Rowley and Dorcas' wedding was a classic. I arrived in Toulouse airport late friday afternoon, relieved, nothing stolen and all my clothes are on..so far so good, I just gotta get to the right venue now.

Great Alistair's driving, yes, I'll come with you, who are those lovely blonde haired girls at the airport?, they're Dorcas's pals, nice, I can kick back and sing to Coldplay all the way, that's true relaxation.

Rowley (my stepbimages.jpgrother) and Dorcas' wedding was taking place in the heart of the rugged french Minervois countryside at the Chateau de Paulignan owned by the family of Gilles Moreaus, apparently a medal winner at the 800 metres front crawl swimming for France at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, although he remained non committal when I questioned his heroics, maybe it was part of an inflated story which got out of hand over a few pints. The size of the swimming pool suggested it might be true but the pet Llama poking his head through the simming pool railing suggested he might be..well..just a bit ecentric. Typing 'Morcea'and 'Mexico 68' into Google revealed nothing, I tried 'Morceau' 'Mexico 68' and 'llama' ,still nothing. Anyway he delivered honours on the cooking front serving up a delicious Pig on spit and got the whole shindig off to a fantastically relaxed first night, the tempo and atmosphere were spot on and I moved around the tables greeting a mix of old friends; Wendy, Hendo's, Watney's, F.A's and a blend of Dorcas and Rowley's pals from all over the place. It felt great to be here.

I had learnt at The stag that Rowley's pals weren't backwards in coming forwards on the consumption of ales front. On the contrary, they were seasoned lash-head pro's; most of these guys had bar hopped across the world to master their boozing skills; Hong Kong, manila, new york, there wasn't a drinking hole these guys hadn't been in. The first night they duly polished off the WHOLE of the booze allocation,(meticulously planned for 3 days nonstop boozing) Still no one really cared..this was the South of France after all and Diesler shot down to the Supermarket on Satursday a.m for a refill of 35 boxes of the local finist. I decided to deck out early on fri night, I know my limits, consequently I missed my father's early morning breakdancing recently updated with a new Michael Jacko twist.

Saturday was fantastic, a few hangovers over a quiet lunch by the river eased us into the mood of the service starting at 4 p.m. Most revealing, on the way to finding the lunch venue, a camp Larry Grason looking local fella who walked behind me, chris, Anne and the ushers all dressed head to toe in tails and pink ties.. 'are you guys going to a gay wedding'..he smiled seemingly convinced that the gay pride Minervois franchise had finally opened ..'er non monsieur' my brother politely replied.   For the service we sad out facing the front of the chateux splendour as Abi, Dorcas's sister and seasoned stage pro, kicked off with an excellent speach, a parable of love about Novel Piece prize winners, and this was followed by an exchange of vows, a couple of readings a superb bit of crooning on the balcony to finish proceedings off from Dorcas's sister inlaw. At this point I was a little nervous that dad might leap up from the audience and do his Tony Bennet impersonation but he thankfully kept calm. One thing struck me throughout the service was a clear sense that Rowley and Dorcas were meant to be together, they looked electric and totally in love. 

We seamlessly strode onto the marquee for a delicious menue of local tucker and the speaches. From memory, the speaches were good, funny, sometimes emotional but highly entertaining, my table was an excellent blend of people, the girls were lovely. As the speaches finished, I became enamoured in the band setting there gear up. It's weird enough having a wedding in the South of France but hiring a band who look and play exactly like Metallica..that's proper wedding entertainment is about. These guys rocked, i mean, they had all the moves, the mullet haircuts and the serious facial introspections required of any serious rock stars, OK so they were doing covers but 'We Build This City On Rock n roll' meant something to these guys. Apparently they were doing the rock circut, not quite Coldplays one but more like the toilet gig circuit down from chamonix.     

The evening continued in a blaze of drinking, laughter, food, dancing..more dancing, plees to the band to play more.. 'no sorry we gotta hit the road' and all the fantastic wedding obsurdities and shenanigans elements which make wedding's so special. I slumped off to bed realising I was one of the last still standing around and slurred to the barmen I'd be back next Easter for my wedding, book the Venue, the band and double the booze….I just need to find a willing recipient!  

Chateau de Paulignan; www.paulignan.com

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