The next morning we had to take down all the decorations and generally tidy up.
While moving the side board, that had been used to support the camera for the instant photo booth, back into the side part of the barn I stubbed my big toe.
That slowed me down for a while.
Mid morning, some people turned up for the promised barbequed bacon and egg rolls. But this wasn’t going to happen. Instead there were a couple of trays of savoury wraps and other breakfast like items. Quite a few hangovers were being nursed. Some people didn’t rise as early as others.
At lunch time, a party of a dozen or so set off to a pub to meet one of Steve’s mates, an Army chap who was on assignment in Canberra.
With the ceremony planned to begin at 2:30pm we still had quite a few tasks left. Graham and I went to Mittagong to purchase several bottles of wine, to replace those which had been imbibed the previous night, 20 large bags of ice and more bacon.
Then, after more setting up, the groom’s party, plus Graeme and myself headed off to Bowral for breakfast, a sneaky beer and a bit of a soaking from an uninvited rain storm.
By 1:30 the place was ready for the wedding guests, who started arriving, quickly filling up the car park and overflowing into the overflow car park. The iffy weather started to clear and the sun broke through the clouds.
When the guests had gathered in the meadow overlooking the lake, the wedding party made their entrance. There were two bridesmaids, to balance the two best men, two flower girls (Ava and Isla), and finally Rachel accompanied by elder brother Graeme.
After saying their vows to each other Rachel and Mike were duly married and the party began, with drinks in the meadow.
All of the wedding guests had been assigned two tasks by the official celebrant.
Make friends with someone you don’t know
Take a silly photo.
Here’s my attempt at task number 2.
The wedding party went on late into the night. We were watered and fed to excess. Some of us smoked huge cigars. We met many of Mike’s and Rachel’s friends and danced with quite a few as well. By the official end some were less sober than others. Bed about 1:30 am for me.
On Friday we travelled south to The Highlands Lake House, on Shale Lane, just outside Mittagong / Bowral.
We stopped for breakfast at Mittagong, then visited Aldi to purchase some groceries – bacon for Sunday, salt for margaritas – before driving to the Lake House to meet the others preparing the barn and the lakeside area for the wedding.
While Mike’s mum Bea baked several wedding cakes in the Lake House, many others took on several jobs outside and in the barn area – setting up outdoor lights for the evening, preparing the wedding arch, creating signage, moving fire pits and generally looking busy.
By 5pm I was worn out and feeling slightly unwell. Soon after Louise presented Rachel with her hen party messages from those in the UK who couldn’t attend the wedding, I crashed out in bed.
The others went to Bowral for dinner. On their return they partied for hours.
On the Wednesday we had a family outing to Taronga Zoo, Mosman. Once again Gr. and family set off early. We went round to Rachel and Mike’s and got a lift with Bea and Alfie, arriving at the North entrance a couple of hours later.
We did eventually meet up with the Cowes for a late lunch, then visited the Chimps, Tigers, Giant Tortoises and the free flight bird show, before catching the ferry back to Circular Quay then tram and bus home.
Dinner was a chicken pasta dish at Rachel and Mikes.
In 2020 we walked with Mike and Rachel from Coogee to Bondi beach. This year we did the reverse journey. Before arriving at Bondi beach we stopped at Bondi junction to buy a few essentials:
Another SIM card
A picnic lunch from Kibbutz Bondi
Some fruit for our picnic lunch
Jeremy Clarkson’s second book on Diddly Squat
When we arrived at Coogee we got straight on the next bus to Maroubra. Just as it left the bus stop we spotted Louise waving to us from the bar opposite. We’d followed in their footsteps but alway at least an hour behind.
We arrived in Sydney around 7:10 am and after waiting at the wrong carousel for our luggage for around 10 minutes cleared customs and went to buy an Aussie SIM card. Graeme, Louise, Ava and Isla appeared a few minutes later having already met up with Rachel, Mike and Alfie. We loaded up the cars and were whisked away to New Orleans Crescent for a refreshing shower and change of clothes.
We then set out for a walk to Maroubra beach and the mandatory paddle. Isla wasn’t quite prepared for the power of the sea and had an early dip. For the next couple of hours, while her dress dried, she wore Graeme’s spare top.
After a coffee we headed back to Rachel and Mike’s then on to our Airbnb on Marine Parade, overlooking the Mahon Pool
That evening, we all headed to The Bay Hotel, for a couple of drinks and something to eat.
The next morning, after a swim and breakfast, Susan wanted to check out Marks and Spencer in the shopping mall in Orchard Road. But we found it didn’t open until 10, so headed of to Little India first.
Having done the full tour of temples in 2009 we only visited one of them before catching the MRT back to Chinatown for another lunch at the Maxwell Food Centre.
Later back at M&S Susan decided not to purchase what she was looking for.
After a rest back at the hotel we set off for Raffles, to sample the Singapore Sling that we’d skipped on our previous visit.
The place had undergone a major refit in recent years. It no longer looked dismal and cold. We queued for a while but eventually were led to the 3rd floor Long Bar where we ate monkey nuts and chatted to an Aussie while waiting for our drinks.
Having decided that one Singapore Sling was enough we set off to Satay by the Bay again. As we exited the Gardens by the Bay MRT station (on the TEC – brown line) we noticed the moon above the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Venus just behind the moon. The photo doesn’t do it justice.