the Easter story we headed of into Glasgow to try and kit the 8 year old out for the wedding. After looking in every shop and then trying every dress on in BHS we settled for a lilac dress and cream cardigan, I was not pleased with the choice but it was the best of a bad bunch to say the least and at least she wouldn't have to go naked!
At some point after the Easter break I became ill and I mean ill, it was a flu virus, some nights I had hot sweats, others I was so cold. The hubby, well he was on nights! At one point I thought I was going to have to get the 10 year old up in the middle of the night to make me a hot drink as I couldn't lift my head and I was so cold, shivering non stop for hours. Doped up on paracetamol I made it to work as I was so busy, for 4 days I struggled and finally I began to feel better, I was so pleased I was coming out the other end and then I woke up covered from head to toe in a blotchy rash. A visit to the doctor confirmed a viral rash and with that came the onset of another bout of viral reactive arthritis, (all the symptoms of arthritis but no lasting effect and no evidence of it in your bloods.) But I am wise to it now and had started on the anti-inflammatory drugs, this was a particularly fierce flare up, so much so I started planning what I should do with the business and how I could run it differently. My bloods were clear as usual, fortunately the doctor as 2 other patients with the same thing and she knows it is not all in my head.
As I recovered my daughter became unwell with the same thing, like me she was ok during the day but struggled at night. As she recovered she took very rosy cheeks, I sent her to school as she had no other symptoms, the school were not happy and asked me to have her looked at by a doctor. I was angry with the teacher, who said to her,
'I don't want what you have got, go and ask the office to phone your mummy and find out what's wrong with you!'
Well, the cheek, as if I would sent her to school knowing she was unwell. I marched to school and removed her, took her straight to the doctor, who very kindly saw her and confirmed she had Slap Cheek, a very infectious virus, infectious to other children and highly infectious to women in the very early stages of pregnancy, well to the baby and she must remain off school for the rest of the week. Whoops. It was 5 days before the wedding, the week before the school broke up for 2 weeks, she was delighted, 3 weeks off school. I phoned the school with my tail between my legs and confirmed the situation. And all I could think about was who was going to look after her, I had so much work on. I managed to convince the hubby to take some holidays which he did and he looked after her, it was the first time in her whole life he has had to take time off to look after her. She then came out in the same rash that I had, confirming to me that although adults don't get Slap Cheek, her symptoms were exactly the same as mine and I had obviously passed this virus on. By the Thursday night my son was overcome with nausea and dizzyness, I decided at that point if we were going to make this wedding he should have the Friday off school to rest and prepare himself for the weekend.
I have really struggled over the last few weeks with where I'm going in life and what's best for my family, hence no blogging. When I worked in the evening I was there for the kids all day and somebody else paid me, now that would not be practical due to the homework and evening activities they do, I prefer to be there in the evening and work during the day and with the hubby usually on nightshift then I have to be there at night. What I do struggle with is when the kids are not well, when I'm not well, when things go wrong, like this morning my boiler broke down, I had to take the morning off to wait for the Gas engineer and school holidays, the hubby has taken the rest of the week off to allow me to put more hours in at the shop and try and catch up on the hours I've lost. I have a queue of customers waiting for things to be embroidered. Ideally I would like to be more home based, I am considering continuing with school wear from the unit in the summer and obviously any other embroidery work that comes along but increasing my eBay business dramatically, I always have the eBay shop running, but it does become a bit neglected due to lack of time. I need to have a serious think and make another plan. I have started to increase my eBay listings in preparation for the summer as I missed the boat last year.
In amoungst my business planning we are trying to finish decorating the house for the communion in 5 weeks time, I have an ironing pile nearly as tall as the 8 year old, the kids have more colds and sore heads and won't stop fighting with each other. On the plus side I have gutted both children's bedrooms so that's a start to decluttering my life and mind.
And the wedding, well that's another story, I am collecting pictures on Wednesday so I hope to post some pictures along with The Wedding Story.