Tuesday 23 August

Well it has been busy!

On Wednesday 17th I went in to play for the first School Mass of the Year and pretty soon after that headed for home. It was sunny and I did not have to leave for the airport until 4pm so a couple of hours in the sun were followed by packing.

The plane was on time so off we flew. I had been allocated an extra legroom seat which was a great surprise. However when I reached it I found it occupied by a large woman with a large baby. Once she had moved to the middle seat I sat down for what I hoped would be a sleepy trip. Every time I dropped off the baby kicked me awake again.

I reached Gatwick bleary-eyed and collected a hire car and drove to mum’s in New Malden. We talked for a couple of hours over real cups of tea and then I went to bed and she adopted the maternal attitude and ironed my shirts!

Once awake we drove in the direction of Guildford, returning only once to collect a handbag she had forgotten. We drove to meet brother Richard at the church where we played through his surprise piece and then booked into the hotel.

I was given room 48 but on arriving realised I had the key for room 49. I returned to the reception to rectify this and returned to access the room. It was one of those ‘can’t fling a cat in it’ rooms. I returned to the reception a third time and asked them to explain to me how this room might be considered a ‘double room for single occupancy’. Another apology and I was heading to room 50 which was altogether better.

Then I met up with my twin so we agreed to meet mum in the bar. She was already there when we arrived! Within a short while members of my immediate family had gathered outside and the drinks were flowing. There was a guy at a table near us who seemed to be exchanging knowing glances but we did not recognise him. When Richard and his fiancee Camille arrived they went straight to this man who had been joined by a very vivacious blonde. They were friends of his from Holland who had just arrived from Portugal and soon joined our party. We had a great meal outside and when the weather turned cool we moved inside for a lengthy night cap.

At breakfast we met with further guests then went to change for the wedding. Mum and I drove off early but got hopelessly lost due to a dodgy satnav .. or maybe it was mum’s finger which kept changing the destination. Anyhow after a tour of the local area and the not so local area we got to the church with 30 mins to spare.My panic was further enhanced when I realised that the officiating Abbot of Chilsworth was working off an early draft of the Order. I had a copy of the appropriate one so he was happy to follow that.

Back at the bride’s the make-up artist who had been working hard since 8am was enjoying things too much and getting stuck into her art. The result was that she was running late. In the event Camille was delayed 30 minutes and I had to improvise rather too much!

The Wedding Mass was wonderful and the Abbot did a great job. Richard and Camille looked fantastic and the singing was loud and responsive. I however found that the light on the organ gave off more heat than light and was sweating profusely. I would need to change my white shirt when I got back to the hotel.

The reception was fantastic. i found myself on a table with people from Brazil (Camille’s birthplace), Spain, France, Portugal, and America (me). I loved it! The speeches were rich and certainly, in the case of Camille’s father, extremely emotional. They had asked Richard’s brothers and friends to speak an anecdote so I told of the gap between his teeth!

The evening session either revolved around the bar or the main room. A live band played as gusts rose to sing the vocals. It was a kind of upmarket karaoke and it worked well. I was particularly impressed by Glen’s break-dancing culminating in a series of headspins. Not bad for a septuagenarian!

I was in the bar enjoying catching up with family and new friends. At 1.30am there remained only Richard and Camille, myself and my twin Andy. I took Andy for a coffee in my boudoir and we chatted until 3.3am when I had to sleep.

Breakfast brought us all together again the next morning and there was a series of slow departures. The East End Jakobs were planning a walk so Andy, Mum and I joined this and it was just wonderful to connect again with them.

Around the corner from the hotel was Wonersh Seminary which I had never visited so we did and found a be-shorted man welcoming us. He turn ed out to be the newly appointed Rector in vacation mode. He took the trouble to show us around and exuded real hospitality. Later I heard that he had been a Benedictine and it kind of made sense.

Back home in New Malden I explored the high street and then joined mum for a snack. we were really tired. The following day, Sunday, we went to a Mass at Richard and Camille’s parish, the Abbey of Chilsworth. We got there ahead of time and were able to pass on instructions from the Abbot as to where R & C should stand for the Blessing at the end of Mass.

The organist was very good indeed and the monks lead the plainchant. Behind me in the benches was Chris Olding. He had been a student in Sheffield and had joined the Cathedral Choir. He had once claimed to be rather more than this and I suspect he was embarrassed at being caught out! We were both surprised to see each other . After Mass we went for coffee and chatted. I was invited to the organ loft where I discovered that the organ was a Lewis from around 1910.

We adjourned for a final meal with our new Brazilian family, Richard and my mum. It was a very English roast dinner. Mum and I drove back to New Malden and parked for a while before going out to meet up with Chris and Sue. Mum was really tired and left me to it. The wine flowed and the fish was grilled! Once I got home I found mum still up and we did the traditional Jakob thing and chatted through the night.

On Monday we both rose late. I had some business to do regarding my mortgage and then took mum out for a French meal in kingston. After this we visited some mobile phone places as mum wished to replace her 12 year old brick. It would have to wait until Pete’s next visit for the deal to be clinched!

I met up with Chris again in the local pub for a couple of pints and then returned home for a snack and a chat.

On the Tuesday I left mum for Gatwick and a much better return journey. I had soem problems with contacting Uber initially but this resolved and I extended the trip beyind my apartment to my bar where friends greeted me and I grabbed a snack and a drink.

Soon after returning home I was asleep. I had work the next day.




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