The big event of the first May that Helen and I were together was a family wedding. For many of the family, this was going to be the first occasion upon which they had met Helen. More importantly, it was going to be the first time that Helen had met them.
Just to add to the novelty of the occasion, the wedding took place on the island of Arran, just off the west coast of Scotland.
Strangely enough, and despite the beautiful setting, I cannot remember much about the wedding itself. I can remember nothing about the ceremony, that is certain.
I do remember the excitement of planning the trip, of booking rail tickets in advance, and the tickets for the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry over to the island. But then I don’t remember the ferry crossing at all. I don’t remember travelling home, either.
Two distinct things about the journey there have lodged in my memory, though. The first was the guard on the train, as we arrived in Glasgow, announcing that passengers should make sure that they had their husbands or wives with them upon leaving the train. The other was that, upon arriving in Scotland, Helen decided that she had to speak to everyone in a fake Scottish accent. I have rarely been so embarrassed.
The outstanding memory of the whole event, though, is from the drinks reception between the ceremony itself and the evening meal. Helen and I were stood talking to one another when my sister Lisa came over and whispered to Helen “Don’t look now, but the three witches are checking you out”. Sure enough, my Nana and two of her sisters, Auntie Mary and Auntie Dorothy, were stood about twenty feet away and giving Helen the once over in a very unsubtle fashion. Remarkably, it was still more subtle than the welcome she was to get from my Gran. But that is a story for another day.