We are deep in the hedgerows of South-West West England for an aristocratic wedding. Mrs. BB’s dear childhood friend is marrying a toff.
It is a big event and many years in the making. A whirlwind romance 7 years ago resulted in a false start after a wedding in Tuscany was postponed. His track record was 0 for 3 and it was decided to take a bit more time.
It is a story with a long first chapter but a fairy tale ending.
We assemble at the noble ancestral pile for the big event. Mrs. BB and I are accommodated in a room that is larger than our flat. The views of the estate grounds are spectacular. The tiny chapel in which they are to be married is 50 meters up the hill set in an idyllic country setting.
I wake and head to the kitchen to fetch coffee and breakfast. I return to find a strange semi-naked man sitting on our bed chatting to Mrs. BB. They apparently know each other quite well and are giggling. He is eying my dapper Hugh Heffner pyjamas and the coffee.
“Would you like a coffee,” I ask putting the tray down before scuttling back to the kitchen to fetch more?
He is an old school friend of Mrs.BB and the bride and the Master of Ceremonies. He is grateful for the coffee. Only in an English manor house do such things happen, he is accommodated in the adjoining room. I had to wee badly in the middle of the night and almost mistook his room for the bathroom.
Thank the gods, I can only image introducing myself, “Hi, we haven’t met, I’m the chap that urinated on you in the middle of the night, so sorry.”
The service is heartwarming, as are the dinner speeches. I have never experienced such an expressive and welcoming bunch of loved up toffs. It is quite extraordinary. English toffs are usually, well, more toffish.
I love the English upper-class though I couldn’t eat a whole one. A more eccentric and emotionally repressed group it is difficult to find. Often they are a dichotomy. On one had you have horse riding, shooting, and opera, and the other, school expulsions, drink driving, and sodomy. I mean, really.
They are certainly sporty drinkers, keen storytellers, and rampant smokers, so they make good company for me, though the plum accents and potty behaviors remind me of Tim Nice-But-Dim.
Mrs. BB’s friend is radiant. She is a beautiful and outstanding woman. I have to think that before she arrived, the old house was a colder place.
I watch her gracefully weave amongst a community of old and new acquaintances. She is always exciting, smiling and full of life. She makes others feel comfortable and happy.
It is she who has thawed the hearts of this family and community and brought warmth to this old house.
It is an occasion of great joy.
My new toff friend, you are one lucky man.