So my brother got married.
This was a bigger weekend than I'd anticipated. The wedding was on Monday 23rd August (I had to book this day off retroactively because I'd foolishly mistaken it for the bank holiday of 30th) but I had to head up early on Saturday morning collecting my sister en route so she could attend the hen party that afternoon. I was late leaving and late picking her up, a fact I attribute to my alarm clock having no 24-hour mode. I'd set it for 7pm instead of 7am. Still, we made up the time and had plenty of time for a nice lengthy discussion of our various continuing life stories during the drive up and it turned out that the desired departure time had had plenty of leeway built into it; we arrived in plenty of time.
Since I was around until Tuesday morning this was an ideal opportunity for continuing the lengthy and incomplete offsite backup. Kicking this off was the first thing I did when I got to the ancestral home. The house was full of foreign bodies and luggage, so I was having to stay elsewhere, not able to hang around to nurse it for the full three days. I was put up by friend P's parents (P was also in attendance). I stayed in a spare room full of books and intead of endeavouring to finish something lengthy I whiled away the time flipping through Asterix books and Giles cartoons. I remember Giles books which my family used to have when I was very young. Far from amusing, I found the overall mood of the cartoons to be incredibly black and crushing. The UK of the cartoons was always wet and untidy, and the Giles family seemed to be constantly beset by a low-level grind of misfortune. Anyway.
The following day was church, which is always a blast. Although they seem to have figured out how to cancel the whine in the speaker system, to my immense relief. There was an epic barbecue lunch at the ancestral home that afternoon, during which my Uncle John cooked. Uncle John is my dad's brother - two others, Mark and David, are both dead now and I have no memory of them. John is always described as being "from Australia" and has the naturalised accent, although he was born and raised in the UK. John, Mark, David and my Dad all share(d) the same facial hair pattern that I myself have inevitably adopted. Gaz hasn't done this yet, although I see it looming quite prominently in his future. His hairline is definitely receding like mine did and our Dad's did, so that inherited follicular pattern is definitely on its way, poor soul. At least he had the foresight to grow it out to a very serious length in his youth when he had the chance. By "in his youth" I mean, of course, up until a year or two ago when he had it cut.
That evening Gaz and his mates and I set out for a nominal stag night, starting at an all-you-can-eat place called Red Hot where I quite definitely had all I could eat but also quite definitely didn't get my money's worth, thanks to the immense barbecue. The concept of this restaurant is that there are basically thirty or so dishes being kept warm and you can pick what you like from them. It's a ridiculous idea because it puts the construction of a plate of food in the hands of the patron rather than the chef, and I, a typical patron, have no idea what I want. I went along the row going "Ooh, that looks nice. I'll have some of that. And that. And that", selecting a small amount of each of my favourite foods. When I got back to the table, what I had on my plate was nonsense. A conflation of delicious foods which simply do not go together. The same thing happened at dessert, I ended up with ice cream and dolly mixtures and cheesecake. The reason eating out costs money is that you pay extra for the chef to know what on Earth he's doing.
After that was a swift half at The Bell, one of what is probably at least four dozen pubs vying for the "oldest in the UK" title, and then my brother-in-law caught up with us and we all went to watch The Expendables, which is a hysterical, preposterous movie. It could have done with being more seriously awesome, and the jokes in the Arnie cameo are funny at first but make no actual sense unless the character in the movie is literally Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was stupid. It was not offensively stupid. It was rollicking good fun. It was good for one watch and it was a good group experience. The laughter was contagious. And Jason Statham is an eminently watchable actor; I'm happy to hand the old 80s action crowns to him. This was a grand experiment and it worked well. More, I'm sure.
Getting home from central Nottingham after 11pm on a Sunday basically works out to (1) a taxi or (2) walk. I'd spent time that afternoon looking up night buses only to realise that they ran on Fridays and Saturdays only.
The ceremony on Monday took place at a really nice stately home on a really enormous set of gardens which unfortunately spent most of the day getting rained on. The ceremony itself was non-denominational, enjoyable and charmingly brief, and then we all got to go and lounge around drinking Pimm's and having photographs taken. My aunt and uncle are, in addition to being wonderful people, highly qualified, highly recommended wedding photographers. The home is a beautiful place which must require a colossal amount of upkeep; it was full of books and trinkets and antique furniture all of which look wonderful for one afternoon's casual relaxed post-wedding chatter but surely complicate one's life massively. Just imagine the dusting! My newly-acquired in-law, Aasia, looked gorgeous of course. She wore red. I remarked to my other in-law, James, that being an in-law doesn't seem to be a transitive property - James and Aasia have no well-named relationship at all, sadly, beyond possibly "siblings-in-law-in-law".
After that we all trooped up to a nearby golf course where we ate and drank and danced and cut cake and watched more rain fall. When I say "we" I mean that yes, I did indeed dance. For a moment. This is something I do only on specially drunk occasions. It's on camera, God help me. If I ever get married, I intend to set enough of a lead time to at least learn some basic ballroom steps beforehand.
I don't own anything approaching a good camera so naturally I only have a few presentable pictures. I had some good pics of Gaz and Aasia but unfortunately they were too blurry to be worth showing, mainly due to a poor shutter speed.