Ferry Good Wedding – Keep Calm and Camper On!

Lindsey and Bradley’s wedding at St Mawes Castle with Lily on Saturday 1st September 2012

Lily at the Trelowarren Estate for Lindsey and Bradley’s wedding extravaganza!

Our elusive summer returned and ferries featured greatly in Lindsey and Bradley’s wedding extravaganza that straddled two Cornish peninsulas. Challenging logistics and appreciable distances, coupled with those inevitable unforeseen situations that have the uncanny knack to conspire, certainly added a degree of spice and excitement to the proceedings.

The day however turned out to be a triumphant success writes Chauffeur Bob…

Even before I got underway in Lily, it was clear today’s outing was going to serve-up one or two interesting and challenging moments.

On a few occasions leading up to the grand jour, I had spoken over the phone to Lindsey to run through the plan in detail and assist wherever possible.  Lindsey and Bradley are from Hampshire and like many of the weddings held here in Cornwall, arrangements had to be made remotely – certainly no easy task!

Timing was of the essence. So, with an 11:45am appointment with the registrar at St Mawes Castle on the Roseland Penisula ahead of an allotted ceremony time of midday and a bridal party pick up on the Lizard Peninsula, I suggested to Lindsey that we best depart at circa 10:00am. Particularly given that it is peak holiday season, potential delays at the King Harry Ferry Crossing and Lily’s stubborn reticence at being hurried!

Pre nuptial – Lindsey with June following behind after delivering the painted cows!

So it was at 9:50am exactly that I steered an attention attracting Lily through the impressive and picturesque grounds of Trelowarren Estate and pulled-up outside ‘That Place’. I knocked on the door to announce my arrival. ‘That place’ was as industrious as many I have had the pleasure of witnessing on a wedding morning – a buzzing hive of activity and brewing excitement laced with an understandable twist of fractiousness!

Bridesmaid, June, complete with impressive footwear, was first off the blocks and clearly fell in love with Lily the moment she caught the first glimpse of her. I could hear an excited June running to tell Lindsey and fellow bridesmaids, Nikki, Davai and Steph. Lovely Flower Girls, India and Georgie soon emerged, as did Lindsey’s escort for the day, young Phoenix.

Running 45 minutes late at this stage and still smiling – the bridal party ready to go!

We loaded a countless number of bags and assorted chattel into Lily for the long-haul ‘Trans Fal River’ trip to the Roseland and with one additional piece of hand baggage per passenger security checked and safely stowed away, we were ready for departure.

By the time Lindsey stepped out into the sunlight and boarded Lily, we had missed our recommended take-off slot by 30 minutes. Nothing too unusual here, but I was getting concerned at the ground and water we needed to cover in ultra quick time… ‘Keep Calm and Camper On’!

On our way out of the estate, Lindsey mentioned that we needed to stop by the marquee a few hundred yards away, to deposit a number of painted cow table decorations. As we approached the impressive reception location, already ablaze with brightly coloured flags and two Giant Hat Tipis, Lindsey realised that we had forgotten the flowers. Lindsey and June went to deposit the cows whilst Steph and Davai rushed back to ‘That Place’ to collect the flora.

June’s impressive footwear was clearly not suited to ‘off- roading’, but somehow June and Lindsey managed to negotiate the slippery grass embankment, deposit the herbivores in the Tipis and return to Lily just as Steph and Davia got back with the flowers.

The King Harry Ferry returning from the Roseland with ambulance on board.

A few rushed photos ensued, expertly taken by Chauffeur, Baggage Handler, Photographer and Calming Influence Bob.

It was 10:45 when we eventually got going, some 45 minutes later than scheduled… Keep Calm and Campervan On!

Just under an hour later we had arrived at the picturesque King Harry Ferry crossing, Feock.  Ideally we should have been at St Mawes Castle by now for Lindsey’s appointment with the registrar for some ‘very serious’ pre-nuptial business. Or at least that’s what I’ve always assumed, as registrars often appear very serious!

The King Harry Ferry finally gets going with Lily and bridal party.

