A Weekend in the beautiful French countryside. Free wine, great food and fantastic surroundings. Oh yeah, and the wedding between Chris and Muriel.
The longest day of Chris and Muriel's life started at 10am, when I woke up.
Technically they were already married, and probably at 10.00 they were already up and running trying to sort everything out. I wasn't. I had a great night and apart for spending half an hour at 5am killing the many flies dancing around me like I was... well… something brown and smelly, I slept like a royal.
The church, somewhere in Valencay, was 30 minutes away from my place. I knew that I couldn't have much time to set up the camera in the church because the wedding was squeezed in between two other weddings.
With my equipment and my smart trouser and shirt (I made an effort this time, last time the priest didn't like my Indiana Jones look) I decided to try to crash the wedding before to accelerate the ceremony. I failed miserably, but my plan B worked perfectly.
I asked Muriel to arrive fashionable late so I could have enough time to setup the cameras.
With Chris panicking because of his watch not working properly (he didn't realize it stopped running 30 minutes before) the situation was ideal for me to say hello the catholic priest and set up everything.
Catholic weddings. Expect always the worst. The ceremony is long, long, long. And with the necessity to translate everything in English for Chris's family and guest, the running time of the service was around 69 minutes. Probably a record.
No wonder I left my underwear in the plastic Tesco bag inside the church: once the service was over I was already dying to get out of there.
And being a born catholic I should be used to it, but I guess it is something you can't really get used to stand.
Tears, broken voices and two rings. 70 minutes later, I was outside giving my best wishes to the new couple.
I like weddings. I think in some way I always envy the husband.
True, he has now lost his privileges to the bachelor club but he doesn't need anymore to hunt and pretend to score every single night with someone.
I guess that's the difference between a married man and his circle of bachelor friends.
He will score every night or so for the rest of his life with the girl he loves the most. We still have to boost the numbers to see our position in our special league going up towards the champions' league spot. He knows it, we know it.
He's now in a different league. Congratulation Chris (and Muriel)
End of deep considerations
After another photo shoot we moved to L'Allamendiere to start the serious celebration. While Chris was being forced to smile with his new wife in different positions and locations, the cocktail table was getting ready. As soon as they finished, the guests assaulted the table like sharks, and I obviously behaved like a gentleman, moving away kids from the table to get the best food, and saying hello to the girls with my mouth full of starters and Pimm's. Pure class.
The French could all speak easily in English, so the interaction between them and the English guests was good. No hate for the Olympics issue then. Good.
I'm still a bit lost thinking about the relationship between all the men and women in L'Allamandiere, everyone seemed to be cousin or brother or husband or daughter or someone else. Some of them traveled from the US to see Muriel fix Chris for life. Great effort.
We finally moved to the big tent to eat the food, drink more wine and beers, see some funny slideshow about Chris and Muriel and listen to the speeches.
I was very lucky to sit in a table between two lovely girls (Estelle and Lynne) who enjoyed the drinks and the company. Unfortunately I spent most of the time filming the party. I tried to film everything, from speeches to food, from girls to kids.
After two long days my batteries died and the dv tapes ended.
I could finally enjoy the party even more, once freed from my burden. Few guys reacted weirdly when they saw the cameraman drinking and dancing with all the other official guests, but after blowing the tent away with my dance routines learnt watching McHammer and Take That videos on MTV, everything was more than happy to dance and drink and chat with me.
I don't remember what time the party ended. I remember watching my clock back an instant after falling asleep and it was already 3.30am.
And from the distance I could still hear the music coming from the tent.
With my belly full of wine and food and closed my eyes and dreamed of every more food and wine. You always regret what you didn't try at the table…