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An English Wedding!

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Thursday, June 21 - Wednesday, June 27Click here for an enlargement

On Thursday morning we caught a ride, with with our friend Click here for an enlargementBryan, to Bristol, where he works, to catch a bus to Axminster, to attend the wedding of Jeanie's college friend, Edward Schiro.  The bus driver went out of her route to get us as close as possible to WeycroftClick here for an enlargement Hall, the site of the wedding reception and the lodgings for about 25 wedding guests.  We walked the final mile Click here for an enlargementto the hall with our luggage along a narrow & busy road, but once there we were able to really enjoy ourselves.  We met Ed's fiancee, a beautiful woman named JoAnn Symington, and we pitched in to decorate the hall forClick here for an enlargement the reception of 125 wedding guests!  The hall itself was built in 1641, though they can trace the ownership of the land all the way back to the year 50, under Click here for an enlargementRoman occupation.  There weren't many guests arriving before Friday, just ourselves and Ana Nunes, whose husband Micah was out with Ed & the otherClick here for an enlargement groomsmen.  We spent the evening with Ana, touring the town, shopping for dinner, and enjoying a pint at the click here for enlargementSt. George Pub.  When we finally returned to Weycroft Hall, we took advantage of its large commercial kitchen, and dined at sunset in their lovely manor gardens!  It was a wonderful day, and Ana was able to get a ride back to her hotel with the only other guests to arrive on Thursday, Hannah & Carey from London.  

Click here for an enlargementAfter a good night's sleep, we had a light B&B-style breakfast in the main hall, went walking along the many public footpaths through fields & pastures (with photogenic horses!), and then played frisbee on the lawn and met other guestsClick here for an enlargement as they arrived from around the world, as far away as Taiwan, Australia, and every corner of the US & Europe.  At noon we caught a ride to the Tytherleigh Arms Pub for a lavish lunchclick here for an enlargement hosted by Ed's folks, Joe & Eleanor.  Several wonderful hours passed as we ate and enjoyed good fellowship, seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  The fun continued after we returned to Weycroft Hall, where the guests from England continued to arrive, and we enjoyed Brittish ales Click here for an enlargementand fish & chips, and met interesting people and got caught up on some good stories. 

The day of the wedding dawned quietly with occasional rain showers.  We all dressed up and assembled at Weycroft for the busses to drive us over to the 13th Click here for an enlargementcentury Parish Church of St. John Baptist in Membury,Click here for an enlargement the town in Devon where the bride's parents live.  We were chauffeured in style with these three restored 1930's-era British coaches.  In many areas along the country roads on our way to Membury, the busses brushed both sides of the narrow, leafy 10-feet-tall hedgerows.        

Click here for an enlargementThe wedding itself was wonderful, and full of love.  The groom, bride & their Click here for an enlargementparents each held white calla lilies, which they presented to the maid-of-honor, and she then wove the stems together to create the bride's bouquet.  The ceremony was simple, heartwarming, andClick here for an enlargement enchanting.  After the ceremony the wedding party was chauffeured to Weycroft Hall in four beautiful classic cars, while Click here for an enlargementwe returned via bus for the reception and dinner under a large tent (which the Brits call a "marquee"), good food and wine served by professional caterers.  Ed's 11-year-old nephew David played the grand piano with confidence & flair before dinner, andclick here for an enlargement we were seated next to a couple from England who run a thriving business setting up trips for Brits Click here for an enlargementwho want to be cowboys at American dude-ranges throughout the western states!  As the afternoon flowed into evening, the music began, and Ed & Jo waltzed the first dance, to Louis Armstrong singing  "Tomato, Tomahto, Potato, Potahto,Click here for an enlargement Let's call the whole thing off"!  After dessert, cheeses (cheddar from the town of Click here for an enlargementCheddar, and a blue cheese called "stilton")& fresh fruit, and coffee, we talked with Ed and conveyed our wishes for his happiness and marital bliss.  After more dancing, all the guests made their way to the driveway, and waved sparklers in the midnight sky as Jo & Ed climbed into the shiny classic cars andclick here for an enlargement waved goodbye.  Back inside, the music & dancing continued as guests finally click here for an enlargementbegan to wind down from the day's events. 

On Sunday morning we were down for breakfast & chatting with our neighbors when Hannah Bence, one of the bridesmaids &click here for an enlargement coworker of Jo, asked us about our future travels.  We explained that we were headed to Windsor on Tuesday, but had click here for an enlargementno immediate plans.  As she and Carey were headed home, they offered to give us a ride to London, and a place to stay in their spare room.  Considering the 2-to-1 current exchange rate, and the price of lodging in London, we had not planned on splurging on London, so this offer was not only an answer to ourclick here for an enlargement prayers, but a pleasant surprise as well.  Thank You, Lord!!  We made a few stops on our way to London, first to Jo's parents' house in Devon(the one with the American flag flyingclick here for an enlargement next to the Union Jack, and the beautiful gardens), where Ed & Jo shared their wedding cake and gave gifts to their bridesmaids, and then to Stonehenge . . . just to say we had seenclick here for an enlargement it!  The next two days were delightful, as Hannah & "chef Carey" did a great job of hosting us,  giving us tips on getting around London, even letting us use click here for an enlargementtheir maps and tour books, and seeing us off at the Forest Hill train station on Tuesday morning.  Our day in London was wet and windy, but we had aclick here for an enlargement good walk along the south bank of the River Thames, from the London Tower Bridge, past the Millennium Bridge, across the Westminster Bridge, up to 221B click here for enlargementBaker Street (legendary home of Sherlock Holmes), and back south to click here for an enlargementTrafalgar Square, the National Gallery Museum, and our train ride back to Hannah's place in Forest Hill. 

It was a very full and rejuvenating week, and we savored every click here for an enlargementmoment of it.  The airports in England may be lousy, but the people we met are just wonderful, and we will remember our time with them very fondly. - Robert & Jeanie


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