We are back from the wedding.
Well most of us are.
The two main components, the bride and groom, are still swanning around Paris.
Those of us who are home, continue to discuss the wedding on a daily basis.
Posts appear on facebook. Phone calls are received. Fuzzy drunken photo’s poured over.
‘Ha ha just look at you’
‘Wow! she looks beautiful’
‘That can’t be me’ (Me)
‘I cried my eyes out it was so lovely’ (my fifteen year old niece)
But Lets start at the first photo’s.
The ones taken in Tavira castle.
Where the ceremony is about to begin.
A cream vintage Mercedes pull’s up at the castle gates. The driver helps the bride out. I find this ironic as she is young and agile and well able to leap out by herself despite her layered organza wedding dress and lace veil.
Really its me(I am after all the mother of the bride) that needs the help, but as no one pays any attention to me, I sit a bit longer in the low slung beautiful leather seat .
I wish I could sit in it forever.
I wish I owned it for it’s a thing of beauty.
My hat is askew from the breezy spin up the winding cobbled streets to the castle.
Past the old doors of peeling paint half hidden by trailing bougainvillea.
Past the old men sitting wobbling on plastic chairs whose four legs cannot find an even patch on the cobbles.
Past the tourists sitting outside the café’s drinking ‘meia de leite’ and eating freshly made ‘pasteis de nata’.
Eventually when no one comes to the rescue me, I haul myself, straighten my hat and tug at my dress. Is it my imagination or has it got tighter? Whether it has or it hasn’t, I feel and probably look like a mild but younger version of Mrs Bucket.
I go over to stand beside my daughter. The bridesmaids, looking exquisite in mint green are fussing around her straightening her veil.
Its hot , but we have become acclimatized to the heat by practising life without the air con.
Even though the Villa is very luxurious with air conditioning in every corner we are under strict orders of the bride not to turn it on.
(The villa also has a lift which at first I laughed at but in the heat began to use when no one was looking).
We cook without it in a hot kitchen.
Sleep without it under a duvet.
Walk into town on the hottest of days.
And it worked.
(Though I did draw a line at sitting in a warm sitting room with outside temperatures of thirty six degree’s threading ‘order of service booklets’ together.
It was either straight, clean and in the correct order with air con
Crumpled, sweat stained and in the wrong sequence without.
I won and the order of service were pristine).
Yes, thanks to our ‘heat training’ I find the day pleasantly warm with a tropical breeze coming in from the sea.
My son in law comes running out through the gate.
His sons, the two ring bearers, aged six and just four refuse to carry up the rings.
I become flustered in a granny like manner.
I want every thing to run smoothly.
I want this to be my daughters perfect day.
I want no mishaps. No botching of chores no matter how young the chore doer’s are.
‘Don’t worry’ my daughters voice is calm and serene ‘If they don’t want to carry them they don’t have to, it’s OK’.
She pats her brother in law on the arm.
I feel ashamed.
I was about to march up and shout ‘JUST DO IT’ at them even though I’m not in the slightest bit stressed.
The sweet strains of Tabhair dom do lamh. (played by my brother Gregory on the flute) float high above the castle and the bridesmaids are off.
They walk gracefully up the gravel path like water nymphs.
The sun striking off their silken hair.
Even the scrunching of their feet sounds delicate.
My daughter smiles at me.
Her eyes say ‘relax Mom’ and I try to, but only after a quick struggle about which side I should be on and who’s holding who’s arm.
My memories of walking my daughter up the garden path are dreamlike.
The tree’s casting dappled splashes of mauve shadows across the path.
A scene that must look like a Monet painting to any passer-by who stop’s to watch.
I remember the smiling faces of family and friends.
I remember my younger daughters voice singing ‘Raglan Road’.
‘On Raglan road of an autumn day
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
that I might one day rue.’
I don’t think the Bride or Groom will ever rue this wonderful day.
I feel my daughter squeezing my arm.
I know I have tears in my eyes as we weave our way through the tree lined path to the waiting groom.
We are high above the town, away from the noise of the traffic, the only sound is the hushed whispers of the guests and a voice singing sweet and high.
The bride’s dress is picking up the sunlight turning it into gossamer.
Her skin is ethereal.
Her dark hair, glimpsed at through her veil, is flowing over her shoulders in shining waves.
She looks so beautiful.
A fairy princess.
The old stone steps of the castle, the crumbling ramparts, the blue sky above, the rose pedals strewn along the path below, the various flowers of Portugal, all lend to this fairy tale wedding.
And how peaceful and illusionary it is.
An inane thought passes through my head.
Why does Bear Gryllis insist on shouting?.
Why is he is so noisy and frantic,
I don’t own a TV. Nor do I babysit much. But when I do and my grandchildren are in bed I am fascinated by this ‘shouting’ man as he tackles various means of survival and helps himself to bits and pieces of tree’s and things that grow on tree’s or live in tree’s.
When I first used to watch him I kept the sound off for fear his loudness would waken the children but as time wore on I left it off as he is funnier when you can only see him.
He is always in such a sweat and a tangle.
I was recently reading a piece about the Tukano peoples of the upper rio negro.
Please Bear Gryllis take a leaf out of their book.
Because, well, any place of such natural beauty does not need noise like that.
I push the absurd thoughts of Bear Gryllis out of my mind.
We continue to move gracefully and quietly through the tree’s (Though when I looked later at the video of us walking up the path I thought I walked not very gracefully but more like a farmer. I blame that on the high shoes.)
The ceremony is in both English and Portuguese,
I prefer the Portuguese version with it’s soft sshhhhing sounds.
My eldest Grandson (the one who is old enough to be depended upon) reads a long poem.
I like you because……
He reads so well, remembering to pause and look up and not run away with the word’s. We give him a round of applause when he finishes.
The grooms best friend and best man reads a Poem. First in Portuguese then in English.
Had I the Heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
of night and light and the half light,
I would spread these Cloths under your feet;
But I, being poor, have only my dreams,
I have spread these dreams under your feet
Thread softly because you thread on my dreams.
This time I prefer the English as this is one of my favourite Yeats’s poems.
The ceremony is given by a Man called Jonas,
He first has to translate the legal ceremony.
I am glad to hear my Daughter has no impediments.
The civil ceremony is beautiful and thought provoking.
Jonas has obviously formed a connection with the the bride and groom and gives a compassionate and very wise talk.
I see all the older married couples leaning forward and pricking up their ears.
I see middle aged wives digging their heat snoozing husbands in the ribs.
Even the younger ones are paying attention.
At last the ceremony is finished and the newly married couple pass through the well wishers who throw petals .
Down the path they run and out through the castle gates and back into the real world.
I must remember to share my Bear Gryllis thought’s with someone later.
My shoes scrunch on the gravel as I follow the merry makers…..
I wish I could have brought my yellow bicycle, she could have danced with this handsome chap.