Monday, August 22, 2011


'The Bride and Groom'.

That was the call. Our cue. Infront of us in the main room 70+ guests seated waiting for us to walk in and take our seats at the top table. I was gushing. Big smile but also somewhat bashful. I mean, what are all these people doing? It seemed strange but thoroughly humbling at the same time. We took our seats and then proceeded to another bit that I was worried about. The speeches. I was on 2nd after my Father-in-law.

He was excellent. I don't think he's ever given a speech in his life. He's never needed to. I knew that the missus was worried about this part. Not only because he had to give a speech but because she didn't know if she could stop herself from crying. He did a brilliant job. A bit of humor, of bit of seriousness and definitely a lot of pride in his daughter which had largely gone unsaid over the years. He was nice to me as well!

Next up, me. I've never been good at giving off the cuff speeches. I get confused and kind of just speak to fill in the space. I had it all written up though. Two pages. Some of it memorised, most not. I ended up kind of reading it. Perhaps not ideal but needs must. I had what I wanted to say so I said it to be best of my ability. I'm sure it was filmed. I don't really need to see that played back. I'll remember it 'as is'. I hope it was OK. It's hard to say. I could say that it went 'O.K'. It did and for that I should be thankful. I did what I could.

The Best Man was after me. Seven pages. That was the number he had. My god. I've not had that exciting a life. He was nervous though. 'Bricking it' was the phrase used. I'm surprised. I can't really recall specifics but I do recall it being sincere and dare I say it, quite heartfelt, more so than I was expecting and that was touching. I think we tend to go through life without really saying 'you know what, you're alright' or words to that effect. I guess that was the time - and when I was his best man - that we finally got round to saying that. He did brilliantly and I'll leave it at that.

My dad then did a short poem - the Selkirk Grace. Again, he was in much the same boat as my Father-in-Law. Never needed to give a speech before. It was short and that was all it needed to be. Then it was dinner. Thankfully. A buffet which we thought better suited everyone. People could get what they wanted and in any quantity they liked. Eat drink and be merry was essentially what we wanted our guests to be throughout the day. We didn't want people to go hungry or not well watered. That's a sign of a bad wedding. I hope it worked. I thought it did.

That was essentially it for the afternoon part. It was and still is a blur. It flew by. The photos did it justice and just to see so many people in their finest, fantastic. Bright, colourful and full of life. How an afternoon wedding should be.

The evening was to follow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


It's been very difficult to get the time to write. It's now a month after the 'event' and I'm just getting to the post-ceremony. My memories haven't faded. I think.

After the ceremony, we walked back down the aisle. I was mostly concentrating on not stepping on the new missus' dress. It was a beautiful dress, absolutely beautiful. I didn't want to get my show prints on it nor did I want to slip or embarrass myself or her. How bad would that have been. Thankfully, we smiled and got the the end of the aisle safely. I imagine people were taking photos at this point but I wasn't aware of much. We then proceeded over to the courtyard for drinks. It was kind of weird because I looked back over to where everyone was sitting and everyone was just kind of dawdling. I'm not sure they knew what to do. But, I got a quick drink. I say and 'drink' but it was more like a glass. I don't recall drinking it. Just holding it.

People started to filter towards us and that was lovely. People just coming over to say hello and stuff. In fact, people - mostly the kids - started throwing confetti! It wasn't rice or paper, it was dried roses that we had bought in the Dubai spice souk. A little different. The sun was certainly out by this stage and it was just fantastic. Who could have predicted that?

Photos were up next. It's a hard process. I'm definitely not the most natural in photos. All that smiling. I think I look stupid. I feel it at the best of times. Not only that but my eyes close. With flashes. Without flashes. I don't know how or why. It just happens. It happens too often for it to be bad luck. How can I blink so consistently at the moment a photo is taken. I don't know. I try not too look directly into the lens. I've tried. The same thing happens. Thankfully, having now seen a lot of photos, I'm not too bad. There are others who are in the same boat. But, it's a wedding. That is what happens. After the group photos, the missus and myself went up into the gardens with the photographer to get some of us. Beautiful background. Beautiful weather. Beautiful bride. And me!

