Finally, here’s the main reason why I was even in Europe – to attend my wonderful friend Val’s beautiful wedding to her equally wonderful Sam^^
Our journey there was a disaster of epic proportions, but it was all worth it once we settled down into our insanely comfortable and cosy beds in our little bed and breakfast with rich tea biscuits and a hot cup of tea, to fall asleep drowsily and wake up the next morning to see the glowing bride and groom say their vows.
First mistake we made was to book a bus to Derby and not take the train. I’d hoped to be able to enjoy a bit of the country side on the way to Derby, but as it turns out, we spent the whole bus journey sleeping, because our Eurostar ride was so terrible.
We checked in an hour and a half in advance for our train, but only just made it (literally minutes before the train left the station) because some people were holding up immigration. It was excrutiating – missing the train would mean not even making it to Derby in time for the wedding.
Anyway, back to the bus. Two hours into a journey where we were shivering non stop (London was pouring and a freezing 10 degrees but we’d dressed for a more generous 17 degrees), our bus broke down. Right in the middle of no-freaking-where. And Bunny A was so stoned all she could do was to sit down and ask me what we were going to do next.
Being resourceful and all that jazz (I flatter myself), I summoned a taxi from Derby to whatever godforsaken dark dingy street we were on, and twenty minutes later, we were chatting to a nice taxi driver in a WARM and COMFORTABLE cab. Even that was slightly harrowing, because there were no lights to guide our way and at any moment I felt like we would drive over a precipice and fall to our deaths. At one point, both the taxi driver and I saw a scarecrow sitting in a raised platform and both freaked out simultaneously then promptly collapsed into laughter. Its funny how nutty jangled nerves can make you.
We finally reached Derby after a gruelling 14 hour journey from Paris, and I nearly cried when I saw Siying coming down the stairs to let us in. The room was vintage, very quaint and pretty, and most importantly, had a huge, soft bed and thick blankets, fluffy towels, hot water, and hot chocolate.
We slept gorgeously that night, and the next morning, our full home-cooked English breakfast was spent telling Siying and Francis all about our adventures. It was impossibly cosy and warm in that little kitchen nook, sitting around in my pyjamas and just eating buttered toast and chatting. One of the truly blissed out moments of our vacation.
Then it was time to get ready !
The weather, though chilly and slightly drizzly, was bright and sparkly!
It felt a lot more like spring than summer, and we were certainly dressed like it ! ^^ all pastels, flowing chiffon, and florals.
The Church, All Saints, was a very interesting, and very traditional little church that was more the size of a large chapel, with pretty stained glass windows and an ornate altar.
Waited in excitement for Vals’ arrival ! Sam’s groom’s boutonniere were Vanda Miss Joaquims to reflect Val’s heritage, in a very thoughtful little touch.
Unfortunately, once the mass started we weren’t allowed to take any photographs
It was such a sweet, small, close ceremony, and oh, the hats ! The colours ! Turquoise and magentas and butterscotch yellows. The English must have very strong countenances – some of them were wearing shift dresses in a peacock of different colours and bare-calfed in the chill !
Predictably, I cried during the mass. There’s just something so incredibly touching about watching someone you love get married to the man of her dreams. And although I’ve spent limited time with Sam, the little time I did showed me how he was the perfect life partner for Val – always attentive, always concerned, always poking fun and trying to annoy her (and both succeeding and failing in equal parts) – they are just adorable together.
I’m sure he will take wonderful care of her and the many, many children they are going to have ^^
Post mass, we adjourned to the nearby Hassop Hall for Pimms and hors d’oeuvres !
And yes, that’s Val and Sam’s horse carriage, complete with pretty white horse, liveried groom, and pretty corsages – just like the perfect English countryside wedding !
Hassop Hall was equally pretty inside – the flower arrangements blushing with colour, the chandeliers casting a lovely warm light as people milled around and laughed and joked.
Enjoying my Pimms with Siying
I can’t even say how happy I was to see Eunice and Siying ! It felt surreal meeting them in Derby but all the camaraderie and affection and laughter just came flooding back !
Incidentally, I was also overjoyed at finally getting to gulp down as much Pimms as I wanted. Its nearly impossible to buy it here in SG and in the summer heat there’s often nothing as refreshing as a ice cold Pimms topped with chopped fruit, mint, and cucumber!
A point of pride – I love my flower head band – made it myself specially to wear for V’s wedding !
A lot of the laughing and joking and warming up (for us) had to do with us positioning ourselves in front of a lifesaver.
Yes thats all of us huddled around the fireplace, the guys in their upholstered uprights and us in the most comfy couch ever. In between, we stopped to hijack the hapless “pastry woman” (as we named her) and greedily stuff our faces with chips and scrummy little nibbles.
Then it was just chatting, even more catching up, and so much (maybe too much on my part) reminiscing, and before we knew it, it was time for dinner !
Our super duper cute elephant place cards !
The ballroom was pretty personified. White and pale blue, with hanging chandeliers, old paintings, honestly, it was just like a fairy tale.
The only thing that would have made it perfect (for me), would be if my own Mr Teo had been there. I just love attending weddings with him – each time he squeezes my hand and we re-live our own tumultous (but ultimately insanely happy) marriage.
“Couples” for the night (Bunny A, you know I love you second anyway)
Ok so I’ve really been piling on the sap this entry, but I WAS SO HAPPY to see SY with Francis and Eunice with John. Za, I really wished you and H could have been here with us – can you girls believe how far we have come since those carefree (but so, so angsty) days we spent just lying around at the school fields dreaming about when our own fairy tale romance would come and our Prince Charmings would sweep us off our feet?
I could SO get into details here but my friends would most definitely kill me for exposing their teenage (and intensely more loveable) personas so I shall keep it to myself ^^
Dinner was delicious and so very English.
We started off with a very moresome smoked meat and avocado salad, followed by a soul-enriching vegetable consomme in a pretty teacup, and then tender, pink, moist roast lamb with mange tout and potatoes dauphinoise, as well as some delicious caramelized carrots that I couldn’t get enough of.
Dessert was creme brulee, which was a little too sweet for me but accompanied by the most addictive ginger shortbread that I desperately wanted more of to dunk into my tea.
^^ Man and Wife
We’re so happy for you, Val-0 ! Love you many many !
Here’s to a lifetime of happiness, fulfillment, joy, companionship, and above all, a deep and true and lasting love !
-blubs all over my laptop-