Mini-digger took priority over wedding proposal

FIRST lambs into market this week. Almost exactly one month earlier than they went last year. Pertinent advice received at the weekend not to let lambs go over 40 kgms in weight had John panicked. Three that went in were 43 kgms, but whatever, they all made a good price. Despite all the ominous news about the drought and food shortages and lack of keep, our lambs have done extremely well. If the weather holds we will be into hay making this week.

Top tips were in plenty on Saturday. We were amongst a multitude of farmers. Gatherings of gossip. Furthering of friendships. Renewing of acquaintances. Joy in abundance. We were guests at a glorious country wedding where the son of one farming family married the daughter of another. Close friends. Tractor symbology abounded and dynasties no doubt founded. Huge fun had by all and an overflowing of love and emotion underpinning the whole ceremony.

Clever innovation crept in however amongst all the ritual, traditional and well loved features of weddings. Dominating the entrance to the marquee a huge message board constantly relayed good luck messages, via the internet, on a Twitter page. A customised rendition by the Sloshettes, a result of Claire’s hen night at a recording studio, of ‘It’s such a perfect day’ was a high spot of the night. A mock up of a wedding dress was out for everyone to scrawl good wishes on. And then a competition based on a sketch for Claire’s most appropriate wedding dress, threw up so many ideas that Sarah, Claire’s sister and the instigator of the competition, had to make up three Barbie doll outfits (plus Barbie) for prizes.

How she would have looked in the jogging set I cannot imagine, but Claire could not have looked more beautiful than she did in her satin and crystal dress.

Change too in dress fashions. The predominance of tight, short and fitted slips of dresses for most of Claire’s and Graham’s friends (female I add) had many an older farmer totally agog.

“That’ll fetch the ducks off the watter” I heard one wife say, as her husband’s eyes nearly popped out of his head at yet another lithe young creature tottered past him. Wellies swapped for high heels for the day.

And first impressions count for a lot even in farming circles as the bride’s father Richard remarked. After Claire’s first date with Graham, an afternoon spent in his tractor, she came back overwhelmed by the size of his tackle……. I’ll say no more. You would blush. Claire did. Good job then that Graham managed to summon up his courage to ask for Claire’s hand in marriage.

“Although all Richard wanted to say was had I seen his mini-digger” Graham told us in his groom’s speech. “I thought perhaps he hadn’t heard me ask the question, but then when I repeated it he just answered. Fine, yes, great, would you like to see how she goes?”

The mini-digger of course.