So, what kept you busy today?
Me, well I had a wedding to go to in Northern Ireland, a big Catholic church in a small Irish village, out of town in skinny hedge lined roads just barely wide enough two small cars.
We arrive early, not by accident but let’s not say what causes this. It’s now Sunday evening and after 3 Jamesons and a Guinness I don’t feel like I need to tell the truth, for some of you it may be obvious why!
We’re about reasonably early for a Saturday, especially for me anyway, then w short drive down to the shores of Lough (Lake) Neagh at a small village called Ballyronan. It’s all of 10 minutes drive, Mark is driver today and has to deal with a direction awareness deficit disorder suffered by one of our fellow travellers, she shall remain nameless. Your Honour, the evidence is irrefutable, and damning, I rest my case.
Lough Neagh is a large freshwater lake that lies west of Belfast, near Belfast International Airport. The lake was once a major way of transporting goods to Belfast but that changed early last century and now Ballyronan is a tourist village, quite pretty, and pretty quiet.
Back to Coagh, get dressed and one traveller is struggling with the time constraint, I did tell her the time for the Church was 12 midday, but I did know that it was 12.30, this was so she got organised in time. It worked until she hopped breathlessly out of the car when we got to the church and said to Robyn, Mother of the Groom, “sorry we’re late, where is everyone?” . The response is ” don’t panic you’re early it’s doesn’t kick off until 12.30?” I stay very low.
We catch up with most of the Cobar clan at the church, the Irish backdrop of rolling green hills, emerald green hedge rowed paddocks, and a grey foreboding sky as a backdrop, a fantastic opportunity to experience something different in another country in another culture.
The church service is long, a Nuptial Mass, but the time passes quite quickly. The Groom and groomsmen are decked out in green suits ( looked blue to me but I’m colour blind); with RM Williams boots, looked very cosmopolitan but Australian, there’s no mistaking RM’s for Aussies. The girls were in cream coloured dresses, all pretty stunning looking young women and the bride in a pretty spectacular dress with a long train. How’s that for fashion reporting you lot!
It’s warm and humid, the weather is dripping but not quite raining, hopefully something we’ll experience when we get home if it hasn’t happened before that.
The drive to the reception at Larchfield Estate is over an hour down the M2, we’re the first to arrive and as I’m MCing the show I need to get organised and meet the team at Larchfield anyway. We’re first to arrive and the first to get a drink. The place is stunning, beautiful gardens, beautiful old buildings, the reception area is the old stables of a sort of Manor House working farm set up. The crowd arrive in cribs and drabs, the event gets underway a little late but we pull it back into order and on time, even though the crowd are very irresponsible to my requests to move inside and sit down. All they want to do is talk and drink, don’t they understand that I’m trying to look like I’m running the f….g show and am nervous for things to start which means I’m closer to the end when I can relax a bit, hopefully without somebody hitting me or abusing me.
The speeches go well, the 2 fathers speak briefly but well, from the heart, the Groom has a lovely from the heart speech prepared and delivers with passion, the Best Man despite not having anything prepared at the church is prepared by the time of the reception and does a great job, the Chief Bridesmaid adds some lovely words and the groomsmen run the Chair Game which is a lot of fun. Well done to everyone. My job is done on time and hopefully the Carrieann and Jim and the guests enjoyed the reception and what we did, fingers crossed.
It’s a fantastic evening but by 11 I’m feeling pretty weary and by 11.30 or so we leave in the solid rain to drive back to Coagh. Mark pilots us home efficiently and quickly, one drop off of Cherie Martin in Magherafelt.
I think we’re all pretty busted by the time we got bed about 1 in the morning.
A great day, great fun.
Below are 2 poems I wrote and read at the wedding ;
“Secrets – North and South”
Wedding bells were ringing in the northern Ireland town
18th August 18, place is full of Aussies letting their hair down,
On the other side of the world Saturday has passed
Sunday in Cobar, cool morning and sunshine that will last
Today we hear no secrets
And the time will go by pretty fast
She was from the North, he from the South
From opposite places, same words sound different from their mouths
She knew it was good and he knew it was too
It was real, and in the hot Cobar sun it grew
You were each others secret
Until somebody picked up a clue.
Island of rain, villages and fields of green
Fun people, past troubles, Guiness, it is what it seems
Large island of deserts, jungle, fire and soaking rain
Snakes, spiders, sharks, things that give pain
Were you really each others secret?
Not in Cobar, some things we need to explain
Old house that needs money and paint
Moved in together, hope the leftfooters and do gooders don’t faint
Shared breakfasts, rules and front door key
Keep the curtains closed don’t let the locals see
Don’t let everyone know your secrets,
Even when they tell you “it’s safe with me”
Two minds, two halves of the same
That’s marriage, sort of like a like a ball and chain
A shared future should hold no fears
Be ready for the whirlwind of life condensed over years
And don’t let your secrets see daylight
Keep them away from dangerous ears
Live life fully, lessons from family passed and two Tim’s
Follow your own dreams, and not others whims,
Jim & Carrieann, work hard on being best friends
For the trip of life has many bumps and more than a few bends,
Trusting each other with your secrets
Is just one thing on which the future depends
“I Rely On You”
I rely on you like a sports car needs suspension,
like the aged need a pension,
Like a trampoline needs tension,
like a bungee jumper needs a little apprehension
I rely on you like a camera needs a shutter
like a punter needs a little flutter,
Like a golfer needs a putter
And like a buttered scone really does need butter.
I rely on you like an acrobat needs a cool nerve,
like a hairpin corner needs a really drastic bloody curve,
Like a rugby centre needs to run, pass and swerve
Like a flasher really does want you to perv,
I rely on you like a handyman needs pliers,
Like an auctioneer needs buyers,
Like a Laundromat needs dryers,
like Air Lingus wants pilots who are reasonable flyers.
I rely on you like Bears farm needs water,
Like Eamon and Teenie’s brick house needs mortar,
Like Robyns heart really needs an aorta,
Like Jim ain’t married, without the O’Hagen’s daughter.
I rely on you
Cheers from Coagh in Northern Ireland