There was no card for me this morning, no call, no txt msg saying “I love you”. I can’t say I was surprised: actually, I’d be more surprised if there was any kind of Valentine for me, since the last one I ever received was when I was 19. No; my ex-husband may well have sent Valentines, but never to me, and I am not in any kind of romantic relationship with any of my male friends. So I usually don’t even notice that it’s Valentine’s Day.
However, I had to go to the shop just now for a few odds and ends, and there, trotting along happily with bright yellow plumes waving on their heads, were two gorgeous dapple-grey horses pulling a small, shiny black carriage. It was drizzling, so the hood was up, and my first thought was that it was a hearse.
Then I instantly realised that it was too small for a hearse and going at a faster pace, that the two top-hatted coachmen sitting on the box were not undertakers, that there were two people inside, and that one of those was wearing a long white gown. It was of course a wedding couple, and had the weather been slightly less damp I have no doubt the carriage would have been open topped. Posies of yellow and white flowers decorated the pretty vehicle – was it a brougham? I’m not an expert on horse-drawn carriages. The bride and groom were clearly visible from the front, as they bounced along, and looked as if they were enjoying the experience.
Coach weddings are a common sight in Switzerland, where you often see the whole wedding party in a procession of carriages, throwing sweeties to anyone who happens to be at the side of the road. In this part of England, however, this is the first one I have seen, although as I mentioned at the beginning, there is a growing trend for horse-drawn hearses at funerals. Hopefully the trend for carriages at weddings will continue to grow, too.
I watched this one till it was out of sight. I wish I’d had my camera. How romantic, I thought, getting married on St Valentine’s Day and having such a pretty means of transport from church to reception. That husband will have no excuse in future for forgetting this day. But what a shame about the weather! Spontaneously, my hand went up and I waved to them, silently wishing them a long and happy marriage. I don’t know if they even saw me, but they put a smile on my face. (And if that child from the park the other day was in the vicinity, she will now know for sure that I am indeed a funny old woman.)