Monday, March 14, 2005

Full Service History

St Nicholas
Originally uploaded by

Despite setting out armed with enough food to fell a small rhinoceros, we still ended up paying over the odds in Tewkesbury Little Chef for the simple reason that we needed to use the loo. I'd never yet come away from a Little Chef thinking 'hmmn, that was nice and VERY good value'. And I still haven't. But I digress.

The church, St Nicholas, was pretty and so far successfully fending off the encroaching factory developments (our favourite one being for Trelleborg Dowty Seals - manufacturing particularly resourceful Danish marine mammals? Anything's possible round here). Matt remarked that the church looked particularly defensible in case of attack. I thought yes, perhaps against marauding Saxons, but it turns out he was thinking zombies. No change there then.

We had a lady vicar who I wouldn't have been surprised to find out was the
Reverend Watkins, but there didn't seem to be any overly supernatural goings on (other than a rather alarming crashing of bells as we were filing out at the end, leading to theories of bodies dangling from the bell ropes - segue from Ledwardine into Midsomer).

The service went smoothly, although the singing might have been a bit lustier if any of us had heard of any of the hymns - we mostly stuck to the traditional British mouthing silently with eyes fixed firmly on the order of service. I'd also like to respectfully suggest to the parents of the small girl in front of us that whispering 'shut up. Shut UP. Do you want a smack?' in increasingly murderous tones is not likely to actually quieten a kid who just wanted to be able to see. Still, I did manage to trip the mother up later at the reception, which I'd like to see as the application of inventive karma.

So anyway. A successful hitching - Alison looked every inch the lovely bride in lashings of white froth and veil with sparkly weights (although if it had been me I'd probably have been in fur trousers given the outside temperature - still, each to their own...).

Were left to our own devices after the service, with several hours to kill till the evening reception. Naturally found a pub (guesthouse, cashpoint, pub and hotel all conveniently located along a fairly short distance). Can thoroughly recommend The Berkley Arms, all timberframing, good beer (guest ale was Round The Maypole) and food and friendly service.

Made it to the Hop Pole Hotel just as the speeches were finishing (oh gosh, really?) and installed ourselves in the comfy chairs in the corridor where were were neither deafened nor blinded by the disco. And there, larelgy, we stayed for the rest of the evening, it being quite a good spot to talk to passing people, as we were between the entertainment (not me for once, although vague recollections of drunken rambling suggests it was a good thing I wasn't involved in the speeches) and the bar.

We were staying at the Barton House Guesthouse (previously the Bali Hai), and decorated with a mixture of entertainingly exotic fans and brasses and seventies floral print. Oh, and a tremendous collection of swords over the fireplace in the dining room. We were right at the top of the house on the second floor, with a good view over the rooftops of Tewkesbury. £18 each for three of us sharing, including breakfast - and a friendly resident black cat as well (I was going to put "to boot" there, but I think that would have given the wrong impression...).

Back to Cornwall on the Sunday after a full English all round and a quick detour via Ikea (two washing up brushes and a packet of biscuits if you must know).

~*~ Congratulations Jon and Alison ~*~


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