Well, here it is, the second part of the honeymoon posts. Can you believe it!? Within a few days time. It’s almost like a real writing gig, or something. I will say this post is picture intensive. Now, where was I? Oh yeah…
Alright, it’s time for the wedding story. So The BCPF had stuffed her wedding dress into a vacuum bag and sucked the dickens out of the bag until it was a brick of white mess. Of course, I had to take her word for it because I didn’t get to see it. As I mentioned in the last post, I already had the kilt and had to do the “hiring” of the accessories. She unleashed the dress and handed it off to the concierge (or the castle’s equivalent) and they sent it off to have it pressed. So we were set. We got up, had breakfast (more haggis and black pudding), and then went back to the lobby to wait for what-happens-next.
We had hired a wedding planner, Kimmie Brown of Litú, was a treat and a lifesaver for us. Kimmie handled getting all the paperwork put together, she and her husband, George, served as our witnesses, she got the piper, Andrew, hired the photographer, Michaela Waddell, and lined up and directing us through the process of the registrar. Priceless, I tell ya, priceless. Also, we had already pre-selected our vows and ceremonies. So when the time came, we were pretty much prepared. I put on the kilt kit that turned into a much more involved procedure than putting on a tuxedo. The kilt shirt, first. The kilt, next. The waistcoat, the socks, the flashes, the ghillie brogues (shoes) and then the sporran (the man purse of awesomeness), which held it (mostly) in place. The prince Charlie jacket was next to last and then the sgian-dubh (pronounced skee-un-doo) which is a small knife that rounds out the ensemble. I’ve lost a bit of weight since I was originally fitted for the kilt so it was a bit loose. Tradition says that I don’t wear a belt with the prince Charlie jacket, but in the future, I certainly will wear one (I have already purchased one to wear once back home). And the part everyone has asked me… yes, I went unbreeched. Aye, that means I didn’t wear anything under the kilt. If you’re gonna do it, do it Scottish, I say.
I wasn’t allowed anywhere near The BCPF while she got ready, but when it was time for the wedding (noon for us in Edinburgh, 7pm for our friends back home), the piper piped me downstairs to the “gun room.” The gun room doubles as a chapel for the religious ceremonies and we used it as a location for our civil, non-religious, ceremony. The registrar talked with me a few minutes and then Andrew piped The BCPF down to the door and then after making sure she was ready, piped her down to me. She was BEAUTIFUL. I don’t have pics of her at the altar, just yet, so we’ll have to wait until the photographer sends me the collection. I cried, no shame in telling. We exchanged words, vows, and rings. We kissed. We signed the paperwork. Michaela shot us all over the grounds of the castle and that was it. It truly was much more glamorous than I just described but without pictures, I can’t do it justice. It was simple, but wonderful. She was my wife, my bride, my life’s partner – which she already was. Dang, I love that woman!
But, as is the story of our lives, there was no rest for the wicked. We had to jump out of our formal wear and into civilian clothes and run back into town to get our last-minute shopping done. We bought stuff for 3B (my 12-year old son) and my mother. We had reservations at the castle for dinner so we headed back and took our place in the Library Bar, drank some complimentary champagne, talked to a slew of Americans wh
o were also taking holiday, and then went down to the Dungeon Dining Room to have our wedding supper.
We started with an amuse bouche which included a mushroom mousse and bread. The BCPF had a chicken pate and I had a beef carpaccio. Our minds not being still and sound at the time, I forget what the actual dish was, but there is a picture of it. For the main course she had a slab of pork and I had venison with beet sauce. I’ve never been big on venison (or beets for that matter), but man this was delicious. For dessert I had a raspberry flan dish, and of course, Grand Marnier. A truly lovely food experience.
Up early the next morning as we had a train to catch from Edinburgh to our next destination, London. The train ride was a four and one-half hour ride. I spent plenty of time on the WiFi updating the website for that week’s The Less Desirables. But, I have to say, First Class is the way to go. We got to choose our breakfast (Scottish for me, please…) and all the tea or coffee or water you can stand. The ride was not bad at all.
In London, the train came into King’s Cross Station and yes, we found the 9 ¾ gate with the cart half in and half out of the wall a la Harry Potter. Had to call the car hire to pick us up since they didn’t know where we were coming in to. They picked us up right away and then took us on to our hotel, the Bloomsbury Hotel. It was ranked #5 on TripAdvisor and we can see why. It was probably one of the nicest, fanciest hotels in which I’ve ever stayed. This, of course, doesn’t count Walt Disney World as those are themed. A close second would be the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. This hotel is the first one that I’ve ever gotten a tour of my room. After a free glass each of champagne (to celebrate the day before) we were given our room and the bellman brought up the bags. He then showed us how everything works and how to operate all the gadgets in the room. We have adapters for our electronics and such but they had one already for US standard 110 AC as well as a couple of the European Union and UK standards; they had it covered. The only thing we never figured out, to 100% efficiency, was how to use the shower. It took me no less than 4-6 minutes a day to get it to the right temperature. The BCPF, who loves her shower water much hotter than I (I like it just over warm), had to deal with extra hot water. I, again, after wasted time, could get it to her level for myself. Ouch! But, it wasn’t so bad. There’s a European trend that I can’t figure out. The showers are all half shower doors (only going from the front to about halfway back), swing out and are very high tubs. I, and I’m fairly tall, have to hold on to the handles provided and step up and into the shower. Imagine the 4’11” BCPF trying. It’s rather comical.
The Bloomsbury was centrally located close to the Tottenham Court Road train station. The London Underground is an elaborate network of subway tunnels that lead all over the city. After about 3 minutes of mapping (we had experience with Paris last year), we were able to traverse the entire city of London (which has a population of just over 8 million people). We bought Oyster cards (re-loadable passes) and took the Underground everywhere.
One of the first places was Jack Horner’s. Jack Horner’s is owned by Fuller’s Brewing (think London Porter, London Pride, ESP, etc.) and we just needed a little snack so we had a couple of orders of fish fingers which are basically fish sticks. They were good and having a real ESB, right there in London, was fantastic. The BCPF had a half pour of the London Porter. Then we just walked about stopping in shops, and made our way around to the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben.” By now, everyone knows that Big Ben is actually the largest bell, not the tower itself. The tower is the Queen Elizabeth II Bell Tower. We were there right at 6pm so we got to hear the Westminster Chimes.
We wandered until it was time for dinner. We ate that night at a modern London restaurant called Scoff & Banter. The idea is to have a bit of wit to their food offerings. I’ll say there wasn’t much scoff or banter happening. The food was good, but nothing spectacular. The BCPF had salmon that was on top of tomatoes, but she wasn’t feeling well, but felt better later that evening. I had the rib eye, rare, and it was alright, but again, nothing spectacular. The overall assessment of the restaurant was they tried way too hard. We were mere steps from the hotel so we went back and spent our first night in the luxurious plushness that was the Bloomsbury.
Well, I’ve reached a good stopping point before the next installment of the honeymoon chronicles. I don’t know if I’ll be updating tomorrow, but as soon as I can, I promise.
Until next time, same blog channel at SOME time…
“By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.” -Samuel Johnson