After wanting to visit the Highgate Cemetery for well over a year, I finally packed a picnic lunch with a Turkish Delight bar and headed to Highgate on a mild Sunday. Greeted by an abundance of children and wet grass, I muddied my shirt and tucked in.
Highgate Cemetery (east side) – opened in 1839 and located in the Boroughs of Camden, Haringey and Islington. Friends of the Cemetery and the £4 entrance fees assists the upkeep cost of £1000 a day. Holds rest to 170,000 people, including the notable Karl Marx and George Eliot.
The day had finally come where there would be one fewer Clutha in the world. Resulting in the remainder of two. Fortunately Hana was taking on the attractive name of Mansfield and will be joined forever in matrimony with Ben; the tall, football loving, Canterbury and Cambridge boy. Welcomed with open arms to the Weirs when he met them all at Christmas.
Nan, Mum, Byd and Matt had arriving a week in advance spent the week making willow garlands, on their hands and knees cleaning the wedding dress, and baking the infamous and mighty wedding cake. The entire week had been pouring with rain, so the stress of that as well as the forthcoming ad lib speeches and getting the remaining dinner orders could easily have been to much; but was taken in grace and full stride by the happy couple.
The day arrived. Bridesmaids curled and pouted and mother dollied up to spend the first hour together. Hair straighteners and curling methods were put into frantic practice on the only outwardly calm one, the bride herself. All were dressed to the nines in respect, including button holes and the occasional hat. Champagne was opened… and half spilled on the roof by the vivacious Egyptian. Thankfully the bride was the type to laugh, and that on top of the beautifully pregnant bridesmaid made it all the more merrier to remember.
The weather was perfect, sun and clear blue skies. We took our time walking though the gardens and arrived at a viewing point above the guests. The next part flashed by as someone in particular (aka. the bride) was on a nervous mission and the walk down the aisle happened five times faster than it could have.
The ceremony was lead by a beautiful, full of life woman. Who spoke softly about the beauties of life and the purpose of marriage. Vows were said and a kiss was had. Tarin and Sach were suited and booted the best out of all, taking the ring bearer job extremely seriously. It was time for canapés and champagne. Bottles were opened and rapidly finished and the talking commenced. School boys who hadn’t seen each other since the Langton days. The Weirs were in minority which is a rarity, outnumbered by the Mansfields and Shelly’s lot.
After everyone had filled their second (or third) champagne glass, everyone was asked to sit by a anxious Mahana standing on the alter, halted by her white trail. Once seated, she stole the crowed with the yo-yoing story of the first dates and the easily-impressed story at the Natural History museum. Everyone was in hysterics and mother was beaming with pride. Ben was next, with Gill’s laugh never too far away it was again a (soppy) success. I followed holding onto Robyn, trying to do justice to her well written and kind words. A laugh was had at a particular part when she had written “from day one, I knew Ben was the one for Mahana; and he hasn’t let me down”, this was followed with a stern look from me to Ben and an exclamation of “these are Robyn’s words, not mine remember!”. It was a hoot. Dave followed with teasing of how Ben couldn’t grow a beard…. and he still can’t grow a beard. Queue Ben’s puppy eyes. A cheers was had and it was time for photos.
Mark and Sara were the dedicated paparazzi, getting emotive and natural shots. The task was obviously such, as Mark was caught popping a few paracetamol to keep his illness and pains at bay. The entire group consisted of the Weirs, the Mansfields, the Royal Holloway lot, Bob’s Bitches, the bridesmaids, the parents, the siblings-in-law, and many more.
Gareth and his Uber paired up, arranging multiple taxies to take everyone from Hampstead to the HIGHGATE Cafe Rouge, the word highgate was lost in transaction but the mothers of the couple and Nan didn’t mind a bit as they started their first round of G&Ts in the Hampstead Cafe Rouge. Thirty minutes later, arriving at the correct place they were met with a round of applause similar to that of Hana’s arrival.
More champagne, wine, beer and port was ordered and in our long tables the food started arriving. Pared with David, Larissa, Arenal, Byd, Matt and Nan we fussed over Arenal and talked about pastimes. I had a goat’s cheese salad for entree, steak and peppercorn sauce for mains, and a creme brûlée for dessert. Not until post dinner drinks did the hip flask of Scottish Whiskey get revealed, much to Nan’s delight. A great sign to move onto the pub next door. All trickled over and some started leaving, hugs were had and people promised to meet again. The night continued for the brave few until the early hours, but of course, the Husband and Wife were tucked up in bed as it was past ten o’clock.