the wedding in France

The return trip from paleo was a snip at only 15 hours and included a beautiful section of road over the Jura, especially at La Cure, a fairytale Swiss town high up in the mountains.

The two weeks we spent back in England went in a flash, catching up with work and small birthday celebrations (punctuated by a lot of shopping) took up the majority of the time. Final arrangements for the Pavillion blinds were made and Ellen prepared to go to Manchester to create her set for the production of “Merrily we roll along” (“The Company” theatre company) a 1950s musical with an American youth theatre organisation.

On Monday morning we (Vicci , Jamie and I) left, unfortunately without Ellen and Raj this time, for Tim and Deborah’s wedding in the South of France near Cahors (West of Bordeaux and north of Toulouse), we woke up at 2:30 AM and were ready to leave by 630 AM (unfortunately this length of time is about typical for me when going on a long journey). A mad rush ensued to get to Poole for the 9 AM ferry to Cherbourg (we went this way to reduce driving time and because the boat was big enough to have a lift for the wheelchair). We would have missed the boat if it were not for a very friendly Brittany Ferry staff member who was in charge of closing up the boat, who unprecedentedly kept the boat open for an extra 15 minutes. The journey was about 4 1/2 hours which we spent eating a terrible English breakfast, napping, I had to make a work conference call, fruit machines (four pounds profit), and I drank some free tasters of expensive cognac and whiskey in the duty free (plus mint Bailey’s, going to buy a bottle for Ellen on the way back, it is delicious). After a bit of drink-driving on my part through the ferry we got back into the car (the lift was accessed through the staff quarters which took us down to the car deck). The journey was down from Cherbourg to Caen and then all the way south to Limoges, halfway to Cahors and then off the motorway at the village of Souilliac. It took about nine hours and would have been a little quicker if we had not spent as much time on the small roads.

The chateau (chateau rayesse) is a fairytale Castle and the night we arrived the girls were a bit spooked in the dark and when getting out of the car were scared out of their wits by the donkey greeting them loudly, at which point Vicci jumped on my lap and Jamie ran into the car and cowered behind the wheelchair. All incredibly funny and slightly ironic (that they sought me for protection).

The view and setting were incredible, we spent the day sleeping late on Thursday and then meeting everyone in the evening (at this time there was an intimate group of guests and it was great to meet immediate family). Everyone was very welcoming and interested to get to know us. The next day I had a dip in the pool aided by Dave and Tim 2 -not the one getting married- (Tim’s mum’s boyfriend and son-in-law to be respectively -Tim 2 is to marry Jess, Tim’s sister-), this took a little while as the mechanism involved hoisting onto a double bed blowup mattress and then this being slid into the pool and me tipped off the mattress into the water. Everyone was asking what it felt like but the feelings were not very spectacular and I didn’t feel much below my shoulders. The lapping of the water on my shoulders felt great as did having my head under the water, a feeling that I miss not having regularly.

Saturday, the wedding day, seemed to go perfectly. It was extremely hot and I was granted a seat in the shade which I was very grateful for. Everyone else was directly in the sunlight but the humanist ceremony, given by a church vicar, was succinct whilst still very beautiful. We sought refuge from the heat inside for short periods of the day in the beautiful chateau. The food was spectacular in presentation and taste, there was beer on tap and it was an all-round exceptionally enjoyable day that went on to about 3:30 AM thanks to a friendly DJ playing some decent wedding music (with the occasional scratched CD).

Debbie and Tim are a couple that seem perfectly matched, both are wonderfully smiley people who listen and don’t judge easily. They are generous and considerate and both incredibly smart, making them supply a rich warm and interesting environment for everyone who is with them. Successful people like these are usually busy so it was an honour to get to spend this time with them.

Sunday was understandably a relaxed day, Mervin and Dom cooked and served a wonderful spaghetti Bolognese. Dom’s daughter Sophie and Mervin were very inquisitive about my wheelchair, sensation and movement, and I enjoyed the discussion. Sophie then gave me a rose which was a very sweet gesture.

Mervin introduced me to a band called Tragically Hip with whom he used to be a tour manager, I would recommend checking them out for anyone into music. We also discussed plans to get me on to a trike (three wheeled motorbike) and improve my wheelchair.

We said our goodbyes on Sunday evening after debating trying to rearrange plans to stay for longer, and left in the early hours of Monday morning.

The return trip was beautiful and we were out of petrol on the ferry so had to be pushed off.

Last night I was at a Pearl Jam concert which was absolutely incredible.

Thank you Tim and Debbie for inviting me, we all had an incredible time and met some incredible people.

4 thoughts on “the wedding in France”

  1. Thanks Tom for sharing your news and delighted as always to see new photos.
    Everything is so beautiful.
    The photo of the back of the wedding gown is exquisite and worthy of a prize.
    Looks and sounds as if your two ladies-in-waiting Vicci and Jamie are just perfect.
    Take care.
    Marie

  2. Hi Tom! Great write up of France and love the pics, nice to see someone else appreciated the HUGE Nutella jar too :o)) It was great meeting yourself and Vicci and Jamie and sharing chats with you guys. I think you have given Tim (my fiancee Tim not my brother Tim lol) a bit of a complex though about his hawain style shirt he had on lol. I am not sure he will ever be able to wear it again without thinking about you lol! Glad to hear you had a good trip home and made it to the Pearl Jam concert. We are all mega depressed to be home but as everyone keeps pointing out, it shows what a great time we all had! It would be fab to meet up with you again, i think Tim and Debs need to organise a reunion party :o) Take care and bye for now, Jess x

  3. Hi Tombo, Timbo here. Thanks for this write up, really interesting to read your view on things. Thanks for the pics, I’ll add them to my site when it goes live (should be 2 days or less), i’ll let you know anyway.

    Was really great to have you at the wedding, although you took a little bit too much attention away from me and Debs :-p just kidding.

    Vicki and Jaime were awesome, was great to have them at the wedding.

    Thanks for the secret deposit you left outside my room when you left, very generous – if not unnecessary.

    The only downside was that Ellen could not make it, this was a real shame. We’ll have to have a reunion as Jess said, just so that Ellen can come 🙂

    Chat soon, ciao for now.

  4. Hi Tom, Tim’s Mum, Katrina, here. I’ve had a brief look at your site and there is so much of interest to read.

    We are stil reminiscing about the Wedding in France and how wonderful it all was. Your blog about it was lovely. As I said to you whilst you were there, all that you have been through and all that you have achieved and still aim to do make you an inspiration to the rest of us. It was wonderful to meet you and to talk with you. What Timbo says is true that your carers Vicci and Jamie were awesome too, and really made it easy for all of us to enjoy your company.
    At school today I was toalking to my new class about the brain – as part of their ‘Learn to Learn week’. The children are Yr3/4 – so about 7 to 8 yrs. Thankfully they know less than me about anything anatomical, so I was able to sound like quite an expert!!!!Ha ha. Anyway I decided to tell them your story to emphasise how vital the brain is to our existence etc. They were totally blown away by all the things which you have been through and all the things which you do, and as children do – had loads of questions to ask about how you felt and manage etc. I think it really helped them to realise just how important their minds/brains are. So there you are – inspiration again! Anyway, I’ll keep looking at your site to see how things are progressing. Sorry not to have met Ellen, but love to you both. Bye for now, Katrina

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