There was an important wedding at the end of April. Indeed, it was the primary reason for our being in the UK rather than Cyprus at this time of year.
And no, I'm not referring to the wedding in London on the 29th, but the one in Carlisle on the 30th, when we gained a wonderful daughter-in-law.
Rather than post directly about Daniel and Becky's wedding, however, I'll begin with a brief round-up of the preceding week.
We drove up to Carlisle on Easter Monday. It's about a four hour journey, and the motorways were pretty clear. We stopped for lunch on the way, at a service station, and arrived mid-afternoon. Becky and her family were out so we went to the house where Daniel has been living, guided by the pseudo-satnav application Richard has on his iPhone, with a voice called 'Kate'.
It was the first time in almost exactly a year that the four of us had been together. Unsurprisingly, within half an hour or so, computers appeared... mainly because the rest of the family wanted to sort out whether or not it would be possible to stream the wedding to various family and friends around the world who were not able to attend. Here we are, all four...
Daniel had far too much on his mind to think much about food, so we bought an (excellent) Indian takeaway meal which we enjoyed. Daniel's housemate Euan and his friend Bridget were around, so we thought it would be a good opportunity for a six-person Settlers game:
I was quite tired, and it wasn't until we'd been playing for a while that I realised why this set seemed SO familiar to me. It's a German one, identical to (though a little older than) that of our friends in Cyprus. There were a few bits missing - this set travelled around the world on the MV Doulos, and has had more than one owner - but nothing that caused any problem.
Tim was staying with Daniel and Euan, sleeping on the sofa in their front room; Richard and I stayed for the week with some other colleagues of theirs, a lovely couple with three teenage daughters who made us feel very at home.
On Tuesday morning we went into the town - I managed to find a blue 'shrug' thing that would go well with the skirt I'd found, but no luck at all with shoes. Richard and Daniel hung out in a rather nice coffee shop. We also went to see the community centre which was booked for the wedding reception, and talked to the manager about 'corkage fees' and what the bar staff would do. Oh, and we had a brief foray into Daniel's office too.
In the afternoon, we drove thirty miles or so to Keswick, a town which I had only previously heard of in conjunction with a Christian convention that some of our friends and acquaintances go to.
The reason we went there was that Becky and her family had arranged to go there for the afternoon; her brother and his Canadian wife had just arrived in Carlisle with their ten-month-old daughter, and Becky wanted to show them something of the area.
Keswick turned out to be a lovely town by a lake, with plenty of places to walk.
It was a little chilly, being quite cloudy, but it was good to meet our new potential in-laws.
On the way home we stopped at Tesco to buy some food, and - ironically - I managed to find some suitable shoes for the wedding which Richard liked very much! We also started talking more about wine for the wedding... the reception hall has a bar, but we wanted to greet guests with a drink (wine or juice) and also have a choice of sparkling wine or Shloer for the toasts. Since we knew that local people would be buying wine in large quantities for parties on the 29th (while watching the other wedding) Richard suggested going back to Tesco's with Daniel that evening, so they could actually buy what was needed. Tesco had some special offers on... so that's what they did. Tim, Euan, Bridget and I played another game of Settlers meanwhile.
Wednesday morning was taken up with technical details - trying to work out how to get the streaming to work. Wires borrowed from the office, discussions with the church staff, trying to figure out if it was possible... eventually deciding that the best option was to use Richard's phone (the technical details are beyond me). In the afternoon Richard and Tim continued with this while I took Daniel into Carlisle to buy him a posh shirt for the wedding, and also some walking shoes.
In the evening was the wedding rehearsal, where Tim and Richard managed to get the streaming to work, tested by our friends in Cyprus. The Vicar was very helpful, and all seemed to go well:
After the rehearsal, we went out to eat with Becky and her family at a local Indian restaurant.
Thursday was mostly taken up with proof-reading, formatting and eventually printing the service sheet. Amazing how complex it was, but the result was very effective. In the afternoon, Tim went to help the caterer collect crockery and cutlery.
In the evening Daniel, Tim and Euan went out to eat with a few other (male) friends - the nearest they got to a stag night. Meanwhile, we went to the reception venue to meet Becky, her mum, and Bridget, to make the tables look pretty with runners, napkins, cutlery, tea-lights and tiny vials of bubble mixture:
We also took all the drinks to be stored, temporarily, in the venue's cellar, and Richard talked some more with the staff about how it would be served.
We didn't have anything much planned for Friday. We hung out with Daniel and Tim in the morning, and he started packing his things since Euan will move them to the house Becky has been living in, to start their married life when they get back from honeymoon. After lunch we went into the town again, as Daniel wanted to spend some time with Becky and we enjoyed wandering round Carlisle's quite amazing second-hand bookshop. Tim went to meet his girlfriend Jo at the station, then in the evening cooked us a meal for the last evening before Daniel became a married man.