Jeremy and I have recently come back from a lovely weekend in and around Warwick.
We traveled up there last Friday and spent a rainy afternoon poking around Warwick’s wonderful Tudor nooks and crannies. Not being 10-year-olds, we found the Madame Tussaud’s-run castle a bit of a letdown; it’s fantastically imposing from the outside, but something of a kitsch-fest on the inside. On the other hand, we completely lost ourselves in St. Mary’s Church, with its Norman crypts and fabulous medieval chapel, where a friendly guide explained the tombs, stained glass windows, and multitude of heraldic devices dotted around the room. We wandered around the old cemetery as well until the rain finally forced us into a coffee shop for a while.
When the rain let up, we made our way to the Mill Garden, an absolutely gorgeous little garden set on the riverbank at the base of the castle. Even though it was still chilly and drizzly, the garden was a joy to explore. Everything was in bloom, and the brilliant flowers lit up the grey day. I’m not especially a garden fanatic, but I fell in love with the Mill Garden; it’s a pretty haven of a place in a wonderfully dramatic setting.
The real reason for our trip was the event on Saturday: the wedding of our friends Richard and Wendy. The ceremony itself was held in Stoke St. Michael’s Church, which feels like an old countryside church though it’s on the urban outskirts of Coventry. Jeremy had been asked to read the poem Ithaca by C.P. Cavafy, preferably not it the style of Sean Connery. His pre-wedding practice paid off, and his reading was lovely—as was the whole ceremony.
For the reception, we all decamped to the elegant Sherbourne Park outside Warwick. The weather had been wet and windy the day before, but it miraculously cleared up on the day of the wedding, so we could all stand on the sunny patio in our fancy duds, sipping sparkling wine, nibbling canapés, and watching people play croquet. It was a total Richard Curtis moment, the type of apparently quintessential English experience which doesn’t actually exist outside of movies (or, presumably, the lives of very posh people).
The wedding breakfast, as it’s known ‘round these parts, was held in a bright marquee, with beautiful decorations painstakingly handmade by the bride herself. Since they’re fellow foodies, we knew we could count on Richard and Wendy for a great feast: Cornish lamb, English summer vegetables, Eton mess for dessert, sparkling Sussex white wine for toasts, a gorgeous (and delicious) wedding cake from Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton, a fabulous “cheesecake” featuring the tasty Barkham Blue, and a buffet with pork pies, chutney, and quiche. We did not go hungry. In fact, I ate until I was fit to burst. And then I ate some more.
Luckily, I managed to dance off some of the calories I consumed; a little Duran Duran is a sure way to get me onto the dance floor, high heels be damned. It was well after midnight when the music started to wind down, and though I suspect the festivities went on to the wee hours, Jeremy and I figured it was probably wise to catch a taxi back to our B&B in Warwick to avoid being stranded out in the countryside in the middle of the night.
I looked forward to this weekend for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint in any respect. I certainly hope Richard and Wendy had as much fun at their wedding as all of their guests seemed to!