Busy weekend (ii): wedding festivities

On Friday Steve and Sally got married in a quiet, private ceremony. Their friends and relatives gathered on Saturday evening for a big party, feed, and dance.

As a contrast to the wedding ceremony, this time the bridal party made a big entrance – through a triumphal arch comprising climbers with ice axes and equestrians with riding whips.

Ian and Zac team climbing gear with exceptionally smart clothing - the new look for the crags?

This was a complete surprise to Sal but fortunately one with which she was very happy.

We had a great time and so much fun that unfortunately that photos for the the blog were not top priority – sorry – and so I have no pictorial record of many old friends and acquaintances present. In addition to the usual suspects, some climbers who do not often grace the blog included Max Biden, Colin Wells and Doug Scott. More importantly, here is a cake photo:

Dessert consisted of THREE puddings, hurrah!

After which there was a ceilidh featuring traditional Cumbrian dances to the accompaniment and direction of Striding Edge.

Natuarally this did not finish until the following morning, when we had bacon, eggs and coffee for breakfast back at the “Greenfoot estate”, which is why several of us failed to make it to the fell run …. see previous blog.

Very best wishes to the happy couple. 🙂 🙂 🙂

A white weekend

We don’t often journey south, so this weekend’s trip almost felt like a visit to a foreign country… this wasn’t surprising as Essex is somewhat like a foreign country! Our first destination was Hadleigh where we joined my old friend Clare and her husband Ilir to celebrate the blessing of their marriage. After the blessing we retired to the delightful ground of ‘The Lawn’ where we soaked up the atmosphere and enjoyed a lovely three-course meal. The speeches following the meal were jovial and interesting and were followed by dancing. We particularly enjoyed the kosovan dancing…. which was very much like the greek dancing at Bill and Artemis’ wedding. We should have been well practiced… but we weren’t!

Clare and Ilir
The happy couple

On Sunday Richard and I needed to fit in some training and so as we were in the south, Richard suggested that we visit the Seven Sisters because they were only 60 miles away. The miles were a little longer than we first anticipated, but the views of the chalk cliffs were amazing. We parked at Birling Gap and made our way along the beach beneath the towering white faces of the Seven Sisters. When we got to Cuckmere Haven we continued along the coast to get a fabulous view back over the cliffs.

On the beach
View over the Seven Sisters

We retraced our steps to the Cuckmere River and then followed it to Alfriston where we turned off towards Wilmington to see the Long Man of Wilmington, a 16th-18th century hill figure. With only an hour to go on our parking ticket we realised that we should get a move on and so we quickened our pace and headed back to Birling Gap. After another hour we arrived back and ate ice cream to recover some of the calories spent over the 17 mile run, before heading home.

The Long Man of Wilmington

We enjoyed our weekend in the ‘south’ and it was nice going somewhere new. This was particularly true because we got to see a new fake tree that we hadn’t seen before!

A thing of beauty!
and in close up!

Rebecca & Mathias’ Wedding

A couple of months ago we received an invitation to join Rebecca and Mathias in celebrating their next adventure in life together – a celebration of their wedding. As I’m a girl, I love weddings, so of course we had to go, and as it was to be held on one of our precious bank holiday weekends, we could take advantage of the extra day off work and get in some climbing. We booked reasonably cheap flights to Frankfurt, hired a car, and found some accommodation fairly close by.

The actual civil wedding took place on Friday, which we understand is usually a small affair with family and close friends. The celebration on Saturday was the reception for more friends. The event took place in a winery in a small sleepy village in Pfalz called Edenkoben. This is only about an hours drive south from Frankfurt Main airport, so we arrived at Edenkoben by lunch time which gave us plenty of time to find our hotel and take a look around the village. The hotel was lovely – Alte Feuerwache – and Edenkoben was very sleepy.

At 3pm we made our way to the winery and found Rebecca and Mathias welcoming their many guests.

Mathias & Rebecca

What a lovely venue.

The approach to the party venue, a lovely vine covered walkway!

And being a winery, there was lots and lots of wine to drink. There was also plenty of Flammkuchen to soak up the juices.

Not a bad venue for a wedding!
Kloster Heilsbruck

It was just great to catch up with all our friends and be introduced to some new ones.

Laetitia & Mina catching up over a spiked strawberry cocktail!
Laetitia, Valeska, and Mina - smiles all round!
Pete & Max planning the next day's adventure in the Pfalz

No adventure is complete without a cake. This adventure had plenty of cakes. They all looked delicious – I only had two pieces, so I can only say that those two were amazing!

Mathias & Rebecca cut the cake
Tina's portion of cake!

After wine and cake, we had a guided tour of the wine cellars and a stroll through the vine fields while preparations were made for the evening meal.

