Free shipping from 100 euros !

The wedding invitation

A wedding invitation sent to me by Vincent, one of my English cousins, and here I am, carpooling to Rouen at the beginning of October. There’s an impressive cathedral over there, but above all, the family car is waiting for me, packed full of bags, trinkets, my parents and one of my elder brothers. We set off at nighttime and the weather does not bode well. Lightning strikes here and there and an almighty downpour crashes down on our windscreen. We arrive in Dieppe later than planned. Only five hours to wait before embarking on the ferry at 4 in the morning. I stretch my legs looking over the blackest of waters. Only the noise of waves rolling in over the pebbles reminds me I’m at the seaside. Behind me, there’s an esplanade, a circus and horses grazing. Even they seem sleepy. I desperately try to get some shut-eye, stretched out on the back seat of the car, my legs hanging out the window. I’m freezing down to my bones. I pull up my Billy and Buddy blanket my parents so graciously lent me.

_

DSC_0255

_

The boat is on time. The cars are now piling up in endless rows, their drivers faces rivalling with those of insomniacs. Inside the ferry, there are no longer money machines like in my childhood memories. After having nodded off briefly next to my brother, I head outside on the deck. The sun rising over the cold sea is of an implacable beauty. On the horizon, I catch a glimpse of Newhaven’s lighthouses and its innumerable coloured houses.

_

DSC_0268

_

Let’s head to Brighton! My brother has never driven on the left-hand side. We roll along to the incessant noise of exasperated drivers’ horns. On each side, intrigued sheep stare at us while grazing on the green grass. We desperately look for somewhere to stop and end up, against our will, in an overpriced car park. The pier looks like the one in Blackpool, which I had visited twenty years earlier with my mum. There’s a Ferris wheel and dozens upon dozens of games everywhere, flickering with brash colours, true money-pumping machines animated by joy and music. The town is at once quirky and attractive. We wander around a park, and listen to music while walking beside the Royal Pavilion, an impressive Anglo-Indian style palace. After our very first English breakfast, we head out in the cold again, strolling down little streets sprinkled with cosy cafés, concert halls, vintage shops, record shops and young people dressed like Pete Doherty.

_

DSC_0619

_

The clock is ticking, and the parking price too. It’s time to head for Oxford. After unimaginable traffic jams, we finally put our suitcases down in the inn. Inside, everything is shabby-looking, and the smell of rancid sweat makes us feel nauseous. We eat some Japanese to cheer ourselves up, and proceed to getting lost in this museum-like town where every single building looks like its been pulled straight out of a Harry Potter film. We haven’t slept properly for more than 35 hours. Our eyes are getting heavy! Before collapsing on mattresses that have long past their prime, we enjoy a few pints in a pub’s noisy garden. The night can only be better. We wake up early and abruptly. The English breakfast served to us is, without a shadow of a doubt, the United Kingdom’s worst breakfast of all time; one of the customers even complains of a spider bathing in its plate. We vaguely smile. We get changed in a field near the wedding venue, another one of our parents’ funny ideas in order to not crease up our clothes.

_

DSC_0582

_

After a few embraces and the discovery of the family’s latest additions, the ceremony begins in one the hotel’s rooms, its walls bedecked with paintings of greyhounds. The speeches are amusing and moving at the same time. The assembly goes from laughter to tears in an instant. After a little nap, what comes next is the norm:  cocktails, good food, and plenty of wine. What isn’t quite the norm is the closing time: 10pm. After having danced like maniacs during aperitif time, we go to bed with a vague impression of “work not quite finished”. The following day, we routinely head down for breakfast: bits of toast, sausages, mushrooms, baked beans… Just the time for a quick stroll around the charming village and we hit the road towards my uncle’s house in Bicester. Come evening, and my aunt Maria dishes up her best chilli con carne for us, washed down with two good bottles of wine.

_

DSC_0337

_

I could go on forever about the rest of the story: my bus to Oxford, students playing cricket, uniform-wearing school children, rugby fields, and the train to go and see my cousin in Bristol. I could tell you about the 80 young residents of that youth hostel, of that peaceful place where you drink, eat locally sourced food, and listen to good concerts for hardly nothing, of that £5 bus ride to London, of my gymnastics on the platform, of my wanderings down Brick Lane. But for now, the only thing I truly want to do is stuff myself with big slices of jam-covered toast and good old croissants.

 

Valentin Porcher


Partagez cet article sur Facebook :

À propos de l'auteur :

Valentin Porcher
Valentin Porcher
Artistic director at OLOW Trademark

Site web : www.olow.fr