Nonetheless, Lily had performed superbly and considering that split screen campervans can be overtaken by pushbikes going uphill, we all felt surprised at our progress given our tardy departure.

Murphy’s Law thrives in such conditions, so I was pretty much expecting to have just missed the outgoing ferry; it didn’t disappoint. However, Lily was causing her usual stir and we had a bit of fun in the sun waiting, waving and posing with onlookers and well-wishers.

The ferry duly returned to the Feock side of the Fal and we all started our engines in anticipation as its cargo rolled off.

You can imagine our surprise when we saw the ferry shut its gates and steam back to the Roseland side of the water without a single vehicle on it. You’ll be amazed at how fast this iconic chain ferry established in 1888 can shift when it wants to!

We soon learned that it had to make an unscheduled rapid departure to rendezvous with an approaching ambulance on urgent business. No doubt heading from the Roseland to Treliske Hospital in Truro and by using this iconic ferry link, saving precious time over an otherwise 27 mile detour by road.

Keeping calm and campervaning on, we arrived at St Mawes Castle at twelve minutes past midday.  A miracle of Sainthood proportions taking everything into account!

As we approached, Lily’s VIP’s erupted in shrieks of excitement and wonder at the awe-inspiring vista that unfolded before us. Built in the sixteenth century during Henry the VIII’s reign to keep the French and Spanish at bay, today St Mawes Castle was about to come under siege from a delayed but eager bridal party!

Professional photographer, Ben, and his wife Sarah were there waiting with cameras at the ready to capture our regal arrival.

Within minutes of drawing to a halt and amidst the whirring of camera shutters, Lily’s precious cargo had made their procession into the castle to join the awaiting congregation.  With the exception of the Groom and Best Man, the congregation had arrived sometime earlier from the vicinity of The Lizard via a combination of coach, a specially chartered Falmouth to St Mawes Ferry and finally mini-bus.

The bridal party procession into the castle.

Bradley and his Best Man had arrived at the ceremony in a chauffeur driven white Mustang.

In all, the ceremony and canapés lasted approximately two hours; during which time Lily caused a stir outside the castle and managed to draw quite a crowd of happy admirers.

A mega shiny Lily awaits the arrival of the bride and groom at St Mawes Castle.

Mr. and Mrs. Whitman made their way to Lily for a few photos before climbing aboard the Mustang, as previously planned, for the drive back to the Lizard and their Trelowarren, Tipi reception.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs.Whitman!

Given the reaction Lily was getting, I suspect that they may have preferred to make the journey in Lily. However, arrangements to take some privileged guests back to the reception in Lily had already been made. So, as the main congregation were shuttle bussed down to the harbour for a repeat trip, albeit in reverse order of their arrival, we set off in Lily with the happy couple in close pursuit in the Mustang.

Lindsey with hubby, Bradley and the white Mustang.

The journey back to the Lizard via the King Harry Ferry was made in sublime weather conditions and clearly enjoyed by all. En-route the Mustang had to make a pit stop near Feock for fuel but still managed to catch us up long before we arrived back at Trelowarren.

The place was starting to buzz when we got back. The Tipis looked stunning as did the table settings.

The wedding party awaits the King Harry Ferry en-route to the reception.

With the stage set and the wonderful smell of Glyn’s Gourmet BBQ permeating the air, we said our goodbyes. Lindsey and Bradley expressed their heartfelt thanks, as did many others and after a few hugs and kisses I jumped aboard Lily and chugged away in true VW campervan fashion.

Time to say goodbye.

Heading back to Strawberry leisure HQ I reflected on another extremely enjoyable and satisfying day. In particular, I was impressed with the courageous way in which Lindsey and Bradley had put together a wedding plan fraught with inherent difficulties and logistical challenges, and succeeded.





Congratulations to a deserving couple x

Post Script…

On the 10th October we received this wonderful ‘Thank You’ card from Lindsey and Bradley:-

Dear Bob and Kate,

Thank you so much for being such a professional! You were calm through a hectic morning, we would never have known how late we were running. “You were amazing”.

All our love, Lindsey, Bradley and all the bridesmaids xxxx

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