In short, it was wonderful! I arrived in decent time and made my way to the chapel at Trinity College, Cambridge. Shortly after three, wednesdayschild and retinue made their way up the aisle. wednesdayschild looked gorgeous and was very obviously overflowing with happiness, and rightfully so; it was wonderful to see so many people in the audience so happy because she was happy. The ceremony was short-ish, under an hour, with cracking hymns. Stealing the setlist, we had "Love Divine" to the traditional tune Blaenwern; "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind", Repton - top tune, top choon! - "Lord of all Hopefulness", Slane and "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace", which is a heck of a way to finish. Lucy was so obviously incredibly happy that she was sobbing with joy while making her vows, which was just perfect.
Unfortunately not everyone could attend the section of the reception where the speeches were made, which I was sorry to miss, but there was a highly fun introductory salsa dancing class. As dezzikitty sadly could not make it, I danced with anatsuno, who was enthusiastic, talented, light on her toes and generally great fun. Really, the dancing (for me) made the reception, though the highly scrummy buffet and the chocolate fountain afterwards were tremendous as well. I have a feeling that chocolate fountains are going to be a very 2006 thing; the one here is great, my boss is having one at his wedding this autumn and Thornton's, the chocolatiers, are starting to feature them in their stores. They're very cool indeed, but have a feeling of being next year's "last year's thing" about them, which I wasn't expecting. I promise I'm not being bitter just because I got chocolate sauce on my best suit jacket :-/
I stayed overnight at the Carolina Guest House (entirely serviceable and easy to deal with, though very firm beds) with folk. It was really cool to have the chance to get an extended chat with him - maybe as much as an hour? - when I only tend to see him in group situations and unsurprisingly there are lots of demands on his attention. In the morning, we met up with anatsuno and altricial to go looking fruitfully for knitting supplies and fruitlessly for footwear for John. Afterwards, all those of a t00by disposition met up for a picnic on a Trinity College field; when a shower got a little too heavy, we decamped to one of Trinity College's many common rooms to finish off the rest of the food. Thanks so much, everyone who was there but particularly Lucy and David; it was a wonderful weekend!
It seems curmudgeonly to try to compare weddings, because almost all weddings are wonderful and wonderful weddings are wonderful in ways to especially suit the bride and groom. I've really, really enjoyed the last three weddings I've been to, of Mr. and Mrs. xorsyst, Mr. and Mrs. gayparee and Mr. uqx and Mrs. wednesdayschild. It's interesting to note that two of the three had tutored dancing. See, I like dancing when I feel confident about doing the steps, which I only ever do when there are people teaching it; however, I know there are tons of people who don't particularly enjoy tutored dancing and only enjoy doing their own thing, strutting their stuff and generally employing their creativity. The two extremes aren't really so different; after all, once you know the steps, it's up to you both how you put them together, and there's no definitively right or wrong ways, though clear partnership is evidently more graceful than not.
It's probably also true that I've enjoyed weddings more and more once I've been starting to put myself in the place of the participants; every wedding I go to makes me look forward to mine all the more, and I'm sure that ones I attend as a husband will serve as happy reminders rather than happy inspirations. I'm sure there must be good reasons for exceptions - particularly people rightfully jealous of either bride or groom, or weddings where things go unexpectedly pear-shaped for some reason - but can people with romance in their soul do anything but, well, bliss out and feel the love in the air at weddings? Either come in the right spirit, to enjoy and share in the couple's happiness, and damn the inevitable unpredictable, unavoidable hitches in proceedings, or don't come at all! I'm not always big on ritual, and some of the rituals of the extended wedding industry are distinctly commercial rather than romantic, but a really spot-on ceremony can cause almost untold amounts of YAY.
Photos to follow, possibly here, or possibly posted to Flickr or somesuch if that's what everyone else is doing with theirs. I believe that I took no photos of anyone who doesn't like their photos to be on the 'net, but please shout up sooner rather than later (possibly by e-mail?) if I need to watch out.
It was fantastic to meet lots of lovely people again, who know who they are and how special they are to me, and to get to enjoy getting to know other fine folk for the first time! It was great to get to know the highly charismatic kay_taylor (we might have met, though I don't think we talked...?) and her off-LJ man, who is already a /Friendsfriend through all sorts of geeky routes. Likewise, Meg and I went to the wrong week of Chat00bage to meet nmg and ias, when I'm sure we'd have got along with them like a house on fire. Lastly, hoorah for the groom, uqx. You have excellent taste and I am bet-the-mortgage-(if-I-had-one)-on-it sure that you have been rewarded for this so much already and will be rewarded for this unto infinity.
Probably a fine indicator of the wonder of the wedding and the assembly of so many lovely folk was discussion of all tomorrow's parties! The craftier vaguely-associated-with-fandom-whether-o
I've driven 440 miles in the last 36 hours! It's about 200 miles from Middlesbrough to Cambridge, but there was some positioning at either end, lots of ferrying people around in Cambridge (being useful is always fun!) and a 20-mile detour on the way back in an attempt to find a McDonalds which had the colourful Coke glasses from which to buy a salad. (NB Anyone have a spare blue one?) This was by far the longest I'd ever driven. I was pretty tired on the way down towards the end - inevitable considering I was travelling in the morning - but was actually, scarily, starting to enjoy it for the last hundred or so miles of the way back, when the roads were less busy and the pressure was off. Certainly driving to Manchester or Gatwick to pick Meg and luggage up now holds no fears. I have been kept excellent company by Radio Five Live, news and sports talk from the BBC, and have learnt greatly about the practical workings of my fuel gauge. I have real-world data suggesting I get about 7 miles per litre (funny metric/imperial unit there, marvellous) on fast roads.
Responding to a couple of news stories quickly about which I have heard much, though: something is very, very wrong when passengers get to vote each other off the aircraft. In truth, it's hard to have a fully informed opinion on the story because we don't know just how suspicious the apparently suspicious behaviour was; it's certainly not beyond my imagination to concoct behaviour about which I would have severe reservations and I like to think myself far from prejudiced, though I know I'm not perfect. That said, it seems more likely than not to have been horribly dangerous intolerance as far as I can tell. There's a part of me that would like to have seen all the passengers but the two speaking apparent-Arabic inconvenienced, with the two unfairly maligned passengers properly compensated for the insult.
There was a story of genuine global sporting importance and interest in the fourth Test Match in cricket today. In short, the umpire decided that Pakistan had been tampering with the ball and penalised them for this. The Pakistan team then refused to return to the field of play after tea; later on, they took the field, but the match umpires responded with a flounce of their own and declared that Pakistan had forfeited, almost certainly the first time that this had happened in a match of this importance over the 126 year history of Test Cricket. My view is that, especially with the match being irrelevant to the result of the series, England should have been the bigger team even though they were clearly innocent and forfeited the game at the first hint of controversy; it's a pretty hollow victory as England were clearly losing. Hopefully there will be a big one-day game to benefit charity tomorrow, hopefully at no cost to the spectators, which is probably the only way to try to make some good out of the whole situation. I also wonder whether there might be a whiff of a betting scam here somehow...