Saturday, October 1, 2022
A Perfect Equinox
On this fine 1st of October morning, I am tucked up in the spare bed in the Retreat (aka my office), under the duvet with coffee fragrancing the room and a stomach that's gently rumbling in anticipation of brunch. This is where I go when I wake at 6am, my brain won't let me sleep any longer and I don't want to keep N awake with my own awakeness. I'm comfortable and warm.
I am also 7 days married, the wedding ring light and glinting on my hand.
Yes, 12 months of planning that included, roughly: 90 sunflower seedlings sown, 144 squares of bunting sewn, 120 invites, at least 3 lively debates about the benefits of eloping (me) versus staying here and catering for gannets (him), one dress meltdown and a tablecloth near-emergency. But the day was bright and clear and autumnal. Just as we'd wanted.
The whole thing was just as we'd hoped and neither of us stopped smiling or laughing the Whole Day, which was perfect (although it's taken a week for the muscles in our faces to stop aching). Everyone we loved, liked or tolerated for the sake of each other were there. The ceremony was simple but perfect. I got a fit of the giggles at the sight of this man I've known for 20 years standing there being very solemn and serious.
Friends currently on sticks (unrelated accidents) formed an arch that we charged through after the vows. The green shot silk of my dress and his tie shimmered in the sun. The bride and groom, bridesmaids and anyone else sensible enough to take our advice, wore trainers.
The day before we'd spent hours decorating the venue with sunflowers, seed heads, berries, rosemary, ivy and grasses spilling out of the vintage vases. Around them I'd scattered dried lavender heads, gourds and pinecones. What I'd hoped for - a feeling of harvest, of abundance - translated nicely into reality without any need for fiddly bits of wire or complicated oasis bases. Just keep stuffing those jugs till they'll take no more.
On the welcome table, mossy twigs, ivy, hawthorn, oak, rosehips, blackberries, conkers and thistles spread along the gauzy surface with its brown paper and string wrapped coleus. We invited people to leave a message and take a seed packed. Wildflower seeds we'd gathered from the allotment.
We'd got bottles of bubbles, sketch books and pencils for the children who'd been dragged along. We were left some lovely, from the heart, drawings. And some more risque ones from the adults as we got further along into the night. I don't feel you need to see those. Let's just say, I'm glad we didn't put disposable cameras out.
The food was, according to all who spoke of it, delicious. I managed a side plate, quickly grabbed under the insistent gaze of my Friend from the North. N was similarly frogmarched in the buffet table direction. Later we danced to Divine Comedy's Perfect Love Song, a stumbling shambling dance that we should probably have rehearsed more but we were too busy grinning to care what people thought of our moves.
At 9pm, we had the additional treat of a firework display courtesy of the wedding taking place in the hall behind us. All the benefit, as it banged and zipped over the lake and trees, oohs and aahs coming naturally, none of the expense.
When the last taxi door had slammed behind the last guest, we thanked the bar staff (who'd been kept busy ALL night) and headed across the fields for our bed in the hall. Obviously, we had no torch. Equally obviously, there was no light of the moon as it was a new moon. There may have been a detour through a field of nettles and an encounter with a gate that would not open no matter how much I pulled it. Luckily N pushed it just as I was about to hitch up skirts to climb over, and it opened just fine.
I'm reading and rereading this, feeling that my retelling is perhaps a little sparse? In truth, it's because I'm still too full of it. Too full of the magnitude and the happiness of it. Neither of us stopped spinning that day and, although we've had to return to work pretty sharpish, that feeling of spinning hasn't gone away. When I look back, I remember nothing but laughter. Shapes being thrown on the dance floor by friends. A lot of beer. Joy.
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