It’s a transport of delight for friends

By Keith Newbery

Published on Friday, August 31, 2012 - 11:15


THIS ISLAND LIFE A CROWD of us enjoyed one of the happiest (and hottest) days of the summer recently while attending Ray Winter’s wedding to the lovely Sarah.

To no-one’s surprise, it contained one of those quirky incidents for which Mr Winter has rightly become renowned in recent years.

It has been said by some (including Ray’s new mother-in-law, Erica) that I have sometimes made him look a bit of a doughnut in this column by sharing with an incredulous readership some of the predicaments in which he has managed to find himself over the years.

My defence has always been that I am merely the humble conveyor of such unlikely escapades and that I take no responsibility (or credit) for their genesis or outcome.

For example, who can forget the time he attempted to test-drive a Skoda Yeti in Austria — and managed to get lost somewhere in Italy?

Or the day he lost his mobile phone in a field of long grass, got his mate, Poodle Price, to ring the number and the pair spent 40 minutes trudging around with puzzled expressions before they realised Poodle was calling his home number?

I’ve known these two since they were nippers, yet I only learned at the wedding that their friendship and rivalry began when they were just six months old.

"We were in the same class at a baby show," a rueful Poodle told me. "He came first and I came second — which sounds impressive until you realise we were the only two in it."

But I fear it’s time to look away Erica, because your new son-in-law’s latest caper is about to reach a wider audience.

On their wedding day, Ray decided to indulge his new wife’s fondness for all things equestrian and, as a surprise, arranged for a splendid horse-drawn carriage to transport them from the ceremony at Lakeside to the evening wedding party held in the splendid marquee at Newclose cricket ground.

More than 200 of us had a fine old time and as the midnight hour approached, the bride and groom bade their guests a fond farewell.

Eventually, after the last few stragglers had reluctantly departed, Ray (still nobly resplendent in cravat and the rest of his wedding attire, despite the stifling heat) and Sarah (still in her magnificent wedding dress) slowly made their way to the car park — which was, of course, completely empty.

Ray — a man who spends his life surrounded by cars — had forgotten to arrange any transport home.

So how did he plan to extricate himself from this latest predicament?

"I suggested Sarah tried hitching a lift for the pair of us, because she was all in white and had less chance of getting run over. But she wasn’t impressed."

Friends of the couple will be relieved to know a rescue was eventually arranged via a pal — and that Poodle Price is as well as can be expected after undergoing emergency treatment for a severe hernia caused by prolonged bouts of hysterical laughter.

Going for gold in the rustic (and mysterious) othagon

The 1911 coronation programme
The sports day programme.
BRIAN 'Grumpy’ Greening can always be relied upon to come up with something interesting.Take a look at this page he sent me from a programme produced by the villagers of Chillerton to mark an event being held to celebrate George V’s accession to the throne in 1911.

Note the practical nature of the prizes available to winners of the sports events held in the evening.

The Usain Bolt of his day could expect to go home with a plated jam dish for winning the 220-yard flat race and you even got a butter knife for trailing in a distant third.

The prizes for the obstacle race were a saw, a hammer and a pair of pincers — all of which would probably have come in handy during the event rather than after.

But the entry which intrigues Brian and me is at number ten — the othagon.

The winner received a spade but what did he or she have to do to get it?

We have both ransacked Google and assorted search engines to no avail.

Apparently, Othagon is now a character in one of those daft computer games but this would hardly have detained the hardy souls of Chillerton during the early part of the 20th century. So what was the othagon? Was it, perhaps, a rural version of the heptathlon, in which people had to display their skills in seven different disciplines, such as digging, tilling, sowing, planting, harvesting, cooking and serving?

Help please, because Mr Greening and I are dying to find out.

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