It was Saturday morning now and my kids wanted to get up early to have a walk into Adelaide to do more gift shopping for their friends. I was assuming that at least 5 of their class mates would be diagnosed with diabetes within a week of us getting home by this stage. There were a couple of Aussie themed gift shops that sold every conceivable gift that could be connected to Australia. Anything with kangaroos, cork hats, boomerangs, aboriginal art or koalas was fair game. The first shop had some old music hall style entertainment piped in and that was enough for us to try the second shop. There was a lot of kangaroo skin products in there which put my veggie, verging on vegan, daughter off enough to stop us buying anything.
Boy child wanted to have a look around the sports shops and so we had a good poke around their version of Sports Direct but nothing caught his fancy and, as their replica kits were as stupidly priced as ours, nothing caught my eye either. We pounced on K-mart for their wide and exciting range of sweets and filled up a backpack’s worth. I picked up a dozen bags of white raspberry bullets which, if you are looking to make a million quid, is an idea you could pick up on. Red liquorice pieces coated in white chocolate that sound simple enough but taste like heaven.
Almost fully shopped out, we stopped at McDonalds for a drink to power us for the walk home. We got a frozen Coke which was about 80% ice with a bit of Coke Zero poured over the top. It was like a huge slap in the face with a wet fish in terms of a wake up and pick me up and was just what we needed. We got so excited that we ordered a round of hash browns and the whole order came in at less than a fiver. How do people in independent cafes compete with that? I was slightly ashamed but happy and refreshed.
To balance up the feeding of the corporate beast, we passed an independent book shop on the walk back and decided to pop in for a shufty. It will be of no surprise to learn that the lass behind the counter was absolutely charming and engaging and wanted to find out what we were doing in her shop (in a nice way of course!). It turned out that they were having a closing down sale but, happily, it was due to relocation rather than lack of trade. We picked up a few books and said our goodbyes and headed home.
The ladies in the party were heading out to get their hair all fancied up for the wedding that afternoon and so ’team lads’ had the afternoon alone. It was going to be a late night and, conscious of the demands that a long day in the sun would have on the boys, I didn’t want to tire them out so we had an Aussie man day. We kicked back the reclining sofa and watched the Aussie Rules football live on the TV. We had no clue what the hell was going on to begin with but the commentary was hilarious and it looked like a right good rumpus. The lads loved it and as we got into the fourth quarter the rules were becoming clear(ish).
It was the first round of the competition and, to my very untrained eyes, it all looked a little rusty as there were a lot of balls being dropped and a lot of guys falling over. An expert within 45 minutes, I feel fully qualified to comment of course! Port Adelaide started the worst but came back to win in the end, I am a fan for life now!
The ladies returned from their afternoon of beautification and looked amazing. It was time for us to start getting ready to see if the lads could raise themselves to their level. A few hours of ironing, and lots of stresses and arguments about being ready on time, we were all ready to go. We got an Uber down to the Botanical Gardens and wandered through the grounds until we found a load of seats set out on the lawns and some smart looking people milling about. We walked the long way around as the combination of soft ground and Titchy’s footwear was a problem for us, but we got there eventually.
It was a beautiful setting, perfectly manicured lawns flowing into ancient hanging trees and birds pottering about chasing worms, all under a perfect blue sky and golden sun. A lot of the guests were obviously locals, but it was easy to spot the Scottish element as there were sporrans and kilts a plenty. The groom, looking increasingly nervous at the front, was ushered into place and we turned to see the bride walking in from the back of the park, with page boy and flower girl in front of her and her white dress flowing behind her. It really was like a scene from an American movie, it couldn’t have looked more spectacular. Even a family member that was not able to travel was ’there’ via a video link and we could see him sitting at home in his suit watching from the other side of the world. My God technology has made this a small planet.
It was a very personal ceremony with touching speeches and vows. I won’t go into details but it really was moving. With the ceremonies completed, including a Scottish hand tying ceremony conducted by Titchy’s dad that looked like something from Game of Thrones, we mingled and took drinks on the lawn while the paperwork and photographs were completed. I got to talk to a number of the groom’s side of the family that I had not met before and each and every one was so welcoming and interested in our travel stories and our impressions of their country and city. Many had travelled from outside of the city to be there and their stories were really interesting. We learnt that the birds were called bin chooks (they love to scrap about in bins) and that we were unlikely to find drop bears in this park; Koalas, that do just drop out of trees onto people’s heads. I wasn’t sure if I was having my leg pulled, but they were either very interesting or very good at poker faces.
We all stopped chatting at one stage as one of the kilted youngsters, about 6 years old, suddenly ran across the front of the setting carrying a length of bamboo from the park that must have been about 5 meters long! Where he got it from or how he managed to carry it we will never know but it looked hilarious, especially with his kilted father running behind him to try and catch him to take it off him.
We made our way down to the restaurant inside the Botanical Gardens for our food and, after a champagne tower was completed, we were seated and welcomed the hearty meal that was put in front of us. My daughter, having seen the menu back in the UK had been very excited at the idea of eating celeriac as, when she looked it up to see what it was, found out that it was called Knob Celery. It’s the little things that entertain a teenager isn’t it?
The rest of the day passed in the blink of an eye. The food was superb, the speeches were a perfect balance between laughing and crying, the disco was avoided by me but everyone else seemed to love it, the drinks flowed, the conversation got more raucous and kids started to fall asleep on seats. I didn’t see any knee slides on the dance floor myself, but it must have happed, it was a wedding for goodness sake. The evening ended with the married couple, who were just a picture of love and happiness throughout the entire day bless them, were paraded out of the venue through an archway of sparklers held aloft by merry and happy guests.
The almost pickled Scottish contingent finished off with a round of Auld Lang Syne and some Celtic dancing that nearly wiped out a few of the less wary antipodian guests but good fun was had by all and brought to an end just before it got to a Braveheart style standoff of us v them. I am not sure which side off the battle front I would have lined up on, despite living so close to Scotland, I was learning to love the Aussies so maybe I could have reffed in the middle.
After what seemed a very long walk around the park to find an unlocked exit, which felt even further in crippling smart shoes, we collapsed into a cab and headed home. We had travelled half way around the world to be there at huge expense and with huge amounts of planning going into the trip. Today alone had made all of that very worth while. Memories that will last forever, you can’t buy that in a shop.