It seems like such a long time ago that the wedding of the oldest nephew and his English girl took place. It was an unforgettable wedding or should I say a wedding that we will never forget.
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.