Thursday, 29 July 2010
The Millionaire (Part 3).
It was such a lovely, sunny and warm day when Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric sixty year old millionaire, was due to marry his beloved Rose Leamington.
St Vincent Church had been thoroughly cleaned, not just a quick run-through with a vacuum cleaner, but a proper cleaning reserved only for Easter and Christmas.
Flowers adorned every available space … on the Altar, by every statue around the church, at the end of every pew; and little bouquets were also given to every lady attending as they came in.
It must have been a florist’s dream to have acquired such a contract from Luxton-Joyce … in fact, if truth be known, the contracts, because there were more than one, went to three local florists.
None of them could cope with the demands on their own. So one florist provided flowers for the Altar and statues, another made little bunches of posies tied in pink ribbon which were attached at either end of each pew in church, whilst the third florist provided the small bouquets to hand out to the ladies present.
The church was full to capacity. Everyone was there. Theodore’s relatives and friends, and his entourage of staff, of course. Rose’s relatives and friends. And everyone else in town who had heard the news and wanted to come in for a good look. Marriages are after all public affairs … and you can’t keep people out of church can you?
Yes … everyone who’s anyone was there … Theodore had invited the Mayor who was sitting there up-front in his ceremonial chains of office, the local Member of Parliament who was there too, a few leaders of the Town Council, the Chief of Police, the Chief of Fire Brigade Services and the Head of the local Hospital … Even Theodore’s local postman was there! He had been personally invited by Theodore one morning as he met him in the street delivering the mail.
Father Ignatius and twelve Altar servers were ready to make their entrance from the Sacristy. The organist played a selection of appropriate hymns and matrimonial music.
Rose stood there by the Altar looking radiant in her light pink silk dress and holding a small bouquet of red roses – to match her beautiful name … as Theodore would often say!
Everyone was ready for the bell by the Sacristy to ring and for the ceremony to begin.
Everyone that is … except for Theodore. Because he wasn’t there.
In fact he was 40 minutes late to be precise …
Rose’s Rolls-Royce had arrived on time and had been asked to go round the block once … twice … three times … until eventually she came out and got into church.
She posed for some obligatory pictures by the Rolls for the official photographer and for the local press who’d come out to record the event, and then proceeded down the aisle as normal and waited with dignity up front.
Although most people glanced surreptitiously at their watches every now and then, she stood up front facing the Altar for the last ten minutes or so. She knew in her heart that Theodore would not let her down … she did what she always did at moments of stress like this, almost as a reflex action on her part; she started reciting the Rosary silently in her head.
She’d only half-finished the second decade when there was a loud whirring noise outside the church. It seemed to hover around the building getting louder and louder as it moved from the back of the church to somewhere towards the Parish house nearby.
Curiosity got the best of most people as they stood in turn and filed out of the church from every available exit. She maintained her dignity throughout and walked into the Sacristy where she was met by Father Ignatius.
He led her outside through the Sacristy’s back door and there in the air was a large yellow helicopter attempting to land on a flat area in the church’s grounds.
Most people ran towards it to see what was going on. The priest held her arm gently and they walked together through the gardens and onto the field beyond.
The helicopter eventually landed and everyone stood there until its noisy rotors eventually came to a silent stop. The helicopter door finally opened and out came Theodore in full Scottish costume … bright red Luxton Clan tartan kilt, a red beret and carrying a giant claymore in his hand.
He was followed by another man also in full Scottish costume, albeit in a green tartan kilt, carrying a set of bagpipes. He stood by the helicopter and started playing the bagpipes.
“Not now …” shouted Theodore as he walked towards the crowd trying to find his beloved amongst them.
As soon as he saw her with Father Ignatius he headed towards her, stuck the claymore forcibly into the ground, and still holding it, and to the delight of the waiting photographers, he went down on one knee, took hold of Rose’s hand and kissed it.
“I’m sorry I’m a trifle late my dear,” he said, “… as I shall explain presently!”
Then turning to the waiting crowd he said loudly “I am sorry I kept you waiting folks …
“This here is Gregor McBurnish, the finest piper that ever lived … he rang me at home this morning after everyone had left to say his car would not start … not an English car you know … very bad show I say … don’t you agree?
“Fortunately I was already dressed and prepared to drive to church … so off I drove some twenty miles North instead and went to his home … picked him up … not forgetting the bagpipes of course … very important … what’s the use of Gregor without the bagpipes …
“And then I thought I’d never make it here in time … so a quick detour to the local friendly airfield where I picked up this little flying machine … lucky I learnt to fly in the Air Force … Gregor here taught me … he taught me to play the bagpipes too … as you’ll be delighted to hear later.”
Then turning to his fiancée he added, “shall we get on with it then?”
The rest of the day went on with no further incidents. After the church ceremony, two coaches arrived to take invited guests to a local seaside resort not far away. There they boarded a luxury yacht which sailed a few miles out to sea where they had the most memorable party ever.
And Theodore did get to play Chopin’s Concerto No 1 … not on the bagpipes though as he intended. Rose convinced him to play it on a small piano instead … which he did very well.