The bride and groom have arrived back from their pre-moon - I expect there's a proper word for it but I don't know what it is. They are tanned and looking gorgeous and the bride is quite right: her wedding dress will look all the more lovely next to her golden tanned skin. But before they head up to God's Own Country there's the small matter of the hen do - or as it was named 'The Gen Do' - and, of course, we had t-shirts saying just that.
It is a lovely thing that both my older daughters invited me on their hen do's and I am truly flattered but, and I must be honest here, there is a fine line to walk between being mother to all the hens, making tea, dealing with hangovers and otherwise sitting knitting in the corner - definitely not my style. And being loud and over the top, trying to be half my age (which is what the rest of the hens are). This fine line must be walked under the influence of a certain amount of alcohol, trying not to disgrace myself. The question is: did I succeed? Clearly I can't answer that question because I am not an objective judge but I can only say I did my best. Four of us headed off to join the other twelve in a lovely house in Devizes - yes, the one in Wiltshire so not handy for skipping off home if things got too fruity. Driven by the Barnsley lodger and accompanied by the two sisters of the bride (numbers 2 and 4 for the purposes of this blog) we sang our way down the country for four and a half hours. The road trip was awesome and my biggest worry was that we might have peaked too soon!
Of the hens on tour, I had met all but three so I felt reasonably in my comfort zone, but festivities had started long before we arrived and there was catching up to do. Also, as I was feeling relaxed-ish, and had had a few drinks, it was a good time to stand on my chair and make what my beloved would describe as a 'mercifully short' speech. It was inevitable that I would take to public speaking at some point over the weekend so at least we got it over with early. And I only did it once. I also learnt a new drinking game and that may yet come in useful on future holidays to Mallorca - thank you, Verity.
Saturday was bitterly cold but we had been told to dress up as pirates and we certainly did that. How much pirate costume was visible depended on how well the pirates dealt with the bitter cold as we were spending the day on a barge so although I was wearing hat, bandana, one earring, frilly shirt (captain, obviously), belt, pirate boots etc, from mid-thigh up, the only piraty bit visible was my hat as the rest of me was covered by warming layers. It was perishing. The bride was dressed appropriately as Peter Pan, celebrating her long association with never growing up.
The barge trip was relatively uneventful and the other people who found themselves on a barge for several hours with a large group of hens dressed as pirates seemed to cope reasonably well. Monty the horse pulled the barge, we ate and drank and played games, then we turned round and did it all again on the journey back. No-one dived in the drink until we got back to port, when a very drunk man fell off the next barge and had to be dragged out of the briny dripping with blood and canal water. Lesson to self: don't drink and barge.
Saturday evening had been a worry to me from the off. The bride had stated her requirements early on and there was to be an entertainer. Since I have known the Maid of Honour and chief organiser of the weekend since she was 11, I had no hesitation in asking what was to happen and to absent myself for a walk whilst 'other things' were occurring. It's definitely not mother-daughter bonding entertainment. But I returned to meet the 'butler in the buff' into which he had transformed and concentrating hard on looking at his face, I had a nice chat about how his mother would have liked him to be a policeman but his real job was a stuntman. I could have asked him to do a few stunts but he wasn't appropriately dressed - naturally.
I am told that various hens did late-night swimming in the lake a few hundred yards from the house - including the Barnsley lodger - but I was tucked up in bed by then, quietly triumphant that I had not disgraced myself nor slid off the fine line detailed above.
So hen do done, the bride and groom arrived on Monday at the wedding venue and it now feels very real indeed...
Absolutely my favourite picture from the weekend - I am so blessed to have three such lovely daughters.