We all went for a tour of the wine cellars and a stroll through some of the vineyards to build up an appetite for dinner...
These little green things will be fat red grapes soon, and red wine shortly after that!

The evening started with a band playing easy chill-out music, then there was a buffet dinner which was huge.

  • Starters, with all sorts of cold salads, smoked salmon, salmon moose, tuna, roasted vegetables, tapenade and much more.
  • Mains, with hot beef, bbq pork, chicken, asparagus, roast potatoes, mushrooms and much more.
  • Deserts, with ice cream, strawberries, cream and more ice cream.


After dinner there were some presentations of special gifts and some singing and we all lit sparklers attached to helium filled balloons and watched them float up into the night sky.

It was a wonderful wedding celebration and it was lovely to see so much love for Rebecca and Mathias.

Helium filled balloons with attached sparklers provided a dazzling evening show

Another penguin?

Last weekend Ian got the chance to dress up in order to be best man at a wedding. As most people know, he is not known for his sartorial elegance so this was an event worthy of recording:

The wedding party

Although the theme colour was purple, I am not among the bridesmaids (but see below).

In typical pose.

I think it is only polite to dress properly for a wedding, and I was stressing a bit about getting a reasonable hat, until Sheila came to my rescue with the loan of a posh one:

Me wearing the borrowed hat.

Quite by chance my best dress fitted the wedding’s theme as it is purple. 🙂

A Greek wedding

We were invited to Greece to celebrate the marriage of Bill and Artemis. This was our first experience of a Greek wedding and hence we were unsure what to expect, but it turned out to be a fabulous celebration and all had tremendous fun.

There was a relatively small party of around 10 english people at the wedding including Jim and Sophie (Jim is a caver); the majority of us lodged in Artemis’ house or next door at her brother’s house and hence we all witnessed the great preparation for the big day.

Saturday 8th January was the big day. The wedding was scheduled for 6 pm at Agios Konstaninou Church in Glyfada, a suburb of Athens. We spent the morning shopping for last minute (forgotten) items and socialising with Bill at the local coffee shop to allow Artemis time to prepare.

At 6 pm, the beautiful bride arrived at the church and was met by her groom outside the church, from where they walked down the aisle to the alter. The Greek Orthodox wedding was really lovely. A priest had been found who was able to conduct parts of the service in English and so we were able to understand the very moving sermon.

Bill and Artemis circling the altar (the Greek tradition is to perform many of the rituals 3 times, one of which is to circle the altar 3 times)

Following the service we celebrated the wedding by hurling a large quantity of multicoloured rice at the newlyweds! Richard had read that the priests often use their bibles to protect them from this ammunition, but on this occasion the priests had wisely chosen to stay indoors.

The newlywed couple being covered with rice outside the church
Outside the church

After photographs outside the church we arrived at the reception; a very nice hotel in Vouliagmeni. After drinks and banter we were treated to a fabulous celebratory meal. We soon realised that the Greeks have a very amusing tradition whereby the bride and groom can be made to kiss each time cutlery is rattled on the crockery! The english table tested the tradition on a number of occasions.

After dinner the wedding cake was cut and served. It was a delicious gateaux which was enjoyed even though we were full from dinner.

Bill and Artemis cutting the amazingly delicious cake
Richard and Rachel at the reception

The bride and groom soon took their first dance, which prompted further dancing throughout the evening. We enjoyed a fine mix of British disco music and Greek music. The latter of which was great to watch as the Greek wedding guests danced in circles whilst the children doused them in rose petals.

The bride dancing
Greek dancing

On Sunday, the English spent more time looking around Athens. We visited the Acropolis and also the Acropolis Museum. Both were very spectacular; you should all visit these places at some point!

Jim and Rachel at the Acropolis

On Monday we drove to another nearby ancient temple called Sounion. Visitors are not allowed to walk within the temple itself as in the past people have scratched their names into the columns of the monument. We can blame Lord Byron for this, as in 1810 he visited and scratched his name into one of the stone columns; we found his signature with Richard’s zoom lens.

Byron's graffiti at Sounion

After this, we drove to Thorikos to see the ancient theatre that Richard’s Dad had recommended. It would have had a fabulous view overlooking the coast in the ancient times, but unfortunately a landfill site has since been placed on the opposite hillside. We attempted to test the acoustics of the theatre, but Richard’s whispering was drowned out by a tractor in the next field!

Richard at Thorikos theatre

We explored the area around the theatre and found an ancient silver mine!

Silver mine at Thorikos

We have one more place to visit before we head home, so we might have another update in a day or two.

Thanks to Artemis’ family for welcoming us so warmly and for providing us with a very comfortable place to stay. They have been exceptionally generous. We wish Bill and Artemis a long and happy future together.

