My having characteristically misread one of two invitations, we arrived marginally late this afternoon for Clare Kerr’s wedding to Nick Hurd at Monteviot House, so Elaine and I accepted a lift once we had parked our rental car in a field. This was from the driver of a delightful Cumbrian Classic Coach – nervously aware, even though the trip took about two minutes, that its age and our solitary splendour was probably blowing our carbon budget for the next year or two.
Finding ourselves squeezed in on the groom’s side, rather than the bride’s, I was delighted to find myself sitting alongside William Kendall, who I first met when he was studying at INSEAD – before his later adventures with companies like The Covent Garden Soup Company and Green & Black’s.
This was the first wedding I have been to whose order of service started with a quote from Sir Hugh Walpole (‘The Most Wonderful Of All Things In Life’) and ended with an Apache Blessing. Met a number of people we knew – and others we didn’t – during the subsequent drinks overlooking the River Teviot and dinner in a marquee, in which we were seated at a table labeled ‘Promised Land’ with the likes of Christopher and Nonie Ward (he was a previous Chairman of WWF) and Jules Peck, and his wife Vicky.
Then out onto a balcony overlooking the Teviot for probably the most spectacular firework display I have ever seen at close quarters. As the extraordinary sound system in the valley delivered the opening chords of Satisfaction, and the fireworks flowered overhead like a scene from Hans Solo’s piloting of the Millennium Falcon through star-fields, I thought I had achieved some higher form of satisfaction – whatever nearby fish, badgers and owls may have made of the WWI-style goings-on above their heads. People who live locally told us later that the display could be seen from miles away. These images don’t do justice to the spectacle, but they are what I captured as the heavens erupted overhead.