An English Summer Wedding And To Russia With My Love

9 Aug

I feel as if I’ve been spat out of the wedding vortex. Odd thing to say I know, but after a week of activities spinning centrifugally around the marriage of our darling boy, Tristan, to the beautiful, kind and clever Jenny, I’m a tad tired and emotional. 

It started with a recon in The Cotswolds for the stag weekend of country walks and pub skittles last weekend. This progressed to a pre-wedding afternoon tea garden party and rehearsal hosted by the Bride’s parents at their home outside Cambridge, reached its pinnacle with the wedding at South Farm in the village of Shingay cum Wendy, and ended with a punting party in Cambridge. I promise I am not making this up.

And if I, as mother of the groom, am in pieces, pity the poor parents of the bride who did the hard graft of making these bespoke events magnificent.

Then take a quantum leap up to the Edinburgh-based bride and groom who expended thousands of hours, I kid you not, on planning, preparing and executing this past week like a cross between high art and an SAS exercise, all the while riding the emotional rollercoaster that is the modern wedding. 

Their joint efforts were rewarded by a flawless experience for the 70 odd guests, many of whom, like us, had travelled considerable distances to bear witness, celebrate and dance ’til our feet blistered. Even the fickle English summer weather cooperated with cornflower blue skies segueing into a gold and crimson sunset followed by a orange half harvest moon, starry night. Ridiculously beautiful.

I don’t have photos of the Stag ‘do’ since I removed myself to London, but I think I can give you a peek at the other bits without my new daughter-in-law and my son getting cross with me.  First The Cotswolds:

    
    
  The tea party.  
  
Jenny and Tristan  
    
    
 We wacked a few balls pre-wedding which worked off some nervous adrenalin. 

  The men dressed in 45 minutes!  
  Mr and Mrs Elliott  
    
 The Elliott-Tickle Tribe. 

  Crazy Ceilidh dancing. 
Tris donned his kilt for the Ceilidh.  

 Eliza and Cameron Elliott   
Stuart reprised his punting skills.

    
 
We’re now over Berlin on our way to Helsinki where we’ll board the ship taking us to St Petersburg. By rights I should be flying solo. Our first planned visit to Russia three years ago was torpedoed by Stuart’s stroke and this one nearly foundered on a washing mishap. 

Since I’m telling the story I’ll relate it as I remember it (Stuart may well have a different version).

On his return from the boys’ weekend Stuart (at my request) handed me a plastic bag of dirty laundry, including his sweaty walking trousers, to add to mine. We had regrouped at my sister-in-law Catharine’s London home with her highly efficient washing machine. I dutifully washed the lot early next morning and hung them on the outside line. Over breakfast I was idly admiring the neat lines of washing flapping in the breeze when I noticed the oddly familiar outline of Stuart’s passport in the zippered trouser leg pocket of his trousers. Aaaah ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ multiple expletives! 

We quickly established that the modern British passport, with its electronic strip and chip, is highly water intolerant. Do not so much as spill a cup of tea on it or put it close to your perspiring skin or you risk killing it stone dead, as this one now was.

Do, however, put your faith in the British Passport Office, especially the Peterborough branch. This was the only branch within an hour’s drive of Cambridge that could give us an early interview to fast track a replacement passport. Peterborough under promised (minimum seven working days) and over delivered by generating a new passport and posting it to Catharine within three working days. 

Our other bit of luck was having Jean-Louis, an old friend living in London, willing and able to act as co-signatory on the application. 

We had kept our nerve and didn’t cancel any bookings, but were resigned to Stuart missing the Russia leg of this trip. He received several attractive alternative offers for the weekend. There was never any question that I would not proceed as planned. My marriage vows don’t require me to stand by my man in every circumstance, especially if it means missing the jewels of The Hermitage, St Petersburg by night and Peterhof Palace! 

PS Special mention for our other son Cameron,Tristan’s Best Man, who also with Jenny’s brother Ian, provided the musical interlude during the ceremony. Cam battled and overcame a probable cryptosporidiuminfection to play his part. Apparently UK water quality is questionable just now – there’s a reason Brits drink so much tea and beer.

7 Responses to “An English Summer Wedding And To Russia With My Love”

  1. Ruth August 9, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Beautiful words and pictures as always Sharon. It looked and sounded like a beautiful wedding. You have a very good looking sons (and daughter in-laws). I hope you enjoy your Russia trip and look forward to reading your next update. I hope all passports stay safe and dry.

    • Sharon Tickle August 10, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Thanks Ruth. St Petersburg is treating us well! Sxx

  2. Dave August 9, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Fantastic adventures. Wet passports and all!

    Re: postscript
    Good to hear Cam responded well to a pre-performance dose of concrete.

    Love to all
    D,H,H

    • Sharon Tickle August 10, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks Dave, and believe me I left lots out…. Sxx

  3. Michelle August 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    Beautiful photos Sharon and many congratulations to the happy couple! Mighty envious of your trip to St Petersburg. It’s on my bucket list for a winter visit so that I can wear a huge great coat and have a muff!!! [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muff_(handwarmer)] Bryan had to giggle at that one!
    love M&B.xx

    • Sharon Tickle August 10, 2015 at 11:35 am #

      Don’t wait until winter Michelle, it’s stunning in the sunshine. Sxx

  4. neilson1 August 10, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    Nice blog Sharon but you should know to always check the pockets of a man’s trousers before they go in the wash!!!

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