As a bit of a change, we decided to have Christmas dinner in Lizzie. We had, as you saw a few weeks ago, decorated her outside, giving Jean-Marc the benefit of our flashing lights up until about 11:30pm every day. For Christmas dinner she was decked out with some lights of her own and some silver bells, plus a little tree and Santa on the window:
The table had to be prepared to a standard, and we were delighted with the result. Adding a small fan heater and playing our iPod through a speaker system into the back of the camper all worked together to provide a feel not unlike being in a secluded alcove in an up-market restaurant (minus waiters, plus dogs):
It was all rather special – the food was good, too, as was the wine.
On Friday, we made our way to Paris, where we overnighted with Tania and Romain before travelling, with Tania, by train to Plymouth by way of London. The trip from Paris to London by Eurostar was very pleasant. We had bought Standard Premium tickets which, although more expensive than the Standard, gave us wider and more comfortable seats, in addition to which we were given a rather pleasant continental breakfast. The trip from London to Plymouth was only slightly less pleasant, although we did have reserved seating in a quiet carriage which, until a group of youths boarded at Exeter, was quiet and relaxing. It was, however, long and boring, as is the nature of rail travel.
On arrival in Plymouth we went to book in at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel, where everything was pretty much as we were hoping and was very comfortable. We met up with Miranda and others in the bar, where we enjoyed a plate of traditional fish and chips – not something we can find too readily in our part of the sticks.
The next day was the wedding, which was set to take place to 2pm in the chapel at the Royal Citadel in Plymouth. We got up early enough to take advantage of the full English breakfast that was available, and that had been paid for in the room rate. This celebration of cholesterol cost me very little short of one thousand calories but it was, as a rare treat, worth every one of them. We then went out to get me a haircut and to do some window shopping. That was the intention, anyway; then we found out that Primark had a sale on! I now have a couple of pairs of new jeans that were not only silly cheap, but that boast a 36″ waist. I cannot remember when I last wore 36″ waisted trousers.
The wedding was superlative. Miranda and John had insisted on doing everything in as traditional a way as they could. John had no idea what Miranda’s dress was like – he didn’t even know its colour; and Miranda had never seen the dress uniform that John wore. Miranda, of course, looked stunning, and this was our second family wedding in as many months where the groom was in dress uniform. Although I have no connection with the military, I do believe there is something very special about a groom in dress uniform.
The ceremony was very well done and quite moving, particularly for the bride’s dad. Unusually, because it was still the Christmas season, one of the hymns was a carol; not something one normally sings at weddings.
Here they are, after the ceremony, with the piper they had arranged.
As you can see, John is quite tall in a way that Miranda clearly isn’t. As Tania said on facebook, “My sister has married a giant”.
Although it was a trifle cool, with a fresh breeze, the weather was dry, so the photographs were done outside. Of course, I have loads, but here is just one to give a flavour:
The reception was held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel and went exceptionally well.
Bright and early next morning, New Year’s Eve, we were back on the train to London. Having spent the latter part of the downward journey in darkness, we had not appreciated the extent of flooding that we saw on the return journey. We had, of course, seen what was broadcast on the UK national news, but that is very different to seeing it up close. The Eurostar trip to Paris was again very good, with dinner and wine provided. On reaching Paris, Romain picked us up from the Gare du Nord and took us back to their home where, after too brief a visit, we jumped into our car for the drive back. Julie was looking after our dogs for us, and we wanted her to be able to see in the new year with her family so, as soon as we had cleared Paris, we called her and said she could go home whenever she wanted. We knew the dogs would see us in three hours, which wouldn’t be a problem for them. Our timings suggested that we should arrive home just a few minutes before midnight, but hadn’t allowed for the time we would need for a petrol stop on the way. When we went through our front door, 2013 was exactly two minutes old!
I weighed myself when we got back – I had put on 2 Kg. Not too bad, I suppose, given the big breakfasts, the wedding breakfast itself and two Eurostar meals plus nibbles. As of yesterday, 5th January, one and a half of those two kilogrammes had gone.
For the past couple of years, we have seen in the new year chez nous with a small group of friends. Obviously, we couldn’t do that this year, so we had our gathering last evening. It was quite a cozy affair, with Rob and Julie, Terry and Liz and we two sat around the table devouring Julie’s soup and bread, Liz’s chilli con carne and Clare’s home made ice cream with home made butterscotch sauce. I did offer my home made very low fat organic yoghurt around, but there were no takers. Never mind, more for me.
Because of the way the evening panned out, there are no images of the laden tables, but this is what it looked like before the food arrived.
A happy new year to both my readers.