Friday, October 14th, 2016
Last weekend marked the end of my bookings for 2016. The diary is empty until April of next year, so the annual maintenance on the cars can now start. But before I reach for the spanners and oil can, I'll take a moment to reflect on the summer now past.
The 2016 season was fun and there are many highlights; the trip to the Greek Orthodox Church, the Italian wedding, the Thai wedding when the car was decorated to within an inch of its life all spring to mind. But the very last wedding was memorable too. I had to collect the bride from Ashridge House, take her to Harpenden and then return the happy couple to Ashridge. Quite a lot of driving for me, much of it along extremely bumpy country roads but that was fine. The slow detour through Hemel Hempstead to let the bus full of guests beat us to the reception added to the driving but wasn't a problem at all. In fact it was fun as the bide and groom were pleasant and outgoing and we had a good chat.
The abiding memory the day for me, however, was the slick organisation at Ashridge House. As I arrived, a young lady with a clipboard emerged to greet me. She had everything planned and ran through my part in the proceedings with great efficiency. She even gave me the phone number so I could call ahead when I was 10 minutes away, allowing her time to be prepared for our arrival. At most venues, there is virtually no communication with the drivers so this level of efficiency was outstanding.
Ashridge House isn't a place I visit very often, so I took the opportunity to have a quick look around inside. It is a really impressive place with a wonderful reception hall. The gardens looked great too and a fantastic backdrop for photographs. I see a lot of different venues on my travels but this is now one of my favourites. If only they could get that bumpy approach road resurfaced!