On our second pass through the village we found a promising turn-off complete with a woman who looked like she was giving directions to the venue for the Handfasting. She told us how to get to the Manor Barn and said that `Tim' would probably be there to show us where to park. He wasn't. So I reversed into an obvious place next to the nearest parked car. That is when we heard the awful crunching noise which meant that the front of our car had been attacked by a nearby fencepost (actually, a joint on the said fencepost which was below our field of view). So now we have a nice big scrape on the left-hand front wing to match the other one. Argh.
Anyway, we changed into our mediaeval-peasant clobber, got out of the car and wandered over to where the gathering was taking place. We had arrived at 2:30pm (on some misremembered info from bopeepsheep), and it turned out that general welcoming/milling-around was from 2pm to 3pm so we were fine and it was a lovely day out (especially considering it was the middle of October).
We proceded in the general direction of the hall where the ceremony was to take place, but the bridal party kept us waiting until almost 3:15pm (typical! <g>) before the master of ceremony (who turns out to have been Robert Rankin, though I didn't immediately recognise him) started things off. (It was a slight cheat in that it wasn't a legal wedding - that part had been done in a register office a couple of days previously - but it was the official wedding as far as the bride and groom - and everyone else - were concerned.)
After that, it was back into the courtyard for photographs and general catching up, involving many tales from schooldays.
At about 6pm the banquet began and people gathered round the carvery to collect lashings of pork (straight from the spit), beef and gammon, with optional chicken wings, and of course vegetables. For afters a slightly odd assortment of mince pies, Turkish delight, fudge, grapes, and cheese and biscuits.
Goblets of mead were brought round for the speeches and toasts (though I had little more than a brief taste), and then it was time for the cutting of the cake. Not a traditional wedding cake by any means but, in keeping with the mediaeval tone of the event, a Dundee cake.
The band (a sort of `folk rock' band) assembled, and began playing at not long before 9pm. The bride and groom had a dance, of course, as did several of the bridesmaids. Personally I didn't, as it takes quite a lot of persuasion to get me on to a dance floor (maybe if we had been there longer this would have happened). It was too loud - but that is for another rant at some other time.
bopeepsheep suddenly began feeling tired, so we made our farewells and set off back up the A34, arriving home at about 11pm, ready for our first uninterrupted night's sleep for three months.
Sunday was not a very early morning, except that I woke up at about 7:30 and wasn't very successful at going back to sleep (though I think I did manage about half an hour later on). We eventually made our way back to the in-laws' to be reunited with smallclanger and for lunch. The baby, who had been fine all along, was happy for about ten minutes and then started wailing loudly. It was at about this point that I was sent out on my own to go to Sainsbury's and ended up at Waitrose instead because I was lost.
Anyway, we all got back in one piece eventually, and lived happily ever after. And the car did 47 miles per gallon.