It was a last stab at things. Pulling up outside the gates, I looked at my Sat Nav telling me I had reached my destination. The scene around me looked like something out of The Secret Garden. There were trees and bushes growing wild, moss covering everything, a sense of abandonment and wild beauty.
I got out the car and smelt the air, it was fresh this afternoon and flowers were just being to open. I went to the wooden gate, there were no signs or locks, it opened easily enough. The stone pillars ether side were badly weathered and moss covered, but some of the carved designs could still be seen.
I turned the stone, felt coldness and grit under my fingers. I questioned if I was in the right place. Maybe this was just a decorative gate that led nowhere? Just like the single track lane I was now standing on. I wouldn’t know if I didn’t walk on.
I stepped through the gates and with difficult walk down a half hidden path which was really over grown. Once through, I came out at the bottom of a field? I looked and realised it was actually a huge lawn which rolled down a hill on top of which sat a large looking manor house.
There was no path now, so I trekked up the lawn and arrived breathless and sweating at the side of the house. Catching my breath, I really hoped there was a better way up to this place. Scaling all of that in my wedding dress wasn’t going to be good!
I walked around and came to the front of the house. There were large, flat white steps leading up to a double wooden door in a archway and other side were massive vases of flowers. It was a perfect place for wedding party photos.
The driveway was huge, a half circle with lots of parking and there were a few cars all ready here. There were open iron gates at the end, leading to a wide road which seemed to fade under the trees.
I heard the door opening behind me and I turned feeling guilty and nervous as if I had been caught doing something. I tried to stay calm as a woman in her mid-to late forties, wearing a very fitted business suit and greying hair tight in a bun, came out of the house.
‘Miss Sadie Laker?’ she asked.
‘Mrs Rose Crompton,’ she announced and came down the steps to meet me.
We shook hands and I felt more at ease. We had spoken on the phone yesterday, Rose was the manager of the house and a descendent of the current owners who’s family had lived here for three hundred odd years.
‘Did you find the place okay?’ Rose asked.
‘Yes. It looks so perfect,’ I spoke, ‘thank you for this. You’ve saved my wedding day.’
‘It’s all fine,’ Rose said, waving my words away like dust, ‘it was lucky we had a cancellation! Unlike you though and your venue being double booked, the couple decided not to go through with things.’
There was a pause and I knew she was staying at me but I didn’t know what else to say.
‘Where is your car?’ Rose asked me, ‘you didn’t walk all the way up here from the road did you?’
‘Erm, no. I think I missed the turning and came through a side entrance,’ I explained.
‘Ah. I think there’s something in your hair….’
I touched my hair, embarrassment flaring and pulled out a few leaves.
Rose smiled and turned back to the house.
I crumpled the leaves, let them fall and joined her going up the steps.
The rooms for the wedding where lovely, actually lots better then the venue I had chosen originally. By the time I left, I know my dream wedding was going to happen two weeks today. Trekking back to my car, there was only one thing left to do now; resend the wedding invitations with the new venue address on them.
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/02/28/thursday-photo-prompt-invitation-writephoto/ with thanks).