The roses have been so beautiful this year ... a moment to enjoy these most radiant of flowers is perfume for the soul. Sitting in my deckchair, with sun warming my skin as my dogs play tug together on the lawn, has been a joy since Polly's little sister Betty came to live with us just over a week ago.
At nine weeks old, she is the prettiest and cheekiest of puppies, full of fun, mischief and love. She and Polly have quickly become good friends, eating, sleeping and playing boisterously together. As you can imagine, my bear crafting time has been considerably interrupted by this sweet new arrival, so for the time being, I will need to steal creative moments while she naps!
So, new teddy bears may be slow to appear in the weeks to come, but please bear with me ... I have succeeded in cutting out and pinning a big traditional boy bear from beautiful gold mohair this week, so progress is being made, albeit at a leisurely pace. In fact, both my girls are fast asleep while I write, so I will sign off now and tiptoe up to my sewing machine ...
My sister Fiona's marriage to her long term partner Simon, took place last Saturday. The service was held in a quaint village church, which has stood fast for many centuries a few steps along the road from their home. The bride and groom opted for a relaxed stroll in the warm sunshine to Church, Fiona's designer heels carried chivalrously by husband-soon-to-be Simon, as she clomped elegantly alongside him in cheery red wellies, clasping a delightful bouquet of sunflowers and red roses. They looked picture perfect as they arrived to the celebratory peal of St. Giles' church bells.
The ancient church was filled to capacity with family and friends eager to help Fiona and Simon tie their knot and the congregation looked fabulous in bright, summery outfits, exactly as Fiona had requested.
Guests arriving at St. Giles
The planning of Fo 'n Simon's wedding has been very much a family affair. One of my favourite pre-wedding tasks was to visit St Giles with my son, daughter-in-law-to-be and Grandson, on the day before the ceremony, to tie children's wellies planted with flowers to the end of each pew. The rows of brightly coloured boots looked absolutely gorgeous as bride and groom walked down the aisle together. After the service, guests collected the wellies and carried them back to decorate the newlyweds' garden reception.
My son and his beautiful family
There were many 'Wormshill Wedding Committee' planning and preparation meetings during the months prior and no detail was overlooked. In truth, there were moments when we wondered if everything could possibly be achieved in the time available, but with a concerted family and friends' effort, no detail was overlooked. The result was a wonderfully colourful, crafted celebration, with hand painted signage leading guests to the event, hand made garden decorations, invitations, flower arrangements, order of service cards and of course, a hand made teddy bear guestbook. There were even hand decorated glitter champagne flutes with which to toast the happy couple! The official photography was provided courtesy of our sister Tina and garden lighting, marquee and gazebo construction and a superb hand crafted cocktail bar, were erected thanks to the combined building and electrical skills of the men in our family. Stages designed and built by Groom Simon and his team of family helpers provided flooring for a live band to play our favourite 70's disco tunes and later, for my niece's DJ friend to ensure the music continued through to the wee small hours, so newlywed's and guests could continue to dance the night away on the smart black and white checked dance floor.
My husband Stuart and I were asked to give readings during the wedding service - Stuart's from the 'Song of Solomon' and mine from AA Milne's 'Winnie the Pooh' (I think I had the easier part of that deal!) So on the day, we left early with my daughter and her boyfriend because traffic reports were threatening another nightmarish day of 'Operation Stack'. Thankfully our journey was unexpectedly clear and we arrived in the village with plenty of time to spare, so put it to good use in the Ringlestone Inn's lovely garden. A little Dutch courage soon eased away my pre-reading nerves and I am relieved to say, our speeches to the congregation were surprisingly word perfect!
My boys, collecting up the wellies
Meandering back to the garden reception to celebrate
The Church service was a wonderful beginning to Fo 'n Simon's married life, reminding us all of the solemnity of marriage vows and the meaning behind them, but there was also laughter, song and an important sense of family togetherness throughout the ceremony.
The newlyweds wedding dance
After the solemnity of Church, a celebration into the wee small hours, the best way we knew how! So much colour, music, laughter and love, a garden blooming with happiness for the new Mr & Mrs Winter ... and as a thank you to their many guests, a fabulous first dance, in true Hollywood style!
Not only is Simon now my sister's husband, he is also Stepdad to my two nieces and Grandad to my Great niece Ella, on top of which he has been a great friend to me and my family over the past decade; so I would like to mention how delighted I am to have Simon as my official brother-in-law at last! Not so much a welcome to the family, more a recognition of all you have quietly done for our family over the years ... you have always been a part of it.
And my family pic above, for this post not about me, my kids and my little Grandson, instead a nod to Dad and his presence on my sister's special day. Dad loved their home in Wormshill and the candle and glass of red hanging from the tree branch at the bottom of the garden, was their wedding day tribute to him. He would have loved the celebrations and just like his daughters, would have danced the night away given half a chance, but more importantly, he would have been so happy to see his daughter Fiona, married to his good friend Simon.
So to bring this special post to a conclusion ...
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Winter!
Here's to your future together,
may it be filled with everything your Wedding Day shared with us,
colour, fun, happiness, family, friendship and love ...
and in the words of Pooh bear,
“Oh, Bear!” said Christopher Robin. “How I do love you!”
A while ago my daughter went to a gig with a girlfriend who commented how surprised she was by the more 'mature' audience - my daughter gently pointed out that just because years creep up on a person, their passion for live music and the right to enjoy it doesn't have to end ...
Sir Elton John
31st May 2015
Before I became a mum my first job was in London, the heart of the 'Music Industry'. I was responsible for typing anything from invoices to envelopes (yawn!) pouring tea for my bosses, sticking stamps on aforementioned envelopes and generally making myself useful, but the highlight of my daily trek from Kent to London on British Rail, wasn't to work in an office, it was to watch live music in the evenings. The acts I saw were diverse: up and coming pop rock hopefuls on tiny stages in smokey London pubs, angry punks at Finsbury Park's famous Rainbow Theatre, a mellow yellow Donovan at The Royal Festival Hall ... whatever the act, if there was a ticket or pass available, I would be watching eagerly from the crowd.
Legends of Rock:
Kaiser Chiefs, Paul Weller and The Who at Hyde Park.
26th June 2015
That was over thirty years and my now fully fledged family ago; if someone had told me then how fast the years fly, I would never have believed them ... back then, time was simply a moment to live in.
After a great night out remembering when we were young with Elton John back in May, my husband and I, now creaking slightly into our fifties and prone to being overly organised and a little too responsible, dusted ourselves down on my daughter's orders and travelled by train to London's Hyde Park, to stand in a leg aching crowd of 65,000 beer and cider swilling fans for over five hours, for the sole purpose of listening to half-century legends of rock The Who talking 'bout their generation. We also witnessed 'Changingman' Mr Paul Weller woo the crowd with his elite brand of uber cool and the fabulous 'I predict a riot' Kaiser Chiefs, rock it out above and beyond their call of duty. (Incidentally, let it be said if ever someone ought to still be rocking it out in fifty years' time, front man Ricky Wilson should be the man for that job ... what a performer!!!)
I love that age proves no barrier to great musicianship and I also love that crowds gather to share the music which first pounded their youthful hearts several decades ago, but after our Hyde Park excursion, I openly confess to shocked joints (and no I don't mean the kind wafting on the breeze!) screaming for hot baths and Epsom salts. Next time we feel the urge to remember when we were young, our ticket criteria may well involve seating because young at heart or not, mid life aches are now the signature tune to 'my generation baby'!