The Quest for the Ring

It’s becoming quite popular for couples, at their wedding ceremony, to have a trained owl fly in carrying the rings.

This works well outside, but indoors can cause problems; e.g. once, when it had been arranged (and I’m usually told at the last minute, because the person conducting the ceremony isn’t really that important!!!!) that this should happen, the owl – on cue – flew from the back of the sanctuary and alighted, not on the Best Man’s wrist as planned, but on a rafter above the organist.

Our organist almost “had a canary” (sic) as he had an aversion to our feathered friends.  He really was in a flap!

Despite the very best efforts of the “owl man”, the birdie would not move – not helped by some guests taking photos on their phones (friends, how did I end up in this sorry state, after over 40 years of ministry?)

This reminds me of a similar situation when a particular organist was heard muttering, “Bugger off! Bugger off!” at an owl which had decided to perch above his organ console.  The minister who was trying to conduct the ceremony without much success at this crucial juncture in the service crossed the chancel floor, and, forgetting that his lapel attached “mike” was still on, said “James, don’t say that!  Just say ‘shoo! shoo!’ and it will bugger off without further prompting!”

Which brings me to a recent marriage that I conducted in a local Castle wedding venue.

The “owl man” didn’t turn up.

What to do?

Well, the owner had a cunning plan; he has a cute little dog called Ernie, and it was decided to attach the actual rings (the Owls just carry dummy ones) to the little fellow’s collar.

The Groom was asked to put a piece of bacon in his kilt sporran (I’m not making this up – it honestly did happen); the idea being that Ernie  would run into the Great Hall – enticed by the smell of his favourite treat, and the rings (in a pouch) would then be retrieved.

Ernie’s big moment arrived. He ran into the Hall at the appropriate moment. He ran here, there, everywhere – except toward the bridegroom.

Eventually, his owner cornered him under a chair.  The rings were retrieved. And Ernie got his piece of bacon!

{do you remember Benny Hill’s song “Ernie, the fastest milkman in the west”?  Well, here’s to Ernie, the fastest wee dog in the South West of Scotland!}

 

 

 

Below – the one and only Ernie the dog

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