Thursday, 23 August 2012
Well, I’m back.
I never envisaged getting married would take over my life to such an extent. Terribly naïve I think. It was all worth it though, and I’m very happy, but boy did it put the kybosh on other areas of life.
So much has happened since my last blog. Funny how stuff keeps happening. As Douglas Coupland described it, ‘historical overdosing - to live in a period of time when too much seems to happen. Major symptoms include addiction to newspapers, magazines, and TV news broadcasts.’
We’ve had the Olympics, which was a mixture of amazing sport and vomit-inducing bouts of flag-waving, bemusing opening and closing ceremony and awful music, in a summer that’s been like living continually inside a particularly angry cloud.
But I must talk weddings, last time I promise. No rain that weekend, only glorious sunshine. We put a huge amount of work into it, and had masses of help from lots of people, some obvious, some less so, and it was a truly wonderful weekend that brought together people from all over the world. At one point one of my best men took me to one side and said ‘Look. You did this. It looks effortless because you put in so much effort.’
Worth every second, every penny, and every sleepless night.
The day after we got married the wife and I headed to The Millers at The Anchor, Porlock Weir for a night. A gift from one of my best men. It’s a hotel that was unknown to us before we arrived.
What a place.
Designed on the principals of ‘maximilism’, the entire hotel is a cluttered, marvellous, distracting, ramshackle delight. Filled with everything from superb antiques and stuffed animal heads to huge alabaster busts, paintings, ornaments and knick-knacks, photos from across the ages, including family pictures of the Millers themselves, tapestries, velvet curtains, chandeliers, and exquisite sculptures at every turn, there’s always something new to explore. There are even vases, pots and bowls all round the hotel filled with sweets. Perfect for me.
From the honesty bar with Martin Miller’s very own brand of gin, to the endless bookshelves, cluttered with all types of tome, all free to read or take away, to the wonderful lounge area that has to be sat in to be believed, the entire place exudes an old world charm that’s completely beguiling.
Upstairs they have their very own cinema - a dark, lounge room filled with a jumble of old sofas where they show films twice a week. Our room was four-postered, wood-panelled and full of faded glamour, with a gorgeous writing desk nestled in the bay window. We lay on the bed and drank the champagne that was waiting for us (another generous gift from a friend) and opened our cards and presents and looked at photos and glowed in the aftermath.
The views of the tiny 15th century harbour, with all manner of little yachts and working boats resting on their keels before being lifted by the incoming tide, and the sea and headlands beyond, are fantastic.
We didn’t eat there that evening, a mistake I feel, instead dining in the pub next door where we were served perfunctory pub food without smile. The next morning though, we had a splendid breakfast in the hotel’s wonderful dining room, Fruit, toast, porridge, juice, coffee and a very tasty full English. After that, a stroll along the seafront and then back to the room to enjoy our last hours in The Millers. A pleasurable drive back to Bristol followed, via Exmoor, for sun, fresh air, cream teas and a stroll around the most idyllic cricket ground I’ve ever come across (Bridgetown CC, accessible over a tiny wooden bridge across the River Exe) brought to an end a weekend filled with wonderful memories. And we still had the mountains of Mallorca to come!
To everyone who came, for all your generosity of time, and gifts, and for being part of it all - thank you, thank you thank you. I shall re-engage my cynicism for next time…
Reading: Loads since my last blog. Stand outs include - The Devil All The time by Donald Ray Pollock, The Rise and Fall of John Gotti by Jerry Capeci and Gene Mustain, and Five Boys by Mick Jackson.
Listening to: Beach Boys: That's Why God Made The Radio. Ben Kweller: On My Way. Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania.
Watching: Season 5 of Breaking Bad. The finest TV since Sopranos and The Wire