28 May 2011
Gus’s wedding day. I had an okay night but obviously without my normal bed and other bits and pieces it was not quite as trouble-free as it is at home. For example, the bed itself had no bottom border against which I could press my feet in order to turn over and, to my chagrin, I had to press the alarm button in the middle of the night for assistance for Barry and Denise, which I hated doing, but I really was stuck. They were totally un-phased by being so rudely disturbed. How lucky was I.
We managed to get through all the early ablutions, dressing etc with me partially clad in my wedding finery, including a yellow Masquerade rose, which I had specifically picked before I left home, to offset my red spotted yellow tie, before sitting down at my computer to do my daily blog.
I rang ‘my lovely’ but didn’t let the ‘phone ring too long in case she was trying to sleep and instead rang Harriet who gave me the good news that when she last saw Alice she was feeling a little better. Of course, I determined I would speak to her as soon as I could but couldn’t help feeling that another day or two in bed might do her a power of good.
Around 11.00 we set off for the church, St James the Great of St. Kew, wheelchair and all, where I was ultimately parked next to my dear mother-in-law. Being in the front we had probably the best view of the whole ceremony. Mother-in-law, incidentally, was in really good shape and was smartly dressed in a simple black outfit, with matching straw hat and a white shirt and pearls.. Gus was beautifully dressed in a stunning outfit’, what I have been told by the girls, was a swing coat, a sort of beige colour with paisley patterned style cartouches filled with mother of. pearl sequins. A sort of very superior pearly queen! I’m not much of a couturiere so can’t describe it any better than that. Tor was dressed in a preety pnk and white outfit. Of course, there were one or two startlingly lovely outfits, one in particular was that worn by Lavinia Moore, (Lavs) the second of the erstwhile bridesmaids from Gus’s first wedding
The service itself, conducted by a lady vicar, was fairly standard and mercifully not overlong. Gus was accompanied by Desmond’s dear little seven-year-old daughter, Cassy, who held the posies and acted as, what I imagine, the Americans call, a flower girl. The bride entered to one of my favourite pieces of music the Canon in D by Pachelbel. The three hymns were Love Divine,all loves excelling, Guide mo O thouÂ Great Redeemer and Jerusalem. Lavs read the well-known John Donne poem, The Good Morrow and James Ray, the best man, read from the Songs of Solomon There was a rather sweet touch when Gus and Des went up to the altar to be blessed, they took Gus’s little terrier, Dave with them. During the signing of the Register we were royally entertained by the beautiful voice oF Des’s sister, Philippa who sang Handel’s, Let the Bright Seraphim accompanied by the organ. Philippa has an exquisite voice and indeed is a professional singer and her singing was, to me, the musical highlight of the service.The bridal couple left to the acompniment on Handel’s March from Scipio.
On returning to the house there was a champagne reception in the garden, sadly for much of which we were sheltering under a couple of little pavilions as the weather turned slightly damp. There were so many strong young men about, like Andy and Mike, husbands of Lavs and Tabitha (Tabs, the second of the bridesmaids from the first wedding) who were able to make nothing of picking me up in the wheelchair and bodily moving me from one level to another.
The reception was held in the barn at Laurence and Victoria’s home in which five or so round tables were fitted to accommodate the 55 guests who had been fortunate enough to be invited back for the wedding breakfast. Lavs and Tabs had decorated the barn beautifully with flowers and bunting (and apparently they were also responsible for the lovely flowers in the church)
I must say the food was really delicious with the catering done, apparently, by one of Tor’s artistic friend’s. husband.
During the champagne reception we were plied with delicious flaky pastry tartlets filled with Cromer crab and miniature profiteroles stuffed with prawns. With my penchant for seafood I must confess to having wolfed a few of those down before we sat down for the main meal.
The first course was asparagus and some crispy cheese biscuits. Then a great cheer went up, behind me so I couldn’t see butI had imagine it was because the chef brought in the carcasses of three complete sheep which they had roasted, as the main course was delicious lamb with new potatoes and broad beans. The pudding was a compote of strawberry with a whole strawberry or two in it and I believe some Cornish cream.
There appeared to be some great wines on the table although I stuck to champagne. I was very fortunate to be seated next to my brother-in-law Laurence’s sister, Madeleine (The Countess of. Bessborough) , who was absolutely sweet and not only fed me but even when she was talking to people on the other side of the table popped over to make sure that I could get a drink from the straw from my baby bottle which, of course, was filled, and constantly refilled, with champagne. Des’s parents Richard and Hobson, were on the other side of Madeleine, so I was able to have a good chat with them and discover what delightfully charming people they are. Darling Tor, in a very attractive pink outfit, sat on the other side of me and was rushing about here and there having undoubtedly put an enormous amount of effort into making this Gus’s really happy day.
The meal took the predictable format with speeches, much of which went over the heads of the guests who didn’t know the nuances of the events to which the speakers were referring but nevertheless there was an atmosphere of joy and merriment throughout. Interweaving between the tables were a constant stream of the 30 or so young children, the offspring of the seated adults, lots and lots of very pretty little girls and tiny boys, some of whom I was able to identify and knew to which of my nephews and nieces they belonged and others who had grown beyond recognition since I had last seen them.. Once the little ones got used to seeing this funny old man, in the wheelchair, being fed like a baby, I think they accepted me as one of them. I even managed , late in the day, to have a pleasant chat wih 14-year-old Madeleine, Jamie (Victoria and Laurence’s eldest) and French wife Maylis’ oldest daughter. A delightful girl, in a very pretty floral frock, who aspires to be a heart surgeon. I’m sure if she really want to be a surgeon she will end up being a good one.
Some of the other little ones, mostly the girls, dutifully came up before they left and gave me a peck on my hairy old cheek which was very sweet of them and a bit unkind of their parents to invite them to do so.
I stayed on at the house after the bulk of the guests had left, leaving Barry and Denise, to enjoy a ittle free time.They had been absolutely marvellous in looking after me and dressing me in my wedding gear and getting me there and ensuring that I was well settled in before having a little food themselves and then setting off to do their own thing for a few hours. In fact I stayed until around 9.30 when they came to fetch me and I was quite ready to go back to our little cottage in The Olde House, where, after a sausage and a little ham, I was ready for bed.
As a result of the problems I had encountered on the first night, Denise and Barry very cleverly rigged up some chairs on either side of the bed and moved the bed so that my feet could press against the wall to enable me to turn over. so in the event. I had a far better night than the one previously.
The end of a really lovely day wonderfully laid on by the generosity of Gus’s parents, Tor (Victoria) and Laurence, but one tinged with sadness that ‘my lovely’ was unable to share it with me. The good news was that before we retired we checked with Harriet and found out that she was resting and feeling a little better. Nevertheless I missed her tremendously and indeed dozens of people came up to me and asked about her. She was sorely missed.