I arrived at The Highland Fling and there was a definite buzz in the air. That would be because Hannah and Ross had just arrived too and were a leeeeeetle hyper.
Ross was already dressed for the occasion and Hannah looked like she was too until she disappeared and returned…..in her wedding dress! And she wasn’t the only one to make the effort; the bungee fellas were all ready for a wedding, kilts and everything. It was abundantly clear to see they weren’t intending on jumping, if you know what I’m sayin’. <nudge nudge>
We all filled in that waiver, the one that makes you nervous, had numbers written on our hand* were secured into our harnesses and off we went in the minibus to the big bridge that towers over the River Garry. Lovely spot of the world to throw yourself into nothingness.
Once we’d all made our way up the leg (?) of the bridge, we followed the very narrow walkway along the underside until we reached the platform suspended from the middle. Safety checks….done. Not looking down…..absolutely. Just looked down…..gulp.
And that’s when it became less about the crazy-assed surroundings and all about Hannah and Ross and their lovely wedding. And it was lovely. They had sent me their Suffolk ceremony and, as it was so beautifully crafted by their friend, Clive, we used a lot of it when we were creating this one. Ross and Hannah had brought with them a plaited ribbon and, with the help of Michelle, they were handfasted before they read their vows. They rewrote the ones they said on Saturday and they said them to each other with smiles on their faces as broad as the bridge. As a wee surprise, prior to the ceremony, Loz and Callum, two of our kilted bungee dudes, chose a reading each, and they read them beautifully.
It was a ceremony that, for all it was in an odd location, was genuine, romantic, touching, endearing and honest. Perfect.
I declared them married and there were HUGE cheers from the busload of German tourists standing on the banks as they spotted Hannah and Ross locking lips for a great big smooch. They signed their marriage schedule before it was safely tucked away again and, rather than walk up the aisle, they shuffled across the platform, like Siamese penguins. Which is odd given penguins can’t fly…..
Unlike Ross and Hannah! Seconds before they jumped, Hannah realised that, whilst her concerns about folk seeing her pants were very real, she had failed to take into account the effect gravity might have on her strapless dress. ‘If my boobs all out, you stop filming!’ she instructed Callum who was videoing their wedding. Callum, a typical young man, replied, ‘Aye. So I will.’
And, as they jumped, all the distractions that made me temporarily forget my own impending doom, well, they all disappeared and, in their place? Fear. Holy crap, it’s a scary thing to be standing on the edge of an actual abyss. It’s scarier still to jump. But it was my turn and, once I’ve said I’m going to do something, I do it so, I jumped and I opened my mouth to scream…..
….and instead, as I hurtled through the air, I made a sound like a large cow being thrown from a bridge, a sort of ‘Mooooawwwaaaarggggghhhhhhoooooooomph’. The gentle tug of the bungee, the one that meant I was still alive, it was glorious and comforting and not at all retina-detaching.
Looking like Andy Warhol and Boris Johnson’s bouncing love child, I was hoisted back up and, after watching Ross jump again- aye, nutter- and shaking uncontrollably for a little bit, we clambered up and down ladders and back to terra firma and an ever-so-slightly emotional Flora. I think she was a little worried but disguised her fear by telling onlookers that she ‘hoped her Mummy didn’t have too much fun on the bungee jump or she might forget about the Ikea Crayfish party the next day’. Priorities, kiddo.
Cuddles all round and, after wishing the happy couple well on their epic honeymoon, I treated Andy and Flora to lunch at the Blair Atholl Watermill. Seriously, this is one of our favourite places in the world. Go. Eat. Marvel at the working watermill that grinds the flour that makes the bread that we don’t share.
Hannah and Ross’s wedding was extraordinary. They are two of the nicest, most up-for-anything people I’ve ever met and, although it all went a little bonkers after (phonecalls from journalists, BBC, ITV, my pals), they were just genuinely thrilled that they were married and they’d been able to do it they way they really wanted to. I don’t imagine I’ll have many requests like theirs but, do you know what? Bring ’em on!
The ‘joke’ was the numbers made mortuary identification easier. Oh, ha. Ha. Ha.