Yes, the wedding of our friends Phil and Beverley in Winchester, where they live now, was the perfect excuse for us to visit them.
It was also a good opportunity to meet some great people, like Pamela -Pam- Phil’s mother, fantastic woman that plays ukulele in a band and is member of a bowling club. We shared breakfast and stories with her at Mrs. Williams house.
Bryan and Cherry Alexander, Phil’s old friends and acclaimed photographers specialized in the arctic regions… finally we managed to meet you!
And Beverley’s sons, Sam and Rafe, very nice guys.
There were of course some more people (we were 22),
notably Jack and Max, Phil’s sons, with whom we have been many times in different places.
When the nice ceremony finished we all went to Phil and Beverley’s to celebrate. We started with champagne and delicatessen, went to our places for a short rest and came back for the dinner and the party. After an assortment of Spanish foods and British beers, the wedding got to an end with a bit of live music performed at the new couple’s garden. Great jazz’s standards in good company: who could ask for more?
But, did I say “the wedding got to an end“? Not really. The following day, most of us met again at their house, crossed the city and walked along the Itchen river.
Mild weather and relaxed mood was the ideal blend for close chats, maybe postponed for some time.
When we arrived to our destiny, the three Pamela’s grandchildren wanted to pose with her to get a photo taken.
We had reached Hospital of St. Cross, a medieval almshouse founded between 1133 and 1136 by the then bishop of Winchester, that is the oldest charitable institution in the United Kingdom (Wikipedia dixit).
It still provides accommodation for 25 elderly men, ‘the brothers’, that must be single, widowed or divorced, and over 60 years of age. Preference is given to those in most need. They can be ‘black brothers’ or ‘red brothers’, and wear their gowns accordingly.
“Our” was red, brother John Hird,
and, despite his best efforts, it seems that he did not always capture full attention,
although he tried to explain us the secrets of the almshouse in a smiling and kindly way.
Besides the central yard, there is a very nice garden where the visit ended.
The plans arranged by Phil and Beverley went on, and it was time for a beer and a delicious meal at The Plough Inn, my favorite pub in Hampshire, where we always pay a visit when there. It never fails.
Finally, after almost three days in a row, the wedding was over. We gave hugs, shook hands, kissed cheeks and left Phil and Beverley finally ‘visitors-free’… at least until the next day, when we were going to move to their house to start a two days trip to walk some sections of the Dorset Coast Path. Congratulations and a long and happy life together!