And so to the honeymoon, to our seclusion, to our Belle Époque.
Unfortunately our journey was delayed due to the prodigious amount of fine wine our driver consumed the night before (aka yours truly), so we hung around the Albert Dock until my poor, addled liver could process the celebratory poisons sufficiently enough to allow me to get behind the marital chariot.
Sarah had the bright idea of nipping to Argos to buy a drink- drive testing kit. Of course it was the only item out of the 4900 things in the catalogue that you had to order and wait three days for. By then I would either be sober or back on the sauce, so we decided to just drink tea in a cafe and wait. Sarah reached out her hand, smiled warmly and said,
“Tom my darling, are you still pissed?”
What the old dear on the next table thought of us, I wouldn’t like to think. Eventually, my double vision subsided sufficiently for me to climb behind the wheel.
First job was to use the white chalk ink marker pen (a £5.99 Buy it Now off eBay) to scrawl Just Married!! On the rear windscreen.
This, rather disappointingly, resulted in a miserable four horn parps on the way down. What they lacked in quantity however, they made up for in quality. The first beep was on Edge Lane on our way to the M62. A guy in a van leant on his horn (ooerr), gave us the thumbs up and smiled – a heart warming start to our journey.
The next was a flash and a beep from an X5 whipping past us at warp speed on the outside lane.
Another beep and thumbs up from a bearded long distance lorry driver (probably wearing his wife’s knickers) around Birmingham, then that was it until we eased onto the M5, where we received the last and indeed best tribute.
A fantastically swish Range Rover pulled up alongside. A Barbour clad Alice-band wearing woman in her early fifties beamed down at us from her butterscotch leather throne. She peered inside our cabin, presumably to see what happiness looked like. I glanced up and winked. The Barbour lady’s smile widened as she chatted to hubby. – a stern faced chap wearing a green checked shirt and the ruddy complexion of a land owner.
She seemed to be demanding him to do something. He shook his head intemperately. Then, as the bow lifted and they sped off to duel with the angry Mercedes coming up behind, the Range Rover belted out a long, short, long salute on its horn, as a gold encrusted wrist appeared from inside to wave us goodbye.
Eventually we arrived at the Bailbrook Hall hotel in Bath, where we were greeted by the international reception committee. Polite, efficient staff helped us to check in and get us to our room. I wondered if there were any actual English people working in this place?
Not that it bothered me in the slightest, it just made me wonder why no locals felt the desire to work in the hotel industry, or for that matter the restaurant, cafe and shop industries either.
I did meet one local who worked there, a kind-faced man in his mid fifties with a broad smile and a strong Somerset accent. His name, bizarrely, was Otto.
Upon booking I warned the hotel to expect a pair of sickeningly loved-up honeymooners. The management therefore were quite sensible in upgrading us to a junior suite, thereby removing overt expressions of affection to the remotest part of the hotel in order to save their guests from unpleasant displays of smoochyness.
After a very light dinner we retired to a bed as huge as it was comfy. Egyptian cotton sheets, goose down duvet, enormous feather pillows.
“Sarah darling, if you want ravishing you better hurry up because the Sandman is on his way…. zzzz”
In a blind panic Sarah jumped in wearing nothing but her honeymoon kit . Phew, what a close call that was!
Hanging on the door – Do Not Disturb