An Islay Wedding

Oh, my goodness it has been a busy time. With lots of lovely guests, a pottery overflowing with afternoon teas. Cake stands brimming with sandwiches and lots of delicious home baking. ‘Delicious’ according to the Happy Farmer who seems to be frequently getting caught as I watch him smuggling cakes out of the pottery and across to the farmhouse kitchen.

Behind the scenes, washing machines have been hurtling off their hinges, trays of baking have been flowing from huge bags of flour and sugar, whilst the animals have all been enjoying lazing in the sunshine. So much so the Happy Farmer and the pony got quite a fright last week. Muffin was so busy snoring, flat out in the midday sun, the Happy Farmer had to take a closer look. With an aging population of ponies and our dear old Doughball cat they do take a bit of extra care and looking after. Muffin bless him obviously couldn’t hear the approaching Happy Farmer as he slumbered away. He was lying like a sack of old bones, the pony that is, not the farmer, enjoying the sunshine. For one awful minute the Happy Farmer thought he had gone to the happy hunting ground, that is until Muffin bless him nearly jumped out of his skin. What a fright the pony got waking up next to the Happy Farmer!

Last Thursday then I got to catch my breath. To stop. To get my glad rags on and grab my kilt clad handsome Happy Farmer and head to an island wedding.

There is something quite magical about an Islay wedding.

With a backdrop of sea glittering away, stretching out over the horizon on a sunny, blustery day. The blue waves blending into huge bright skies. The sea and skies are at their most vibrant deepest blue in the springtime on Islay.

A makeshift altar at the end of the pier. A whisky barrel with a large old copper distillery jug filled with the most beautiful rhododendron flowers. Lining the old cobbled stone pier, were neat rows of chairs, facing out to the ocean, in front of Ardbeg Distillery.

The sound of the bagpipes as the bridal party made their way from distillery to shore. A lovely, unique cascade of beautiful spring flowers for the bride, blending with and complimenting the spectacular surroundings of Islay’s beautiful coastline. Kilts, bagpipes, the sea air and a beautiful couple made for a truly special occasion as the groom tenderly took his bride’s hand, and together they exchanged their vows, just as an old schooner sailed out of the harbour and around the bay.

A while later, making our way back to the Distillery, we were greeted so warmly by Jackie and her amazing team at Ardbeg as prosecco flowed, drams were poured, and canopies served. There was great chat and good banter.

At No:1 Charlotte Street the large dining room was beautifully decorated with pom poms and fairy lights. Fresh Jasmine and roses adorned beautifully laid tables. Speeches and toasts, love and laughter as family and friends shared in such a happy day. A truly delicious feast of Spanish tapas followed, celebrating Islay’s local produce with seafood paella, mussels and prawns, succulent lamb casserole, amazing salads and seasonal vegetables.

As the day faded, and the cake was cut, the ceilidh began. Tiree band Trail West made the journey to Islay to lead the dancers, with accordion, guitar, flute and drums, through St Bernard’s waltz, strip the Willow, Canadian Barn Dance and Gay Gordons. On the arm of my kilt clad Happy Farmer, it was a lovely evening of dancing traditional reels. We left as the party continued into the night. The Happy Farmer was heading to the mainland on an early ferry.

Today I get a chance to catch up with blogs. The only distractions coming from a cat seriously thinking of belly flopping out of the bedroom window, and Ruby dog, who sneaked in as I made a morning coffee, and is simply refusing to just lie quietly, as dog walks are calling.

As I get a chance to reflect on Thursday, I am reminded that there really is something quite magical about an Islay wedding. There is something so special about being there to witness the exchanging of vows out in the beautiful elements and then being invited to join in the celebrations as the adventure of the journey of marriage begins. What a special day.

Thank you, Marguerite and David.

Until next time…