The wedding was at 1.30pm at the church on Clapham Common. I’d hoped to have done the practice run the night before to see how easy it was to get to and to make sure we left enough time to arrive before the bride did but it wasn’t to be.
The kids lay in bed watching TV whilst I nipped to Tesco for some cereal and to pick up some plastic bowls which I’d forgotten to get for the camping supplies. By the time everyone was showered and dressed the clock had hit 1pm. Where had the day gone? We decided that the tube was going to take far to long and had the hotel phone us a taxi hoping that traffic wouldn’t be too bad. We couldn’t come all this way and then miss the ceremony! This feeling wasn’t helped when the driver said it normally took at least 25 minutes to get us to where we were going on a good day and within 100m from the hotel we were in gridlock. He managed it though. Erica however had fallen asleep in the back of the car by the time we arrived at the church.
We arrived just before H-Hour and I took the kids through to the creche while Vonnie took her seat. Just as I stood in line at the toilet with Nairn the music changed and I panicked a little until I realised everyone in front of me in the queue was in the choir so I was safe until they all disappeared. Back in the church I found my seat and time went past but still no bride. To cut a long story short there was a music festival on Clapham Common that weekend so the roads were extremely busy and the brides driver went the wrong way around the one way system, I think, so she ended up having to walk across part of the common to get there.
As the ceremony started I had a quick look at the order of service and it looked huge. We we’re going to be there a while. It turns out that the Church Of England is nothing like the wedding ceremonies up here in Scotland. The normal CoE ceremony seems to be 90 minutes long and with a bit of shaving and the cutting of a few hymns Jamie and Zara got theirs down to 60 minutes but it’s still far longer than the Scottish “Do you? Do you? Yer maryed” ceremony. It was really nice though and it actually flew in. I have to admit though it’s really weird being at a wedding and not seeing any kilts. If we could have afforded the hire of one for the week I’d have been showing it off. In saying that though the newly married couple looked great even if the only tartan near the place was on my daughters dress curled up in the creche. The choir were fantastic and really made it for me as although I’m a card carrying athiest you can’t beat a bit singing in a place that sounds that good.
After the ceremony I went to get the kids back from the creche and despite all the noise Erica was still fast asleep. We made our way out of the church past the bride and groom to be greeted by a wall of sunshine and loads of people smiling and chatting away. We hadn’t arranged transport to the reception but there was a Routemaster bus put on to ferry folk to Pimlico. As I walked over towards it I started singing a song that I love but it was a really strange place to start singing that particular song. It wasn’t until I stopped singing but it carried on without me that I realised it was coming from the festival. It turns out King Creasote were playing that day and just at that time started belting out Hamish Imlach’s Cod Liver Oil And The Orange Juice. It somehow put me in an even better mood than I was before.
The Routemaster bus was a nice touch. I’d never been on a traditional style London bus before unless you include Edinburgh bus tour buses but I can see why people get nostalgic about them. The driver had parked the bus on the pavement before everyone clambered on so he hit the kerb as he drove off and there was one hell of a grinding noise. Nothing fell off and we got away OK though. At one point he took a wrong turn and ended up having to make a detour round some roadworks when the road we were on was closed but somehow they made it through the side streets without hitting anything.
Despite the rain threatening to appear the weather stayed nice all through the reception at Pimlico Gardens. when we arrived it was Pimm’s and champagne in the gardens. Vonnie mingled and met several people that she knew online from Live Journal while I tried to juggle some drinks, taking photos whilst keeping an eye on the kids. Talking of the kids they enjoyed every second of being outside. They got on great with all the other kids that were there and spent most of the time either running about the grass or climbing on the statue at the far end of the gardens. There was an incident with one of the bride and grooms kids falling asleep under a bush which in turn led to a few comments afterwards about the suitability of the location. My personal opinion? I thought given the weather the location was an inspired choice. The kids loved the place and would probably have preferred playing out there all night if they didn’t have to go inside for dinner and it was perfect for the adults to mingle get to catch up with people before the meal.
The location for the meal and evening reception was great. If you’ve ever watched Love Actually the wedding reception scene at the start was filmed there. Whilst it had been a while since I’d watched that particular film, well 7 months actually as I’m sure it is on every Christmas, and I didn’t recognise it when we were there when I look back at the film it brings back memories of that day now. As the building was an old boathouse and not designed for a hundred of so folk clapping and banging their feet during speeches everyone was given a squeaky rubber duck to squeeze instead. The kids loved them and by the end of the night I think we had about 20 of them stashed in various bags as they kept coming back with more of them and refusing to part with them.
Everyone around our table were great although I’m not sure just what Zara meant when she named it ‘London Zoo’ on the seating plan! Actually I take that back as we had all three kids on our table so I know just fine where it might have came from. After talking for a while we somehow found out that two of the people at our table know Mo from his time in London which was very surreal. The meal came and went and like all wedding meals I enjoyed just a little to much of it and the speeches were great which isn’t the norm for most weddings I’ve been to where I don’t know anyone. We even got a mention in the bride’s speech!
The evening went by in a blur with Vonnie meeting more Livejournal friends and the kids just being great in general. Greer was on top form and loved the attention she was getting. Erica was a star and kept everyone including the other guests amused. Nairn spent most of his evening either at the craft table or dancing with the bride and groom and Findlay spent his evening building a fishing rod from the craft materials that would reach the Thames. He even tried to find some bait at one point.
Unfortunately I had a little to much to drink at one point and thought it would be a great idea to dance with Erica. I believe a Prodigy track came on which we caught the tail end of but Rammstein and The Ramones followed it up and I think we had cleared the floor by the time those tracks finished.
So anyway the end of the night arrived and we decided to head back to the hotel and get some sleep. Unfortunately the Victoria Line was still off so we decided to start walking to Victoria to get the district line back across to the hotel. We got about half way to the tube station when Vonnie decided her new shoes meant she wasn’t walking any further. The only sticking point was that with the bar being free all night and we weer using oyster cards for traveling on the tube we only had £15 on us. We hoped that it would be enough but as with everything in London money disappears fast when it’s being spent. We hailed a Hackney and managed to get the pram into the back of it and got a very friend driver who said he’d do his best to get us as close as he could to our hotel. He actually got us to within 100 yards of the hotel but on the wrong side of the road so he turned down towards Earls Court and dropped us just after the traffic lights. It seemed to be a day of cutting things fine but everything working out in the end.
We’d had a great day and another late night so we just hoped Greer would sleep though and let us prepare for the next few days traveling and camping.