“We cannot consume more than 2 alcoholic drinks” the text message had said, which was fine by me. The idea was not to go out and get drunk, but to hang out and have a bit of a natter.

Indeed things started off quite well. We met up at 3.00pm in the hotel bar, and had a soft drink each. And if things had continued in the same fashion, then the night might have been very different. But at some point, near the end of my second cup of tea, a member of staff came by and deposited a wine menu on our table, and our meetup took quite a different turn.

”Well we could perhaps have one, and see how it goes.”

I can’t remember which of us said it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was still only late afternoon, within office hours, and a bit early to be drinking. However, a single glass of white wine would be okay.

Unfortunately it wasn’t just a single glass. The first led to the second, which then led to the third (during which another friend briefly joined us). We then moved location, and began work on the fourth, fifth… and at this point I lost count. A second mutual friend also showed up a some point for another visit, but they had the good sense to have just the one and go home again.

Anyway, so the evening ended with a rather surreal conversation with some strangers – one guy from Slovakia, another from Portugal, and a third from America. I wasn’t capable of proper conversation at this point, but it didn’t stop me trying – no doubt to the chagrin of the multi-cultural gathering I had invaded.

But all in all it was a pretty amazing night… what my lovely friends here in Dublin refer to as “deadly”. I just wish I could remember more of it.

James & Fiona

Last Friday, the 28th December, was the wedding of James Hutchinson and Fiona Robertson in Old Saint Paul’s church in Edinburgh.

I flew over from Dublin on the morning of the ceremony, and arrived at the church about half an hour before the service. Those of us that had been asked to sing during the register signing had been asked to gather early for a quick run through. There would be no choir as such for the service, but instead a select bunch of James’s musical friends present in the congregation who would come forward to perform a piece – in this case Parry I Was Glad. The full harmony of the hymn tunes was also printed in the service sheet, in case anyone wanted to sing harmony.

The service was very beautiful, and very well attended. The bride looked wonderful, and walked very gracefully over the heating grate in the centre isle – which is well known to be just the right size to ensnare unsuspecting wearers of stiletto heels.

After the service, the reception was held in the Merchants’ Hall on Hanover Street. Guests were served a vegetable broth for starters, and pork for the main course. The food was all delightful, but a surprise lay in store for us. It seems that neither the bride nor groom are particular fans of fruit cake and as such had, instead of a wedding cake, cheese – and lots of it. A veritable mountain of different cheeses, complete with oat cakes, and a goodly supply of port too.

I was in seventh heaven, of course, as I’m a huge cheese fan (and rather like my port too). And so I ended up spending rather too much time returning to the cheese table.

Luckily, however, those of us that had over-indulged were also given the opportunity to work off some of our gluttony when the ceilidh started. The band played well, even if we couldn’t hear a word the caller was saying. The PA system wasn’t terribly good, so half the time you just had to guess at what dance you were being called forward for.

The evening finished with the traditional rendition of Auld lang syne, and the departure of the bride and groom.

They are presently honeymooning in Marrakech.

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