Monday, 10 September 2012
Since that wonderful, beautiful day on the blustery hill we have moved several hundred miles away from where we used to call home. We are buying a home of our own - a tiny house in this still-strange city.
People that I barely knew a year ago are now good friends, for which I have the internet and blogging to thank.
And the wedding, our wedding, seems unreal - like a vague memory of a movie we once saw. Remembering it, I have a huge feeling of happiness - but with an edge of sadness because it was so wonderful, and because it won't happen again. That day was soaked in giddy love and warmth. But it feels OK that the detail memories are starting to fade. It's leaving behind what matters.
I still feel sad that there are now people that are a part of my life (many of whom I met through blogging and Twitter) that weren't there at the wedding. I feel sad too that people that I became so close to through the wedding are now so far away.
My dress is hanging in the wardrobe, wrapped with an Ikea duvet cover and still wearing the mud from the farm. I know I should get it cleaned and encased in a box, but I feel sentimental about that mud, much more so than I do about the dress. The mud is fun and real. The beautiful dress is better for it. I like seeing the wrapped up Ikea duvet dress it in the wardrobe, brushing past it and sometimes feeling the weight of the skirt and touching the lace at the back. It's better there than in a box in an attic.
I always meant to post more photographs up here - of the mad, mad dancing at the end of the night; the raucous party that followed the genteel ceremony. But as time passed, it seemed less important to share it and more important to preserve it for ourselves.
I'd guess that it's obvious that this blog has run its natural course. I might pop by and update from time to time, but I'll be mostly over at This Glimmering World - my other blog.
This blog won't disappear, so you can still read all about it if it takes your fancy. And you can still contact me through all the channels if you want to - I still check them. I'm also still @cakesandbunting on Twitter for now, though may change it to reflect the new blog name soon. I'm always excited to hear from new people or answer any questions.
All that remains is for me to say an enormous thank you to everyone that read this blog; commented, supported, helped, advised - and in some cases, even became friends. Part of what made the wedding and the planning so amazing was finding this supportive, wonderful community that welcomed me in with open arms. Thank you all for taking the time to help out a stranger. I can only hope that I've ever had the chance to help you in return.
Monday, 20 February 2012
A weird moment - it's just you, facing 80 people, most of whom have cameras. I stood for a second embarrassed and laughing before suggesting we make our way to the tractor. On we got, and off we went.
Up the hill, everything was ready. On hearing the tractor approach, Jon and his brother (as best man) had hid, and while everyone took their seats on hay bales, I stood in the forest with my dad at the back of the aisle looking at Tom, the friend that would marry us. Dad asked if I was ready. Jon's brother was in charge of the music, and when we heard it start, we walked in...
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
When we got back to the farm, J and I posed for a couple of photos by the car, and then parted. I met the hair and make up ladies, who had been having a cuppa while waiting for me, and we went up to the room.
I hadn't realised the importance of this time - the reason there are so many photos of people getting ready when you see wedding photos online. There aren't many rituals in life now, especially for the non-religious. But this time - I felt the weight of ritual; the importance of what we were doing. I felt like I was taking part in something significant and old. Most of these hours were spent quietly, with only some music on at the very end. I enjoyed the quiet very much.
My mum and J's mum had their make up done while my hair was put in rollers, and then I was made up and dressed. Best ladies popped in and out with logistical questions and moral support - and also with a big bag of snacks. I love the photo of everyone looking at the photo album (a gift from hen party friends with photos and words from each, given to me by best lady G the night before to read "once you're in bed, before you go to sleep") and tucking in.
My friend A, who was doing a reading in the ceremony, came up with a sixpence for my shoe. My lovely auntie came up and cried and hugged me over and over.
Hannah the photographer came and went, as did Adam the videographer, documenting this quiet time. Eventually, all best ladies came and said that it was time for them to go up the hill, to string some bunting a few minutes ahead of time. I asked one of them, Liv, to stay with me.
When I had been helped into my dress and my veil had been pinned on, Liv bought up my flowers and dried them off. "Do you want to see yourself in the mirror?" asked the hair lady. I hadn't even considered what I looked like, with no big mirror in the room, I'd only seen my face. I went to the mirror in the corridor and stood silently for a few seconds.
That was me, sure enough. Cool dress, great hair, lovely make up. Incredible flowers. Veil, shoes, the works. I looked like a pretty awesome version of me. I said only one word...
And everyone in the room, who had evidently been holding their collective breaths in silence, started laughing. "We thought you'd started crying," said the hair lady. My dad came up to see me, and I remembered to put the sixpence in my shoe (where it promptly fell out, and was reinstalled in the bouquet).
Someone suggested that it was time to go down. "Is there anyone down there?" I asked, suddenly wondering if the guests had arrived. Liv looked at me and laughed again: "Claire, everyone is down there!"
Make up: Carly at Another Little World in Yeovil in Somerset - uses only natural mineral make up. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. And also so sweet, lovely - such wonderful company during that time. She even bought me a little present - a wooden heart with the word 'love' on it which she left for us to find after the wedding.
Hair was by Kim Lane of Signature Hair in Somerset. Now she doesn't have a website and all I have is an email address and phone number, which I'm not sure I should put online. So if you want a brilliant hairdresser based in Somerset, drop me a line and I'll put you in touch with her.
The dress was by the wonderful wonderful House of Mooshki, and as you know, was won in their incredible Christmas 2011 competition, in association with Love My Dress. Gratitude does not cover it. I love them.
Flowers by Marsh Mallow Flower Design, also in Somerset. Aren't they goddamnned awesome? Bec at Marshmallow is a genius.
And as ever, all photos by the genius Hannah Dornford-May
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Poem for a Daughter
“I think I’m going to have it,”
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
“Dear, you never have it,
we deliver it.”
A judgment years prove true.
Certainly I’ve never had you
as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart’s needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom’s end. Yet nothing’s more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their spheres together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.
A woman’s life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.
We sat on the bed - me still in my pyjamas, and my mum in tears, holding me. And then she went, as mums are wont to do, to make me a cup of tea. I felt quite tiny and yet quite old at the same time.