Rites of Passage!

Weddings, funerals and other memories!

There comes a time when you only meet some people you know at funerals!

slaughter2A couple of days ago, I travelled back to the very pretty Cotswold village where I was born and grew up, and to the Church where I’d been Christened and attended Sunday School; where my Siblings got married, and where my parents are buried. The visit was for the funeral of one of the old villagers, and by that I just don’t mean his age, but that he was one of the people living in the village when I was born.

At that time the very small village was a mix of Gentry, Professionals and working people. We all lived alongside each other but this being England, we mixed mostly with people from our own social group. A lot of the cottages were ‘tied’ to the Manor, which was where many of the villagers worked. The ‘old villagers’ number about three families now, and the rest of the residents are retirees and weekenders who bought the cottages as the Manor estate was broken up.

slaughter4So I’d known Malcolm, the old villager, and his family all of my life, and his children were my friends and playmates, and we learnt our life experiences together, with all that that entails! Over the years we’d gone our separate ways to live our own lives and contact had dwindled to next to nothing. The last time I’d seen any of them was at the wedding of one of his daughters, getting on for 30 years ago.

Yesterday though, was a day when we all met and remembered Malcolm and reminisced about old times. There were several other ‘old villagers’ there too, although they’d long been elbowed out of the village by the ‘newcomers’ – some of whom it must be said, have lived there themselves for several decades now and would bristle at being referred to in that way, but that’s just how it is!

It was during this reminiscing that I shared with the family, a strong memory I have of Malcolm. It was from that daughter’s wedding many years ago. Malcolm, was a good, honest, proper working man, just like many in the village, including my Dad. He had no pretensions,  he liked his pub and darts, and a small flutter on the horses at Cheltenham races.


At the wedding, it came the time for the Father of the Bride speech, and I doubt if Malcolm had ever spoken in public before. It’s well known that the fear of public speaking is right up there for many of us, so we were all probably expecting a nervous, stilted, and uncomfortable performance, but what we got was a total revelation – a Tour de Force!

He stood up without any notes, collected his thoughts as if thinking ‘now what shall I say’, and without a hint of nerves, just spoke from the heart and with great spontaneous humour. It was an unforgettable performance, had us all laughing, and still ticked all the boxes. It was a speech that any professional speaker or stand-up comedian would have been proud of. I’ve been to countless weddings since, and nothing has ever come near it!

It’s not a bad thing to be remembered for, is it?


The Odd Coupling!

Strange bedfellows can and do get along!

Neil Simon’s play, The Odd Couple, showed how two apparently mismatched roommates, the uptight and meticulous Felix Ungar and slobbish Oscar Madison, could actually rub along together, and indeed how their differences could complement each other.

Sausage_and_marmaladeThere are many such instances in all aspects of life, of seemingly unsuitable pairings working, such as with food, where Chefs now seem to go our of their way to combine unlikely ingredients; sausage and marmalade sandwiches as shown, being just one example, and one I’ve tried funnily enough – once!


The animal world has countless examples of unexpected symbiotic relationships, and I was really spoilt for choice here. But it would be a shame not to shoehorn a fluffy kitten pic into a wedding industry blog post when you’ve got the chance!

The point of all this is to highlight that although my entry into this industry is as a wedding car chauffeur, I do have another skill, which I’ve decided would be a waste not to use. And although at first glance they might seem a random combination, they do make a good fit!


During my slight mid- life crisis, which I documented in an earlier post, I decided that I wanted to be doing something more than just running my insurance business, which, as interesting and as busy as it was, just didn’t fulfill me on every level. I am by nature a friendly and tactile person and I was introduced to Shiatsu, an ancient Oriental form of massage, and I was completely taken by it! This resulted in me undertaking a three year course with the European Shiatsu School, over weekends and any other spare time I could muster, and spread around between Malvern, Bath and London.

It might seem strange that I didn’t go on to use all that learning professionally, but I already had a full time business and I justified it in that I got an awful lot of personal growth from it. I didn’t waste the training though as I used it frequently on friends and family, which seemed to go down well!

When I sold my insurance business about 10 years ago, I did eventually put my training to use and gotTactus2 an additional qualification through the ESS in Seated Onsite Massage and set up a new company, Tactus Onsite Massage, which took seated massage into the corporate and events world, the highlight of which was providing seated massage backstage on Barry Manilow’s “Ultimate Manilow” UK Tour. This led to an invite to be the backstage massage provider for Van Morrison on his tour, but unfortunately, I was indisposed and unable to take up the offer. At this point in my life, events overtook me and I had to close the company.

So, back to the point!

2005_1121shiatsu0030_22One of the great benefits of any form of massage is that it can de-stress, and what more stressful time is there than the run up to a wedding?

This photo is of my course tutor and it shows the mechanics of how seated massage works, and that the recipient is clothed. Sessions are usually 20 minutes per person, and would be ideal for a Bride and /or Groom, plus any other person involved who needs to chill just a little, especially in the last few days before the big day! Alcohol and massage don’t mix though, so not at Hen or Stag dos!

It’s called Onsite for a good reason as it’s mobile, meaning we take it to the clients home, workplace, wherever!

So that’s it – I’m venturing into the wedding market wearing two hats, and I’m certain they go better together than sausages and marmalade!

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Get me to the Church on time!

A Short History of the Wedding Car

This won’t take long!

In researching the history of the use of Wedding Cars, I’ve found there’s very little that’s documented – so what else shall we talk about?

OK, I’ll give you what I’ve found!

Believe it or not but there was a time when hiring a car for your wedding was not a thing! Most Brides married in their local Church, which either they were able to walk to, or if not, then they traveled by horse and cart or carriage, depending on your position in Society. But back then, it was just a means of getting to the Church for the wedding to begin, whereas nowadays, hiring a special car is part of the theatre of a wedding and much more than just a matter of getting from A to B.

The one historical fact I’ve been able to find, which is quite amazing given the paucity of historical data, is this photograph of what is claimed to be the first use of a motorised vehicle at a wedding!


And courtesy of the Daily Express:

“Experts believe the 1903 photo of a veteran Daimler shows the first time a motor vehicle was used in a wedding. Now 110 years on, newlyweds can recreate the retro look by having snaps on-board the 1897 classic at the Haynes Motor Museum, near Yeovil, Somerset.

 Staff at the museum delved into the car’s history after it was donated by Bristol Museum. They found it was used at the wedding of James Andrews and Miss Rosa Gough in Weston-super-Mare in 1903 – and they were able to track down the original photo to relatives in New Zealand.

     ‘We believe it to depict the first documented use of a wedding car’ 

                               Mike Penn, Haynes Motor Museum

The Daimler Wagonette dates from a time when cars were still known as “horseless carriages”. With a top speed of 11.6mph, it could get Brides to the church on time – as long as they set off early enough.”

This car is now in a Museum but there are still plenty of very old Vintage Cars doing service at Weddings. If you think about it, many Brides entrust their arrival at possibly the most important appointment of their lives, to a vehicle which could be anything up to 100 years old! Such faith, but usually it’s not misplaced as these vehicles are loved and cherished and well fettled by their owners!

You’ll notice that the above car had no white ribbons attached to the car, whereas it would now seem strange to not have them.


There is even less historical date on the use of these ribbons, but they appear to be used for no other reason than to let the World know that it’s a Wedding Car and the Bride is on her way to get married – “I’m not only doing it but I want you to see me doing it!”

That reminds me of something different altogether…

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