The Perfect Summer Wedding
(perfect cars too) 

When we were both invited to Karla’s wedding in Bordeaux at the Château Pape Clément, I told my cousin Tom he should have some breakdown cover as like many of us, he was driving over.  Did he bother? Did he ever.

For the sake of saving a few quid, he took the chance of not getting any cover. He didn’t even bother fitting headlamp converters, and he knew full well English cars have to have them whenever you drive in France. Honestly, it was a wonder he didn’t get in trouble with the law.

Often when we don’t bother to do something, Murphy’s Law can pay us a visit. So sure enough, Tom broke down on the way to the wedding. It was something to do with car fuses and electrical stuff apparently, and he got saddled with a hefty bill from a garage in France as a result. He also had to fork out for an extra overnight stay in a hotel. The temptation to crow over it was nigh on irresistible when we met a month later!

Anyway, back to the wedding.  It was a very classy affair. Our Adria Compact motorhome looked out of place in the car park next to all those Porsches, Mercedes and various other posh cars belonging to Karla’s wealthy family. We’d decided to combine the wedding trip with a little holiday and planned to drive around France after the ceremony and reception, hoping to soak up some hot July sun. I remember being grateful for the short walk up to the Château, so our vehicle wouldn’t appear in any of the wedding photos. After all, we had been thinking more of our comfort on the journey ahead than the wedding itself when we chose it. We did consider it as being a more practical vehicle to travel in too.

The Château itself was gorgeous, steeped in history and built of pale grey stone. Set in beautiful grounds – all under a clear blue sky – like something out of a film. There was even a lake, the water glistening in the sunlight, just to make things a bit more romantic. A marquee had been set up in the grounds near the formal gardens which had been decorated with a profusion of fragrant flowers which did much to add to the atmosphere. The gardens were delightful and provided a charming setting for some of the photos. You’d have been hard pushed to find a more idyllic venue in all of France, even our favourite region of the country, the southwest. To top it all off, the food was delicious, everyone had fun and Karla and Mark looked blissfully happy throughout the whole thing. Even the music was lovely. In short, a perfect wedding.

My husband, however, was much more interested in the cars attending. I must admit, they were impressive. The bride and groom arrived in a silver Rolls-Royce Phantom that nearly had him salivating. It was most certainly eye-catching. He also waxed lyrical about the Bentley Brooklands that the bridesmaids were riding in. It was a steel metal grey, which complemented the Phantom perfectly. Talk about travelling in style.

Neither of the cars in the wedding convoy turned out to be his favourite though. He particularly liked a Morgan Roadster 110 he saw. He’s always had a soft spot for cars that have a vintage feel and he loves the way you can add individual touches to a Morgan to personalise it. He actually went to look at it with the owner, as excited as a kid in a sweet shop. He found me a few minutes later and grinning, started extolling the virtues of Yarwood leather. I almost rolled my eyes at him but managed to resist. I wouldn’t have thought that any motor could top that for him until he told me he’d spotted an Aston Martin DB-9 in the car park. That’s his dream car. I think he enjoys imagining himself as James Bond. What better way to do that than to sit in an Aston Martin? He duly went to find the owner at an opportune moment, smiling a bit sheepishly at me as he left. I shook my head at him, smiled and waved him off, telling him to at least be back in time for a dance.

He returned with one of Mark’s friends a while later and I swear they talked about that car for almost half an hour. From what I could gather James had taken him out in it for a quick spin, although how they had managed to get away I still don’t know. The two of them seemed to go over everything, from how easy it was to keep the silver car clean, through to how comfortable the ride had been. I remember Chris even asked how much the headlight converters James had cost him. Did he have to buy special ones? They both looked so happy that I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt them.

I did get my dance eventually, and when the day came to a close my husband and I both agreed that it had gone like a dream. Indeed, it could scarcely have been better. The only thing marring it slightly was Tom’s absence. I’d not seen my cousin in some time and it would have been nice to catch up.

After the wedding we drove off in our motorhome and travelled around the country for a bit. We finished up at the Le Ranch Camping site in Le Cannet. We returned a week later and discovered what had waylaid my cousin – via Karla – who said she’d since received a fulsome apology and explanation for his being missing in action on the big day.

I saw Tom about a month after the wedding and dutifully gave him a detailed account of all the goings on. He seemed a little disappointed to have missed seeing all the cars. He, like my husband Chris, is a real petrol head. He did thank Chris and me for the vivid recounting of the day. He bemoaned the size of the bill he’d had to foot and did admit he should have listened to me.
Needless to say, whenever he goes to Europe now he makes sure he is well covered, though to my knowledge since that incident he hasn’t had car trouble in Europe again. It appears you can teach old dogs new tricks after all!