Sunday, 27 July 2008

NEDDING! Part 4. Sunday farewell.

After retiring to bed ridiculously early on Saturday night, after dancing up a storm and nearly vomiting down Spartan's back as he hefted me over his shoulder, there was some excuse for melancholy in the Fisher-Seshat boudoir. After over a year of discussion, planning, arrangement of surprises, invitations, plotting, deception, and blood-fizzing excitement, it was all nearly over. But, in the end, there wasn't any sadness at all. We had Sunday to look forward to, and look forward we did.

The day dawned bright and sunny - yet another miracle - and we headed down for breakfast.

Breakfast, in fact, turned out to be an unexpected joy. I'd spared no thought for this mundane part of the day, simply nodding and agreeing when our nedding planner mentioned that it was part of the package. What I failed to recognise was that it was, in fact, another full meal at which everyone participated, and that it was delicious. Fisher and I entered the room, saw every table all but filled with cheerful diners, and chose our places. Snowy tablecloths, sparkling cutlery, the aroma of coffee and toast ... it was marvellous. I had been about to order a boiled egg and soldiers, but seduced by the rest of my table's insistence on a full Scottish breakfast, I, too, succumbed. And I'm delighted I did. It was extremely good - salty bacon, softly herbed sausages, a poached egg, toast, coffee, fruit juice ... mmmmm. I was well set up for the day.

We all had to be out of our rooms by 11am, and if I had any criticism of Ardanaiseig it would be for the manager. His manner alternated wildly between accommodating and pissy, and while I appreciate that getting 31 adults out of their rooms in time for the hotel to become public once more is a daunting task, we were all very much 'on' it, and he had no need to remind me with a stern, patrician glare.

Everyone was out in good time, and people started enjoying the hotel for their last few hours. There were walks about the grounds, people lazed in the public rooms, and some of us decided to take the boats out. Thus I found myself in a rowing boat with Koios and Phid, giving encouragement to them both as they took it in turns to row us out onto the loch. After a shaky start, Phid took us part of the way out. I took over for a bit, then Koi had a go. It was lovely. The water was a little choppy when we cleared the banks, but nothing to concern us, and meanwhile the other boat had been commandeered by Wheeler and Spartan. They cheated and used the motor, but they had fishing rods and clearly wanted to get to the best fishing spots fast!

I do love messing about in boats. It's wonderfully tranquil, even if you are being mocked by two homoerotically repressed buddies with an outboard. Before you could say Mouse Race, time had ticked by and it was approaching the hour of Mouse Race results. We'd told everyone to gather in the yurt, and I'd instructed the manager to serve our last lunch at 1. He reminded me that we'd originally said 11.30 am, which is nonsense, but we had possibly said 12 or 12.30 - but seeing as there was no cooking involved, we'd always been told we could play it a little by ear. So play it we did, and said 1. This didn't stop him bringing all the food out at 12.30 as Fisher & I were totting up the Mouse Race points total.

"Is it going to be all right sitting out for half an hour?" I asked politely, but pointedly, at which he whined:

"Well, you said 11.30 originally, and then decided 12.30."

"I said 1," I smiled icily. At which he sulkily turned to the entourage, laden with plates of cold food, and barked: "Take it back! Take it all back!"


Nevertheless, Fisher and I ignored him totally and he was soon forgotten in the excitement of discovering the Mouse Race winner.

Back in the yurt, with the assembled throng on the edge of their cushions (or not), we kicked off proceedings with some bonus prizes. There was the winner of the Treasure Hunt to announce, and it was sweet to see Gemmill's little face get all big-eyed and nervous. He, aparantly, had basically dragged his team of Blarney, Wheeler and FW round the course and insisted all clues were gathered - so he was very much hoping to be the winner. So, naturally, when I announced that Gemmill's team was victorious, he raised his arms in triumph and was rewarded with a dinosaur board game. Later, he informed me it was lucky he'd won, or else an adult might have won the game and not liked it. Sage words from a 5 year old.

There was also a prize of 2 books for 'casual croquet' which went to Wrecker, who'd spent a good portion of yesterday's croquet tournament whacking his own ball about, once or twice actually getting it through a hoop, and often disrupting the tournaments by insisting on stealing balls of a more interesting colour than his own. There was also a prize for best rescue - a bottle of champagne to Fisher's Dad and Guardian - for saving Ceegar's life, and a 'pity prize' of red wine for Ceegar. Although he was always going to be given something for driving the minibus and being our MC, so the 'pity prize' thing was just to lighten the incident.

And thus - to the Mouse Race. Everyone put in an excellent showing, and with much fanfare we read out the top 8. The top 3 got prizes, and there was a definite air of tension about the place when I got to number 4. But in 3rd place, with an admirable 219 points, was Spartan. He got a book (Callum's Road, which we traversed together on Raasay) and a bottle of red. Second, tan tan ta-raaaa, was ... Protagoras! Even without swimming all the way to the island he managed to get second place through writing an epic poem and joining in absolutely everything. He managed 245 points and won a book of traditional recipes, as read about in books of your childhood like Enid Blyton, and a bottle of fizz. But the winner, by a clear margin of 48 points, was Wheeler - and to Phid's delight, the prize was a night at Hotel du Vin in Glasgow, with supper thrown in. Not breakfast, though - and not booze with supper. What can I say? I'm cheap.