Towards late afternoon, the drinks - Innis and Gunn, Pimms and something else - along with scones and jam were all done. The bar was open in the Marquee so people headed there. I hope our guests had a bit of a 'whoa' when they entered the Marquee. I did but then I'm biased. The Marquee looked stunning. I can't really take any credit for it. I did suggest a candy table. But other than that, I can only offer my highest praises and thanks to those who made it as it was. They know who they are. As people headed over, the sky darkened. By the time we all moved over to the Marquee it got decidedly cloudy. By which time, I don't think anyone cared. I didn't. To have 3 or 4 hours of sunshine in perhaps one of the wettest summers in year was nothing short of a miracle. Someone or something played it's part there. That's the word on the street. I'd like to think so but...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The Final journey...yes, a taxi ride from Crieff to Fingask Castle. A journey of 40 minutes. I was concerned about this but I needn't have been. The drive was fine and there was some banter between me, the driver, the ushers and the best man. It was fine.

When we got to the venue itself, there were a couple of people there already, the singer and the piper being the most important. The plan was for the piper to pipe the Missus in to the ceremony and then both of us out at the end. The singer meanwhile was on had to, well, sing when we were signing the book. For me though, it was a case of trying to pin plaid on. Not an easy task. Basically, this is a tartan fabric which is pinned to your left shoulder. The rest of the fabric flows over your shoulder. I'd never worn one before so it wasn't easy to put on. In the end, safety pins were used!

I had a list of small jobs to be done before everyone got there, mostly involving the marque and getting aspects of that ready.

In the haste, it was decided that the wedding ceremony would be outside. A minor miracle to be honest given the rain of the previous day. Outdoors. In Scotland. Bloody hell.

The photographer took me and the wedding party away to get some photos together. It was a nice touch and certainly eased the tension although that tension certainly rose when a big bus pulled up with most of the day guests. It was really happening. They all piled off and everyone seemed to have a bit of a look around and took photos. Some even came over to speak to me! It was kind of funny because everyone was milling around the front of the castle, next to where the ceremony was going to be when suddenly one of the cars pulled up. It was the Missus' mum and bridesmaid. It was getting closer. Then some minutes later, The Missus' car appeared. And no one was sitting or anything. Mild panic ensued with the Ushers ushering people to their seat. It was about this time that I have recollections of the sun popping out. It wasn't exactly bright, bright sunshine but the place definitely brightened up. I don't know how or why but it did.

Word had got out that the Missus was out the car and ready. I was at the front with my best man to my right. Infront of me was the Registrar and behind her were 2 bay trees and the all important signing table. Further infront of me was the gardens and below me in the distance was the River Tay. Quite some setting. I had said that wasn't going to look around when she came up the aisle. I wanted to see her when she was beside me and I stuck to that. The flower girl came up and past me and with that, I knew it was almost time. There was music playing but to be honest, I was really aware of it. Then, out of the corner of me eye, she was there. No real words can fully do justice to that first moment when you see someone look like that. Beautiful, stunning, gorgeous are but 3 wordsyet only tell a small part of the story. She had told me before hand that she would likely be in tears - of joy, I think! - as she walked up the aisle. I can report that she wasn't and for that, I was thankful. Had she have been, so would I have been.

It's a totally weird thing. All I was really aware of was her, and the registrar. Everyone else was there but behind us somewhere. For all I knew they could have been a million miles away.

Friday, August 19, 2011


So much happened on this day. I'll have to break it into chunks otherwise I'll be here all day and you don't want that.

I was awake by about 7 but really wanted to sleep longer. I didn't in the end but kind of just stayed in bed. The sun was shining but not brightly. Any sighting of the sun was a bonus to be honest.

