Friday, July 16, 2004

Hitched hike

After the debacle of Russ’ stag weekend, I suppose it was asking too much for the wedding (a couple of weeks ago) to go off without a hitch. Last year, on the morning of Australia Jo’s wedding, Penny drove to Heathrow to pick up Mike whose flight from Jersey was actually landing at Gatwick. What ensued was a breathless mercy dash from Heathrow to Gatwick, then to the church arriving with just seconds to spare (then I realised how long the service was going to be and made an even more breathless and sweaty mercy dash to the local pub for a wee).

On the Saturday before Russ and Sam’s do, Emma and I were discussing the logistics of getting to the wedding on Sunday. Penny and Mike would fly into Heathrow at about 9am, they would make their way to a local Travel Lodge and we’d pick them up on the way to Egham arriving in time for the kick-off at 3pm.

I joked, thinking back to Australia Jo’s wedding, “They’ll have loads of time, unless Penny’s booked them on a flight to Prestwick by mistake”. 9pm Saturday night, the phone rang. A tearful Penny was calling from Jersey. “We’ve got a problem” she said “we haven’t got a flight tomorrow”.

It turns out that they thought they’d booked their flight on the internet. Realising that they didn’t have a reference number, they phoned British Airways. But BA didn’t have any record of them booked on the flight.

We discussed the options. Ferry? Too long. Another flight to Heathrow or Gatwick? Too expensive. Could Emma’s friend who flies a Tiger Moth get over to pick them up? Possible, but not probable. Only one option was available, a flight to Coventry arriving at 9.45 on Sunday, with the return at 7am on Monday. So I had to pick them up at on Sunday morning, and for the second time in the Russ and Sam wedding preparations, we had a pre-5am start to get to the airport the following morning.

So Penny and Mike finally in situ, the wedding at the splendid Great Fosters Hotel went off with the elegant efficiency perfectly fitting for the bride and groom. Even if it was difficult to explain to the bride’s parents that the reason you’re there is because your oldest friends met them getting dressed in a toilet.


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