Now, because we only announced the top 8 on the day, I am going to give a full list of the Mouse Race order, winner to loooosah. Ahem.

1. Wheeler, 293 points
2. Protagoras, 245 points
3. Spartan, 219 points
4. Koios, 212 points
5. Pistol, the tall fella, 202 points
6. Ceegar, 192 points
7 = Chopper, 182 points
7= Janus, 182 points
9. Champaign Charlie, 177 points
10. Meeper, 174 points
11. Silver Arrow, 152 points
12. Phidippida, 142 points
13. Guardian, 132 points (also winner of Best Rescue)
14. Lubentina, 121 points
15. Fisher's Dad, 116 (also winner of Best Rescue)
16. Badger, 102 points
17. Minstrel, 90 points
18. Brave Bird, 87 points
19 = The Boat House Contingent (i.e Ma), 80 points
19 = Sister, 80 points
19 = Gemmill, 80 points
22. Islander (who gets no points for sleeping, though he did it best), 68 points
23. Wrecker, 40 points
24. Blarney, -2 points (-100 for cheating, otherwise she would have come 17th with 98)

Those were the competitors, those were the standings, and the referees's decision is final. FINAL, I tell you.

There was much clapping and laughter, and then the announcements were over and we could all have lunch. I went to tell the kitchen they could bring it out when they were ready (avoiding snotty manager man) and then rejoined my buddies for our final chow.

It was a lovely, relaxing, fitting end to a fabulous weekend. We had strawberries (well - I didn't, as I foolishly thought I'd have them after my savouries - and they were all gone), scones, leftover cheese from the Nedding Cake of Cheese (we had this at the barbecue the night before - did I forget to mention) and little croque monsieur thingies. I think. The food is now all getting mixed up in my head. There was so much of it! And it was all so goooood! Anyway, we took our plates and sat on the lawn with our legs dangling down the slope, and chatted happily in the sunshine.

Last Moments

Gradually, people started drifting away. The Cheese Boys were eager to get on their way in their lovely JagMKII - although Spartan lingered, yakking away as is his wont. Eventually an impatient Pro and Wheeler came and picked him up between them and literally carried him away, still gossipping. We bade them farewell - and then everyone was preparing to leave. Brother and Gaura had left after breakfast in order to go to A&E and get an x-ray of Brother's eye (alas the radiologist wasn't there so Bro had to wait until he was home. He had a consultation on Friday, and I will find out how it went today). Both sets of parents were soon waving us goodbye, too - and soon it was just the minibussers, Sister & Sons and the Cheese Boarders who were left. Sister & Sons were giving Awesome a lift back to Fife, as she was staying with some friends in Crail and Sister was coming for a wee holiday with us, and to buy some goldfish for Gemmill. The minibus left with much fanfare, and soon Sister followed. The Cheese Board were set and ready to go. We jumped in the hire car, and I began to drive away.

Then the snitty manager came out and inquired as to how I would like to pay. Or did I just want it "comped"?

Sheepishly, I went inside and actually paid the bill. 15 minutes later, and I was back in the car - no longer a criminal. We drove away, and that was that. The end of it all.

But not quite. The journey back was as much part of it as anything else, as we chatted, dissected the weekend, and generally enjoyed one another's company. We dropped Phid off in Dollar, then on to Edinburgh and more chat, vows to meet up and see the Vanity Fair exhibition, and the other girls were back home. Fisher and I were alone.

But not really. Back at HC, Sister & Sons awaited us - and so did Awesome, whom we'd prevailed upon to stay the night, seeing as her Crail friends weren't back until midnight the next day. There was no time for melancholy, as the next couple of days were a whirl of boyish fun.

We went to Cairnie Fruit Farm and Gemmill made a good stab at the Mega Maze, while Wrecker attempted to control a mini digger and had a tantrum when at last taken away. Then we went swimming at East Sands Leisure Centre, and Wrecker braved the enormous inflatable walkway, only falling off and being caught by me once. The day after that, Gemmill bought his fish and the family departed, returning home on the ferry. With any luck the fish are still alive. Awesome Girl went to see her friends, but I unfortunately didn't manage to say a proper goodbye as there was a lack of communication, and Fisher failed to meet us after swimming as we'd planned.

And then there were none. It was just me and Fisher - and that's when I expected to feel flat.

Not so. Such was the fun, and so rich the memories, that still, today I feel bouyed by them. I feel happy every time I think of that loch swim, and that 1920s dinner - and even though there are, as yet, very few photos of me and Fisher, and certainly none I actually like, it doesn't make any difference. The photographs are very vivid in my mind. (And it serves us right for not having an official photographer. Friends only take photos of the things they're interested in, and that doesn't include making sure they've got lovely, flattering pics of the hostesses. Or, in some cases, any pics of the hostesses. But still I'm glad we didn't have some bearded arse marching around, ordering us about, and getting us to pose in places we might actually have gone to of our own free will had we not been forced to pose for photos. If the downside of this is not having any photographic evidence we're willing to share, then so be it.)

That, then, is that. It's done. It will not occur again.

At least, not until 2018 and our 20th (proper)/10th (nedding) anniversary ...


Anonymous said...

I became quite emotional reading this but have put the re-run in my diary and am very much looking forward to it already.

Last place behind your two year old nephew eh? Harsh, very, very harsh and undeserved I feel. It was an attempt at humour which obviously failed miserably - do I not get points for trying?