|Lauren, my beautiful 28-year-old daughter|
As most of the children were staying with us for the weekend, we had hired a manor house, so we could all be together. At first, we turned up at a large stone building which actually turned out to be the gatehouse to the manor and not the manor house itself! We found the right place in the end and were soon settled in with some good fires roaring away.
|Our family weekend retreat|
Lauren & Lewis had hired St Tewdrics in Chepstow for the weekend to hold their wedding and it was a brilliant choice. The house is owned and run by Geraint Thomas and his wife and they have done a wonderful job converting the house to a wedding venue. It overlooks the River Severn and we were reminded of our abortive attempt to get up the river on our boat from Bristol to Sharpness a few summers ago.
On Friday evening the girls from the family and the bridesmaids had dinner at St Tewdrics while we boys all went out for a few drinks and a meal at a pub in Chepstow.
The wedding went off without a hitch on the Saturday and it didn’t matter that it hardly stopped raining all day. As it was a winter wedding, Sophie, Jo and Karen had knitted shawls for the bridesmaids. Sophie did a great job organising the yarn and the patterns and ensuring they were produced on time and with the same tension.
|The shawls ready for the bridesmaids after the ceremony|
|The happy couple|
|The siblings table - most of our children made it|
It was great to meet up with lots of people we haven’t seen for a while and especially good to spend time with my oldest friends (as in friendship length), John and Miranda.
|Not sure what we were doing but it was late in the evening – with John and Miranda|
Karen and I stayed in St Tewdrics on the Saturday night and it was strange knowing our children were staying back at the Airbnb without us. As Lauren & Lewis had exclusive access to the venue, we could let Buddy stay in our bedroom during the ceremony and we were able to take him out for the odd walk around the grounds every so often during the rest of the day.
|Buddy dressed for the day|
Lauren & Lewis hosted breakfast for the family on Sunday morning and most of the children left for their respective homes during the day. Poor Matthew had a nightmare of a journey back to Norway as his flight from Cardiff to Amsterdam was delayed by three hours and he ended up missing the following connections. He had to stay overnight in Amsterdam and then catch three more planes and a ferry before getting home 24 hours late ☹
On Sunday evening, Lauren & Lewis took us and Lewis’s parents, Richard and Kim, out for a lovely Italian meal on Cardiff Bay before we retired to an Airbnb nearby. We were spending a couple of nights in Cardiff before heading home and had booked an Airbnb near the rugby stadium.
I had said that the wedding day went without a hitch, but I had forgotten that during the speeches I had received a message saying that the Airbnb host had cancelled our booking. This was the first time in what is now almost 30 Airbnbs that we have stayed in that this has happened. After the speeches I had managed to get on the internet and find an alternative house to stay in. It turned out to be really nice and close to the city centre, so we were quite happy if slightly disgruntled that we were only offered £10 as compensation for the last-minute cancellation.
We were feeling shattered on Monday and I was really impressed Karen still went for a run around Bute Park and along part of the Taff Way. I took it easier and just walked Buddy around the local area a few times during the day.
|Crossing the Taff with the stadium in the background on one of our walks|
Cardiff has a fair selection of Victorian post boxes still in use including this disused one that is being engulfed by a tree!
We will probably meet up with Lauren & Lewis for a while on Tuesday morning before heading back home.