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That was... very English, and very American, and completely wonderful.

Very English: the previous week's blazing sunshine giving way to a steady and insistent drizzle which necessitated umbrellas all round:




or Stetsons, for those so inclined:


(this has drawn comparisons with Terry Pratchett and Garth Brooks. I'll take Pterry, please)

and the cancellation of the planned post-wedding football match. Although we did still manage a quick drunken kickaround in which the (barefoot, gowned) American women ran rings round us more sensibly attired (and, we would have hoped, more competent) English men:



Very American: the bride's brother-in-law (prison officer, ex-Marine, bigger muscles than any three of us put together) firing his shotgun in the air and lobbing flash-bang grenades around.

Very English: an impromptu London Loves set afterwards, with obligatory "join in a circle and bellow along to Don't Look Back in Anger" action:



Very American: the fact that this was taking place beside a swimming pool:



and followed an impromptu hoedown:



Very wonderful: the air of joyful chaos that kept threatening to break out and play havoc with the carefully and lavishly planned arrangements - tears:



and laughter:


a near-tumble or two on the muddy grass, the aforementioned cat deciding all these people must be here to see him and marching cockily between the happy couple right at the vital moment of the service; the service itself, which had been drawn from a sort of choose-your-own-wedding-adventure book* and ended with an entreaty to "be excellent to one another".

And, most of all, these two. Together. Happy. Long may this last.





*"If you want to spend the rest of your life with your true love, turn to p119. If you want to run screaming into the hills pursued by the shotgun-toting father of the bride, turn to p87"
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Out of the hostel, Greyhound, cigarette, car, cigarette, Richmond KY, with just enough time to drop my stuff off before the rehearsal dinner, featuring a bunch more Brits a long way from home,



some gorgeous views,



and a well-fed cat convinced he's in charge of the whole thing:


(he may not be wrong).

Then it was on to the boozer, a fun Irish pub* which appears to be Richmond's only bar worth a damn, meaning it's got the full gamut of Southern stereotypes†. Plus a thankfully permissive attitude to an idiot Englishman who'd left his ID at home. I was briefly impressed by their savvy when I spotted that one wall had a huge display of An Phoblact front pages from the height of the Troubles - finally, an American Irish bar that actually has some clue about Ireland! - until I looked in the other direction:



Yep, um. That'd be the Red Hand of Ulster. Not sure how that goes down with whatever Irish clientele they have.

Anyway, that was all yesterday. Now it is today and in a couple of hours we'll have to drag ourselves away from the flagwaving-fest on TV** and head off for the WEDDING. Which is to be held outdoors. On a day when the forecast is for thunderstorms. How perfectly English it would be to have rain stop play.

*whose main concessions to Irishness beerwise were, um, London Pride and Newcastle Brown. Might want to work on that, guys

†and both kinds of music: country and western

**happy July 4th to such American readers as may care about such things!

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