I still find it really difficult to actually take in what happened here ten years ago.
I send my love.
On an infinitely more mundane note… my life…
My souvenir of a delightful weekend- a very English posy…
I am home from my travels to Henley on Thames. My man and I have been to the Baha’i/Buddist Wedding of a very good friend of his… and his betrothed… (now his wife!)
This weekend’s adventure began on Friday afternoon. I left Leicester at 2.45pm intending to arrive in St Albans at 5pm in order to meet Jacob en route to our final destination. I brought reading material with me as I presumed I would be early and he late and I may have to wait. I knew it was Friday and cognisant of all that could mean, yet still, I underestimated the traffic. (it was, after all, only 66 miles…) I arrived an hour late, but (thank you) my man was unperturbed. He had a book in his hands and was firmly ensconced in his own head-space when I finally spotted him leaning against the a wall outside the train station looking extremely desirable in charcoal grey and dark denim. All was OK. We travelled on to the Old Bell Inn at Hurley and finally arrived at about 7.30pm. We booked a table in their restaurant for 9pm and made our way to our home for the next two nights. It’s a very pretty place and we had a lovely, spacious room.
Gorgeous food. J ate smoked mackerel and salad, then chicken cooked with corn and cob nuts and I had chicken liver salad, then (very fresh) grouse and wilted greens. Yum.
Ginormous comfy bed with many good pillows. I know you, like I, care about such details.
The wedding was scheduled to begin at 4pm so we had a pleasurably leisurely start, a short and easy drive (and a rare case of Ms Sat Nav being unusually friendly and co-operative,) a productive visit to a watchmaker, (aren’t they interesting folk… they mess with time, after all,) a stroll around the very photogenic and pretty Henley, a scrumptious crayfish and rocket sandwich lunch with good tea and lemon drizzle cake for pud in a gorgeous small and friendly cafe, an equally easy drive back to base and a couple of hours to get ready…
When one has spent years as a wife and mother, always with (by their very demanding nature,) children in tow, the luxury of irresponsible leisure is not to be quibbled at. I am only, just now, getting used to it, allowing myself to become accustomed to such riches.
The Bride was (is) Iranian and a Baha’i and the groom was (is) Scottish and a Buddist. We were enchanted by the soulful wails of the Bagpipes as the bride made her entrance (fashionably late) to the entrancing breathy whispers of a Persian Reed Flute- one of the oldest musical instruments still to be played- accompanied by the delicate rhythms of the Daf. The sound of the Reed Flute took me immediately to heat suffused climes, at once exotic and mesmeric. All the young children fell silent during the recital. Evocative and memorable. As the sun was setting- stunning.
We were delighted by readings of prose and poetry and a little history circe both their religions and their personal history and their place within them, and then the two (beautifully and mercifully) short ceremonies and hey presto, JD and on to the sugar grinding…
Forgive me, as I may be incorrect over the the heritage of this… but I think it was part of the Iranian wedding tradition… We women, (starting with the youthful and single, the nubile, moving through the still active but having lived a little and with baggage in tow- I count myself in this group- through to the aged, the long married, the happily ensconced in coupledom to the simply female,) yes, we were all, inclusively, (although within said pecking order) invited to grind sugar over the happy couple’s heads, albeit suffused through a lace doily of a cloth. Very charming. I think it’s an aid to fertility, though in the case of our happy couple, not actually needed.
Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, brought new spiritual and social teachings for our time. His essential message is of unity. He taught the oneness of God, the oneness of the human family, and the oneness of religion.
Bahá’u'lláh said, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,” and that, as foretold in all the sacred scriptures of the past, now is the time for humanity to live in unity.
Founded more than a century and a half ago, the Bahá’í Faith has spread around the globe. Members of the Bahá’í Faith live in more than 100,000 localities and come from nearly every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic background.
Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u'lláh.
If I was ever going to become religious… I think this is the religion I would join.
The formalities over, we trekked through the orchard carrying blankets, brollies and benches and I changed into my neon orange hunter wellies (which you can spy in the photos if you look carefully, resting against an ancient oak just beyond the proceedings) and we made our way to the field where the rest of the evening was to take place.
The setting sun, Canapes, Champagne, Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade, (of which I am now an addict- just ordered 3 crates through Ocado…) talk, music, led us all delightfully to a supper in a huge wood framed double turreted teepee. Much food (feta and fig salad, slow roasted spiced lamb, vegatables and rice, organic apples from the orchard cake with creme freche and local honey) and more talk and (truly delightful) speeches and dancing much, much later, I drove J and I back to the Old Bell and we slept like logs till 11am. Heaven on a stick.
Another day. Still sunny… just. Brunch. And back to the field. A hog roast and salad and the local Women’s Institute cakes and afternoon tea and an ancient French couple dressed in matching matelot t’s and berets singing Edith Piaf accompanied by an accordian and more talk and friendship. Wonderful.
Home. Uneventful. Children. Lovely.
If I didn’t miss my man so much,
life would be perfect.
And now… I’m going to bed. Can every weekend be this divine please?