Michele & Vic Got Married

The Wedding
Michele and Vic got married in Kendal on Saturday.
The Climbers’ Club is an amazing organisation, without it we wouldn’t have many of our best friends…

The day was as forecasted, sun, sun, and more sun. Such a welcome sight after so many days of rain, rain, a bit of sun, and more rain.

The official part of the wedding took place at Kendal Registry Office at midday. Michele and Vic looked fantastic, and very happy.

Signing the Marriage Register
The first day of sunshine in the Lakes for ages...
...but it was still raining, raining confetti!

The Picnic
The formalities over, we all made our way over to Tarn Hows. It is the most beautiful spot with amazing views. It was just perfect for a wedding picnic. There was bit of a struggle with the parking – it’s a very popular area – but we all made it eventually.
Picnic blankets were put down, specially prepared picnic bags were handed out, and corks were popped. It was just so lovely hanging out in posh frocks and sipping bubbly in such a beautiful area. Ian took some official photos and we went for a paddle.

A "Picnic" with Bubbly at Tarn Hows
Natasha, Vic's daughter and "best-man"

As I wasn’t driving, I had managed to consume lots of bubbly. I didn’t bargain on Pete wanting to get in a quick route before the evening reception! “Your lead or mine”, he said as we got to the bottom of Raven Crag Walthwaite. I looked at one of him, swayed a bit and said, “Yours, I think!”.

Time for a quick route at Raven Crag, Walthwaite!

The Reception
We got back down in time for the evening’s entertainment. I had sobered up, so there was room for more champagne.
The evening reception was held in Chapel Style Village Hall with catering supplied by Scotts Event Catering. The canapes were delicious, the roast beef was perfect, and the wedding cake ( a chocolate Croqu em Bouche) was just stunning. They do all their catering from their trailer.

Cutting the wedding cake ... profiterole heaven!

And with the coffee, Grasmere Gingerbread

We left at about 11pm, leaving Michele to the dance floor and Vic to the beer. I’d had far too much fine wine and dining and my feet were killing me.

It was a brilliant day. Thanks for inviting us.

Rachel and Richard Get Married!

Rachel and I got married.

The bride's mode of transport
The bride's mode of transport

Just after the wedding ceremony
Just after the wedding ceremony

We threw a party, with dancing, food, and cake!

The cake (oh, and the mystery cake stand)
The cake (oh, and the mystery cake stand)

We went on honeymoon in Newbiggin on Lune.

The honeymoon cottage
The honeymoon cottage

We’re still there. We’re hoping to get some guest bloggers to blog the wedding, but they haven’t yet recovered from the party! Also, the place we’re staying has no internet, and almost no mobile phone coverage. It’s very quiet!

More pictures to follow, but we have only a very small number as yet…

Project in copper – Part 7

This will be almost the last post on this item before the grand opening. Richard G. and I have been amazed how this has turned out with every successive step. It all began with Richard D. suggesting that we have a caving-themed wedding cake, that is a cake with a stream running through it. I explained to him that this may be difficult in terms of icing erosion, but we both got hooked on the idea of having a stream – especially me! I soon decided that a cream stream would be even better and would confuse the hell out of all our wedding guests. The original idea was to have a helter skelter structure with the stream running around it, however after some discussion with my structural engineer, Richard G., it became apparent that this would be difficult. He came up with the idea of the leaves and then the need for large amounts of copper … because we’re tight and of course keen on recycling 🙂 , we opted for the second hand hot water cylinder from Jonathan Pitts. That decision worked out great except for the black covering that was on one side of the copper and which needed an incredible amount of wire wool buffing to shift! I think we did an ok job in the end.

The polished cream stream
The polished cream stream
Look at those leaves
Look at those leaves

So here it is on Sunday we added a few leaves and buffed for a few hours… all we need to do now is bake the two small chocolate sachertortes and the one large one -which will be located on a board on the 3 copper legs (we were going to have 4, but we couldn’t get the drill into the middle of the structure to drill the fourth hole!), we need to make some chocolate frogs and then cover the base with some green (perhaps) material. Finally we need to buy a few pints of cream, attach the pump and hey presto …. hopefully it will cause much confusion and hilarity at the wedding. And, if the cream stream overtops, I will personally find it absolutely hilarious! I hope you are all impressed that we even have the BS safety mark – that was not planned at all and wasn’t realised until we turned over a newly cut flower shape – of course it had to stay!

Complying to safety standards!
Complying to safety standards!

Carol, Richard’s wife, was also somewhat concerned that the small cake flowers were not level – this was entirely intended!

Finally, thank you so much to Richard G. for taking on the challenge of our somewhat bizarre idea! He was instrumental in there actually being a plan at each successive stage of the construction.

Job done
Job done
Rachel in the fire!
Rachel in the fire!

Following construction we settled down by Lake Greswell for a fire and BBQ – wonderful 😉