Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Marriage, living, learning and loving

What a pleasure it is to be invited to celebrate the marriage of two young folk. Even a miserable old curmudgeon like myself can take pleasure in being asked to help celebrate the union of two youngsters, embarking on the good ship matrimony, despite the evident wreckage of so many other foundered marriages visible on all sides. 

So despite my cynicism and the fact that I'm no longer allowed to chase bridesmaids it was a real pleasure to find that Mrs Stuffy and I were invited to the nuptials of Neeraj and Kersten. Neeraj is the son of our dear friends Anil and Puneeta and the sumptuous wedding (at One Whitehall Place, just off Horseguards in that there London Town) promised to be a great occasion. 

Given a choice, I'm a shy and retiring chap, as you know dear reader, I'll seek out any occasion to wear the kilt but this was even better, a chance to bring out my formal indian garb, originally acquired when sous-cheffing for the lovely Puneeta for a charity supper.

The location was splendid and the mix of cultures, traditions, music and ceremonies worked a treat for me, changing from western suit for the civil ceremony to full regalia for the Barat (accompanying the groom along Horseguards with drums and dancing) and a relaxed, colourful and delightful indian ceremony. 

I really liked the elastic approach to timing that an all-day wedding delivers, the availability of great food, seriously nice people, and the easy conviviality and acceptance of the groom's friends and family to our own small attempt to engage with and respect the history, the traditions and the beliefs of the family. 

I wish someone had told me that everyone (yes everyone) else would be in western dress for the dancing but since my dancing invariably ensures that I stand out in any crowd I was really pretty relaxed about it. We were staying in the adjoining hotel but headed for bed at a relatively sensible hour. 

It was a privilege for Mrs Stuffy and I to be able to share such a great day with Neeraj and his family and I'm quite proud that, unusually for me, I didn't even get onto the shortlist to win the prize for the most embarrassing guest.  Way too much competition.

It was a bonus treat to start a Sunday in a hotel with her ladyship rather than leaping into action to make the tea, care for the chickens, buy the papers, cook the breakfast, make the lunch etc.  We spent a little time with our friends then had a very relaxing day with much ambling around town, a nostalgic lunch at Langans and a leisurely drive back to the Barn.

All in all, a great weekend.

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