Sunday, 16 May 2010

Last Plane From Scotland

Another weekend, another wedding. This time something more of a hike all of the way up to Scotland - of which more later.

My family this time: the marriage of brother S to his girlfriend G. The wedding took place close to his workplace in St. Athernase Church in the small Fife town of Leuchars, while the reception was held in a rather nice hotel, Letham Grange, much closer to our hometown. As the wedding was planned and executed in something of a hurry, I was a little worried beforehand about how it would all turn out. But needlessly as it happens, since both the wedding and the reception worked out really well.

The service was a little terse, but that's generally my experience of Scottish weddings to date. The church itself was a bit of a gem, and I'm a little peeved I didn't have time to give a proper once over with our camera. The reception afterwards was also a little quick on the ceremonial sections (though I reckon it's better to err on the side of brevity when it comes to wedding speeches), but the party afterwards was a lot of fun, and the venue was great. Brother D was certainly something of a revelation on the dancefloor.

Photographs to follow at some point soon. Not least since I was the unofficial (and unpaid!) photographer. Hopefully I'll be able to scramble something together from the numerous shots I've taken.

In passing, and as alluded to by the subject of this post, we had a bit of a close run-in with some Icelandic ash on the way back. Because of the wedding's rather short notice, we had to do the whole thing by plane in just two days. By virtue of a few delays on a tight timeline, the journey up was a bit of an exciting race to the church, but it was nothing compared to our journey back.

Over drinks last night at the reception, one of our fellow guests happened to mention that Ireland was becoming affected again by ash clouds blowing in from the west. Though we were initially panicked by this, a quick check of Ceefax later on suggested that today was going to be fine for mainland UK, so we calmed down a bit.

However, as we approached Edinburgh Airport we were very conscious of the absence of planes taking off and landing and, sure enough, when we arrived a lengthening list of cancelled departures was developing. Our flight wasn't one of them, although it was significantly delayed, and as time wore on, became one of the few surviving intra-UK flights. To the point where other flights before and afterwards were cancelled, and we were nervously awaiting a similar fate for it.

Then, just as we expected to hear the axe finally falling on our much-delayed ride home, it was announced that the flight captain had plotted a route around and over the ash clouds and was ready to go. At the time of our departure, ours was the last UK flight on the board labelled "Boarding" instead of "Cancelled" or the ominous "Please wait".

Anyway, while I complained at the time about all of the over-dramatic media coverage of the ash cancellations last month, and the whining of some stranded holidaymakers (hey - no-one died!), the shoe was very much on the other foot today. So, while we did ultimately get back today with only a 90 minute delay, those dispiriting hours in the airport this afternoon did give me a helpful empathy-adjusting experience.

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