I finally got up just before 9. It was time for breakfast. I didn't really feel like eating but needs must. If I didn't eat, I wouldn't eat again until 5ish. I dressed and went downstairs. Oh, did I mention that I was in a nice hotel in Crieff? Probably not. My side of the family were all staying there. Most of my family were already up and at breakfast. It was then that I started to get worried. I wanted to eat but I had the sudden feeling that I couldn't. Tea and cornflakes were about all I could stomach. And orange juice. The others seemed relatively relaxed. My Dad however was nowhere to be seen. 'Ill' was the word on the street. On a day like this!

After breakfast, I went up to my room with a couple of apples to tide me over. It was then that I actually started to feel excited. It was weird. I hadn't expected that at all. I got my laptop out and put some music on. Then I got my kilt out and laid everything out. It was bizarre. A strange calm. It was still about 90 minutes before it was time to go and I really didn't know what to do. Finally, I just got up and showered and took my time to get dressed. Anyone who has worn a kilt will know how long it takes. There are so many bits to it. I did that and when I was nearly down, I got a call from my Best Man. He and his family had arrived at the hotel. He came up and got ourselves organised. He even brought Percy Pigs! My Dad came up as well to check on me.

We were due to get picked up at 12. By 11.45, I was ready. I went downstairs to reception and loads of people were there. It was odd. Good to see some familiar faces. In the end, I was ready and I ended up waiting for the others. We had a taxi ready to take us to the venue - some 40 minute drive. In the car was me, my brothers and the Best Man. We also had flowers for the mum's and the flowers for our pockets.

The 'final' journey had started.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I'm a bit late in writing about this day. In fact, this all happened 2 weeks ago but given the magnitude of it I really want to get it all down in writing before I forget any of it. I think I'll try to recap on the events in stages...

The event, a certain wedding to a certain young lady. Yes, pretty big!

The big day was set for Friday 19th August at a place called Fingask Castle. It's an isolated castle halfway between Perth and Dundee. It's nestled in the hills, hidden from view with a bumpy single track up to it. You don't know you are at it until you are literally at the front door. It has lush gardens and is very green. The plan was to get married outside in the grounds, then have drinks in the courtyard next to the castle. Then later, down to the marque for the speeches, dinner, handfasting, cake cutting, first dance and dancing and drinking.

Today though was the day in which we had to get to the venue and get the marque decorated. The plan was to go early and get it all done leaving us with the afternoon to get ourselves set. It took 3 cars to take everything. Table runners, sweeties, table settings, napkins, hurricane lamps, garden games, the cake itself. Tons of stuff.

When we arrived, the tables were already set up how they would be on the day. A top table for 6, then a further load of tables sitting between 7 and 8 people. The marque looked big especially with the tables set out like they were.

It took a good few hours to get everything sorted out and looking good. I loved it. The teal colour scheme looked amazing. The outer part of the marque looked great particularly the candy stall table full of all those little sweets you used to have when you were young. The picture board with the names of where everyone was sitting looked stunning. It really was awe inspiring. One thing was missing however. The seat covers. They hadn't arrived. A minor panic. We had to come back in the afternoon though to fit them.

My folks and I went back in the afternoon. We waited. And waited. They had said they would arrive between 2 and 3. They didn't. They arrived closer to 4pm. During this time, it was totally pouring with rain. It was seriously heavy. The dream of getting married outside was diminishing by the minute. So much so, I had convinced myself that we wouldn't. I digress. It took a while to get the seat covers on but when they were on, the place looked absolutely fantastic. They made such a difference to the marque. The cake was also in place. I've never seen a cake like it. It was not traditional. It was not white. It didn't have 2 'people' placed on the top. It was multi coloured. It had 5 tiers. It had jewellery. It had ribbon. It was by far the best cake I'd ever seen. I might be biased, but...

Finally, we were done.

Later that evening, we met with the wedding party. Essentially, these were the people who were doing readings, the ushers and bridesmaids. This was to go over what was happening. Everyone seemed relatively relaxed and jovial. A surprise given what was to come!

