The Big Day

It was a big day in various senses. The 21st is officially the longest day of the year, and since our personal participation therein began at 5.30, it certainly felt it. What is more to the point, of course, is that it was the wedding day of the Northern Gentleman. The French Correspondent and her partner the Palaeontologist heroically volunteered to do most of the driving, so we went over to their place and set off south somewhat before seven on a grey, wet, morning. Alas, as we proceeded it got greyer and greyer and wetter and wetter. By the time we were heading over Cairn O’Mount, the view of dark trees looming out of pearly grey mist was so eerie that we started talking about trolls and the Palaeontologist was provoked into singing a highly inscrutable song in Gaelic about the white bodachs and the black bodachs, just in case there were any about, of either variety. The wedding was due to take place at Doune Castle, near Stirling. We arrived in good style and even in good time, since the Professor wanted to get onto terms with the electric organ, but the weather refused to let up. When we squelched into the upper hall where the affair was due to take place, it was pretty empty apart from the Northern Gentleman, who was discovered pacing up and down in traditional fashion, looking very correct in a kilt,the odd Historic Scotland person hurrying about checking on this and that, and quite the nicest Piskie clergyman in Scotland, wandering around in a soutane telling jokes and adding a professional touch of calm. After the Professor had tried out a couple of hymns, the room started to fill up as family and friends trickled in, including Dr Biswell and Mr Wil, and the Laird of the Pink Castle, in frock coat, tartan trews and a Panama hat, and the Laird of Northfield, also in tartan trews. The bride appeared, becomingly dressed in a dark green frock long enough to sweep the ground, a good choice, since it looks far nicer if one’s standing up with a man in a kilt than white. Since her feet were completely invisible, her subsequent allegation that she had substituted Wellington boots for tradionally bridal footwear remained unproven, but I wouldn’t put it past her. Doune is a seriously defensible castle, and the trek from the last place a car can get to, up through the gate defences, across the rain-lashed cobbles of the keep and up a temporary flight of wooden stairs must have seriously challenged those ladies who saw fit to turn up in killer heels. After all that, we all pootled off to Stirling for lunch, where the Professor and I greatly admired the rare intelligence of the seating arrangements, which as far as I could see put everyone within reach of two people they knew and one stranger with whom they had something common. We slid out after the speeches, since we wanted to pay a brief visit to an old, old friend who lives just a few miles from Stirling before heading home. So we popped into Bridge of Allen, assumed the brace position while a tempestuous wave of Highland hospitality broke over our heads, and then it was over the hills and far away, up Glenshee and across Deeside. Throughout the entire expedition, between when we left home at about half past six, and when we got back, about half past ten at night, the rain did not let up for an instant, and the sun remained hidden. But the curious effect of midsummer was that the grey, opaline light of early dawn also remained constant for the sixteen hours in question, and it was impossible to guess how time was passing. Anyway, as Bob the Priest said to us on our wedding day, ‘that’s you done. Let’s see you try and get out of it.’ Congratulations to all concerned.

One Response to “The Big Day”

  1. French Correspondent Says:

    I can confirm that the Bride was indeed wearing wellies, though Hunters as opposed to any old wellies. The same boots were the centrepiece of a posh footwear shop window in Toulouse, between Longchamp and Hermes outlets.

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