Gwynedd is upset but not as much as her daughter the bride.
"What do you mean they haven't got the kilt?"
I can hear her over Gwynedd's mobile phone as can anyone several blocks either direction of Prince's Street--and certainly the unfortunate man at Edinburgh's Moss Bros fancy dress hire who is the bearer of extremely bad tidings. The wedding is imminent and the groom, demands the bride, is wearing the kilt. I am here only as a bit player--the drama is between these three: mother, daughter and Moss Bros.
What am I doing here anyway?
It had seemed perfectly insane--but also enticing. I'd called Tom on an early September day to share the amazing news that Julia and Will were getting married--in Edinburgh in early October and he'd said, "Let's go". Let's go? Travel to Scotland for a weekend? "Sure--we've got airmiles." Well, we do have airmiles and we could probably swing a Friday off work but, as I pointed out to Tom--we hadn't actually been invited.
He called Gywnedd, Gwynedd called Julia, I checked with the airline and we were booked more of a loooong weekend as we would be leaving on a Tuesday night when there were available seats.
Which is why I am here whiling away the time looking at the display book of Worse Case Scenario Weddings at Moss Bros where people usually hire tuxedos except in Scotland where they hire kilts. The groom had ordered his kilt at the Swansea (what do the Welsh know about kilts?) branch of Moss Bros and they'd gotten it wrong. The attendant says he may be able to cobble together a substitute after a frenzied series of calls to Swansea to secure measurements but not the family tartan. He suggests the Scottish National tartan and Gwynedd--in hyper mode now--automatically nixes it as she is Labour Party through and through but then comes to and realizes he means a different Scottish National (not the secessionists) and as the tartan looks very much like the one originally ordered, we take it and drive home through driving rain and two rainbows feeling pretty smug
Moss Bros tells us:
Contemporary Highland dress comes with an impressively dashing array of accoutrements:
Tartan kilt fastened with a kilt pin
A decorative sporran (useful as a wallet and as a weight to prevent the kilt from swishing out of control)
Knee-high hose, secured with coloured flashes
The skean dhu (black dagger) which is tucked into the hose easy to grab in battle
Tartan trews as an alternative to the kilt
Shirt and tie (or bow tie and wing collar for evening)
The groom is there when we arrive and after dinner and a healthy sharing of a few drams of the very smooth Bunnahabhain (Bunahaven) single malt he has brought with him, the men take him aside to try his outfit on. He strides into the kitchen in his clan finery-- lurchers and spaniels intent on licking his shiny shoes and it is clearly apparent to all of us--but none so much as the bride--that it will not do. The groom is a strapping great lad--a kite surfer and outdoorsman on whom the kilt fits more like my mini in 1966. The bride is not happy--it will all have to go back.
The ridiculousness of the big man in the small outfit however makes all the whiskey cheerful men decide to put the outfit to good use. They leave for a bit and shortly later return with Tom happily decked in the kilt below and his new All Scotland football team birthday shirt on top. Tom has secretly always wanted to try on a kilt (don't all men?) and he enjoys himself parading around, striking Robert the Bruce poses for the camera and displaying his hairy shins as Moss Bros also forgot the knee socks.
There are many funny jokes made, more Bunnahabhain consumed and as it is also Tom's birthday, a candle lit cake. I suspect that Tom's wish as he blows them out, is to keep the kilt.
The wedding goes off without a hitch at the Registry office, as does the wedding lunch and the wedding dancing even though these Glasgow Uni grads have no sense of dance music. Julia demands a Gay Gordon and we have a march around the marquee. It is freezing and the dancers are clad in puffy down jackets as we warm to the music.
We party late, enjoy every minute and leave early the next day casually arriving home in time to sleep, get up and go to work as though we are old hands at this whirlwind transatlantic travel thing.