I was stressed and had definitely felt better. I was great to get the venue decorated. It really hit home that 'this' was really happening. I couldn't believe how it looked. I knew the colour scheme and how it was going to look but I had only seen the components and not everything together. The missus did that. All of it. I can't give her enough plaudits for the time spend and the inspiration behind it all. Truly amazing. I think seeing everyone in Crieff also added to the realisation that it was happening. I was scared by the end of the night and that was after a beer in the hotel before bed.

Finally, I got to bed before midnight. I wasn't worried about getting to sleep as I also sleep. I was concerned about the future missus as she was incredibly stressed. I wasn't sure if she'd sleep. Hell, I was just worried about her in general!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I was meant to be meeting this bloke yesterday. The back story being that his department had a number of vacancies coming up and he wanted to promote internally. So far, so good. Part of the promotion process involves passing English, hence my role in it all. He wanted to meet to discuss the way forward. Again, so far so good. I got back to him and arranged a met up for yesterday, early afternoon. Two hours before he called me to say he couldn't make it. These things happen. We then arranged to meet today at 2.30pm.

At 2.15pm I went over to the place where we were due to meet. I got there a couple of minutes early. 2.35pm came and went. 2.40pm came and went. I did wonder if I had not understood what he had said the previous day. At 2.45pm I thought, 'to hell with this'. At 2.50pm I called him up and to ask him what the story was. He didn't answer.

Cue my retreat back to my office, not overly impressed.

At 3.10pm I got a text message which read:

' apologies had to rush to the clinic due to sudden bleeding from my left eye, just waiting for blood pressure and blood sugar report...'

Of course, that could be totally on the level and it might have been the case. I mean, sudden bleeding is common, right? It happens to everyone. The cynic in me tells me otherwise. I'm no doctor but can an eye suddenly start bleeding? I have my doubts.

Clearly, I hope he's OK. Kind of. But what a waste of time. I'm going on holiday tomorrow so if he wanted to meet urgently then tough. It'll have to wait a couple of weeks. He had his chance and he blew it. Next.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Being Ramadan, it seems that Iftar is very important. It's that time when the sun goes down and everyone can eat once again. Of course, I use the word 'eat' loosely. Gorge oneself might be a better description of it. Restaurants have this covered offering some pretty enticing offers. Buffets are all the rage at sundown.

Last night we headed over to the local Park Hyatt hotel on the Creek and headed straight for Cafe Arabesque.


As the name suggests, it's Arabic! 
It's a very plush entrance, minimal but certainly Arabic. All candles and lanterns. I liked it. The Cafe itself was very busy when we arrived with diners already at the buffet tucking in to a wide range of 'stuff'. We made our way to our table and then joined them. The cold, salad dishes on offer were fantastic. II really didn't know were to start to be honest. And what is worse, I couldn't really tell you what they were called. Shame on me. There were a lot of olives, feta cheese, mezzi, arabic bread. I took a bit of almost everything. All washed down by fruit juice.

It wasn't all plain sailing though. My better half fancied a drink of water from her glass. Nothing unusual in that. What happened next was unusual. The bottom of the glass came away from the bloody rest of the glass, sending water all over her lap. Somehow she managed to catch the glass and in doing so cut her fingers. I was talking and the time and I really wasn't sure what the heck was going on. It all happened so fast. Needless to say, my better half was not at all happy. Neither would I have been. The head waiter came over and the best he could do was 'we'll move you to another table'. Eh, hello, the glass has essentially smashed and your customer is sitting, wet! I really don't think that was the best response especially given the glass literally fell apart. Thankfully it wasn't the iced tea that she had in another glass. We moved tables but the damage was done.

We tried to get our main and dessert courses. They were fine but the excitement of going to the Park Hyatt had been lost, sadly. Perhaps another time. If that's the case, I'll be bringing my own glasses. Just in case. 

I'd like to say it was but the glass incident really didn't ensure a wonderful time was had. It had potential.