The bells rang out for a family wedding so we brushed down our mothballed suits and headed across country to Hertfordshire, one of the well-manicured counties ringing London. We dropped off our man bags at the Old Bull in tidy Royston, jumped in a cab and were chauffeured at alarming speed along twisting lanes (our driver was Turkish) to the little hamlet of Shingay cum Wendy. Apparently there are quite a few cums in Hertfordshire.
The matrimonial venue was South Farm, a working farm with a sumptuous events venue attached (or the other way round – I couldn’t quite tell). Either way, it was picture-perfect handsome, a riot of iridescent green and precision planting that wouldn’t look out of place at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The pigs and chickens shared a well-groomed paddock and they made for an amusing distraction as we sipped the free-flowing fizz. Being a devoted townie, it’s the closest I’ll ever get to rural life.
I didn’t take any snaps of the ceremony, I left that to the official paparazzi, but I can report that the I Do’s were suitably solemn and intimate. The bride, our niece, was as pretty as a picture and clearly head over her white heels. Young love restores my faith in humanity.
It wasn’t exactly flaming June but the sun did pop out for a while, just in time for the photo call. Mother Nature managed to hold her temper until the reception before adding a surreal snap, crackle and pop to the bonhomie in the newly-restored Tudor Barn. Cocks crowed during the speeches and the bride blushed as the groom gushed. Liam and I were placed on the uncles’ and aunties’ table next to the bar. Clearly, our reputation had preceded us.
There were more PhDs in the room than at a Nobel prize-giving and when the party kicked off, classic rock was their soundtrack of choice. By 10:30 pm, sated and two sheets to the wind, we bid our farewells and left the trendy young brains to pogo the night away to Bowie, Oasis and the Boss. Oh, to be in my twenties again – perfect figure, perfect skin, perfect liver. And staying power.