Monday, 8 September 2008

The Mile End Massive

And another wedding, this time my friend Henry, who was getting married in the lovely town of Ludlow in Shropshire. Unfortunately, it had been raining solidly for several days and after driving for 4 hours from London we were trapped by rising floodwaters:

Yup, that's one flooded road. And notice how the water is practically churning away as it gushes down the hill with alarming speed. It not only made the going a little damp, but also pretty treacherous, since it ripped out chunks of asphalt, leaving huge potholes hidden under the murky water. Waiting in a queue of traffic, trying to work out if we could make it into town or would have to turn back (and listening to horror stories of water 4 feet deep in places), we entered a surreal alternate reality as the whole thing turned into some sort of Monty Python sketch. A hearse pulled up beside us at one point (empty, thankfully) followed almost immediately by a truckload of sheep, a large tractor and a fire engine. This impressive comedy line up of vehicles penned us in one after the other until we finally managed to turn around and find an alternative route. At least 7 hours in the car made for a productive journey knitting-wise. And the trip was worth it when we arrived at our rented cottage:

A seriously lovely barn conversion, with plenty of space for all 8 of us. The wedding itself was even more lovely, and we managed to bag a quick photo with the groom - the Mile End Massive (or most of it) from days of old:
That's Henry at the back, looking very happy and slightly overwhelmed - and yes, we'd all had quite a bit of champagne by this point. Although it was only later in the evening that photos like this started cropping up:

Josh, on how to make ushers look cool. You'll be pleased to learn I have no photographic evidence of the dance-off that took place a few hours later, the I'm-not-really-drunk-and -I-can-do-the-splits contest, or the entire roast pig that was consumed the following morning (unbelievably delicious).
The following evening we were making the most of the cottage, with an enormous vat of stew, several bottles of wine and the joy of old friends round a big table:

University feels an age ago and it was a rare treat for us all to be together in one place for more than a couple of hours. And no, I'm not telling you the embarrassing student stories we re-told and laughed over.
What happens in the Massive stays in the Massive.

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