Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Working the Problem

It was going to be a walk in the park. Collect the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, Anne. Pick up the bride, just a 10 minute drive away. Another 10 minutes to the church and then off to the reception at Great Fosters in Egham (see "Flowers, Mangoes and a Car for The Queen" - Bomber's Stories).

However, all the best laid plans and all that...

I arrived to pick up the car to find another driver, Chris, pacing up and down with a concerned look. Due to an unfortunate error the second driver on his job was unavailable, leaving him in the position of needing to be able to drive two cars! After a couple of phone calls, it was arranged that I would drive the bridesmaids car for him and my nice easy job would be handed over to someone else.

My first stroke of luck came when I looked at Chris's job sheet and found that the church was one that I had been to a couple of weeks ago in a pretty little village called Wonersh ( and the Bride's house was just around the corner from it. The downside was that we had to get across Guildford, which on a Saturday lunch time is no mean feat.

Thankfully many road users are sympathetic to a large shiny car with white ribbons and will often yield at road junctions for us.

We got the wedding party from the house to the church without any further traumas, and took ourselves into Wonersh village for a cool drink, before planning the rest of the afternoon.
Another look at Chris' jobsheet told us that the reception was to be held at The South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding, West Sussex. (

Now this is where the pressure really started to mount, because I had not expected to be doing this job, I wasn't carrying my sat-nav and my local atlas doesn't cover East Sussex. Thankfully Chris had the foresight to print out driving instructions before he left home. This meant that I could leave them lying on the seat next to me and read them as I drove, easier said than done, but much better than getting lost.

Given that it a was a glorious day, I decided that I would drive the journey to South Lodge with the roof down. However I hadn't accounted for the mother of the bride's hat, which with a little breeze beneath it soon threatened to take to the skies. It was safely recovered and placed carefully in the front of the car with me. Soon after doing this my driving instructions fell the floor, leaving me once again in the lap of the gods. I tried to continue as best I could, but decided that after completely circumnavigating a roundabout I was better off coming clean and admitting that I was in a bit of a lather.

It has to be said that I owed a huge debt of gratitude to the little Irish lady who unfazed sat in the back of the car, confidently giving me instructions. Once we had safely arrived at South Lodge and I had apologised for my lack of professionalism, it transpired that the only person who had been to the hotel before was the bride's mother, and she wasn't entirely sure where it was. Her earlier confidence had been complete bluster.

I can only assume that the Blarney Stone has a lipstick mark from her kiss on it...