The journey was pretty incident free, and after a couple of boring hours on the M5 we all enjoyed a fabulous fry-up at the utterly brilliant Woodleigh Coach House on the A30 near Cheriton Bishop. This is a superb family-run B&B, Café and Tea Rooms – pleasant surroundings with friendly staff and delicious home cooked food. I would highly recommend this hidden gem to anyone needing a stop-off on their travels.
Back on the road, and we found the venue with no problems – well done Satnav! The best man welcomed the band to the family farmhouse home, and showed us where to set up. The barn had divided into two sections – the first was the dining area with circular tables and chairs and a long table to serve the buffet. The main high roofed area to be used for the band , bar and dancing been beautifully decorated with home-made bunting, wild cow parsley flower displays which smelt divine, and bails of straw placed strategically which softened the harsh concrete floor and added a real sense of country comfort.
A stage had been provided in the performance area, and so after unloading both vans, we set up our gear ready for the 6 piece band performance. A quick sound check confirmed everything was working, we balanced individual instrument volumes to ensure a good mix, and then popped on some cool jazz background music whilst wedding guests entered, mingled and then took their seats ready for the wedding breakfast. We tidied up the stage area, taped down leads, hid our boxes and then made our way to the B&B to settle in, get changed and be ready for the evening performance. I quickly rang my son to say hello, catch up on his news, and of course send my love and tell him I miss him.
We made our way back down to the barn to perform, waited for speeches to finish and then got the party started! The band played the Bride and Groom’s first dance request live (You’re just too good to be true – Andy Williams) and then blasted out two rip-roaring sets of party classics to a packed dance-floor! The brass section definitely makes a difference to the band’s overall sound, and hearing them play together in harmony on soul tracks such as on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ is amazing. The combination of the sax and trumpet is a wonderful addition to our standard line-up, allowing us to include other tracks that feature brass such as ‘Move on Up’ (Curtis Mayfield), ‘I Just Wanna Make Love to You’ (Etta James) and they can also be incredibly effective on more modern tracks such as Beyonce’s ‘Crazy Right Now’.
The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We received a standing ovation from the wedding guests, and after much kissing, hugging and thank-you’s, the Bride and Groom made their way to their Hotel and Mum provided the band members with hot Cornish Pasties! Eventually people started to wend their way home and close family guests climbed onto a classic 1950 bus which was taking them back to St Agnes. We packed down, (slowly because we were all shattered) loaded up the vans and arrived back at the B&B at 2.15am. We watched TV for a while with cups of hot chocolate and then got our heads down. Rock n’ roll eh!
Breakfast was perfect, and we set off back home at 10.30am. Unfortunately Woodleigh Coach House was too soon in our journey to stop, so we ended up at Taunton Deane Services for a quick comfort break and a large Costa, and we arrived back in Swindon at 2.30 on Sunday afternoon.
My son was waiting at home with his Grandad who had looked after him in our absence, and I then spent some quality time with him for the rest of the afternoon playing a Wii game with him. You guessed it, Pirates of the Caribbean.