Tag Archives: wedding

Is it Tuesday already?

Here’s the problem with promising to be back on blogging duty on a particular day: that day comes, and your brain is still a gently steaming pile of scrambled egg.

Unfortunately, such is the reality of my life today.

I had such a Weekend. There’s nothing for it but to come right out and call it the best I’ve ever had. There were vows, tears, laughter, songs sung, food eaten and many hundreds of hugs exchanged, and a celebration of shared love so beautiful that it made me glad to be alive, and human, and me. And that doesn’t happen all that often.

Image: thegospelcoalition.org

Image: thegospelcoalition.org

So, it wasn’t my own wedding day – that’s old news. But it was the wedding day of someone I love so much that I don’t have a word for it, and – in some ways – witnessing their joy was even better than going through it myself.

So, for lots of reasons, I’m not fully functional today. I have Plans to tell you all about query letters and how to make the most of your work when it comes time to try to get the attention of the publishing industry, and how to keep going when it seems like there are no more corners left to turn, but – yeah. You’re going to have to wait until my brain regenerates.

And that, my friends, might take some time.

 

 

 

Happy Memories

Today is a very important day. It’s the day the terracotta army was uncovered in China in 1974, for instance. Did you know it’s also the day Queen Victoria opened the Royal Albert Hall in 1871? The Battle of Towton made Edward of York into King Edward IV on this day in 1461. As well as all that, it is (in Christianity, at least) Good Friday, a day which had huge psychological value for me as a child (I was a very weird kid.) It’s a day off work here in Ireland. It’s a day when people tend to go off the rails with drink, which they’ve purchased on Holy Thursday because the sale of alcohol is illegal on Good Friday in this country, and all the pubs are shut. It’s a day when people of my parents’ generation observe a day of fasting, and when they feel free to grumble to anyone who’ll listen that ‘a day without stuffin’ yerself never did me any harm, and it’ll do you no harm either.’

Today is all of those things. It’s also my wedding anniversary.

Image: losangelesmystery.com

Image: losangelesmystery.com

We’re having (as I’ve mentioned!) a very cold March here, but the year we got married the sun split the sky. Our wedding guests wore sunglasses, and at least one person had to make an emergency dash to the chemist’s to pick up an economy-sized bottle of sun lotion. It helped everyone (including the bride and groom!) to have a wonderful day. I’ll never forget the sight of half our wedding party sitting out on the sun terrace of the hotel, enjoying some drinks and snacks, as well as friendly banter, al fresco. In March. In Ireland. It was quite something.

Of course, Easter being a moveable feast, our wedding didn’t coincide with Good Friday (or Holy Thursday, as it would’ve been) the year we got married. That would’ve been no fun at all. We’d have had to get married in a cavernous, dark, empty church, and there’d have been no priest there because we couldn’t have had Mass. We might have got away with having a proper wedding reception (and by ‘proper’, of course, I mean ‘one at which alcohol was served’, because that’s usually all that matters to an Irish crowd). But, overall, it would have been a weird day.

We chose March 29 as our wedding day because the first day we met was on March 28 – at another wedding. My husband and I had always had friends in common, but we’d never managed to actually meet one another until two of those mutual friends decided to get married. So, at that momentous gathering, we finally got to run into one another, after years of wondering if our friends were ever going to introduce us. It wasn’t quite ‘and the rest is history’; it took us a little while to get our act together. But in any case, when it came time for us to consider our own wedding, we didn’t want to hijack our friends’ day of March 28, so we went for the next best thing.

I feel very lucky and blessed in my husband; he is a wonderful and kind man, and the best husband anyone could wish for. Today is a day to remember that we have a lot to be thankful for, as a couple and as a family unit, not least of which is the fact that we have a huge group of friends and family who love and support us. I know I am a lucky woman to have such good memories of my wedding day, when everything (including the weather) was perfect, and when so many people took the time to spend our special day with us. Those memories, filled with sunshine and laughter, help to remind me – and my husband, too – of how wonderful a thing it is to be surrounded with love, and how grateful we should always be for it.

Happy Friday – and I hope it’s the start of a wonderful weekend for you all.

On Friendship

Or, how I nearly baked my wedding ring…

Yesterday, two of my oldest friends came to visit me.  We hadn’t seen one another for a while, but that was no impediment to the banter and conversation that flowed all morning – we’ve been friends since our early teens, and they’re pretty much family to me at this stage.  Both my friends are baking enthusiasts, like me (though they’re far more advanced than I, of course), and so, early yesterday, I started work on my baked treats – I wanted to get some baking feedback from expert tasters, but also I just wanted to make a fuss of my visitors.  One of my friends is allergic to most known forms of food, however, which makes life fiendishly difficult for her; she manages to cope with it heroically, though, and she’s a selfless baker, making all sorts of gorgeousness for other people which she can’t eat herself.  It meant that a lot of the baked treats I was making were no use to her at all, and I had to be very careful with regard to what I could make for her.  It was important to be mindful of not cross-contaminating her food with anything she’s allergic to, like gluten or dairy products.  Spelt bread (dairy-, egg-, gluten- and yeast-free) seemed like the obvious answer, and once I’d got the go-ahead from her, I got cracking.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever baked spelt bread before, but the dough is very gloopy and sticky – quite a bit stickier and gloopier than regular bread dough.  At least, the way I make it, it is!  I was mixing my dough together with my hands, sort of ‘vacant and in pensive mood’, when I realised that something wasn’t quite right.  I narrowed the problem to my left hand, and then to my wedding-ring finger.  I glanced down at my hand to find it freed of my wedding ring, and realised that the dough had managed to suck it right off my hand!  Cue several minutes of rooting through the dough in order to find my only piece of precious jewellery/symbol of my marriage; I eventually found it, rinsed it, and put it right back where it should be.  If I hadn’t noticed (which could easily have happened, as I was busy and preoccupied), my wedding ring could easily have had a trip to the oven; hopefully, it would have emerged from the bread unscathed, and all would have been well.  I told my friends about this once the bread had been safely eaten (and pronounced delicious, by the way), and they roared with laughter, making me promise that it would be the subject of today’s blog.  So, here it is!  I’m a woman of my word…

It’s interesting that this happened in October, though, because (as my friend Sarah pointed out) this is the time of year in Ireland when rings are traditionally baked into bread and cakes.  There’s a type of food which we call ‘brack’ (or sometimes ‘barn brack’) which is like a bread/cake hybrid into which a ring is baked around Hallowe’en, and whoever gets the ring in their portion – assuming they don’t choke to death on it, of course – is supposed to get married before the year is out.  I remember the thrill of eating brack as a child, hoping even then to get the ring in my slice.  It did happen once, while I was in the company of my cousins, and the teasing was unmerciful – but I was secretly pleased, and I cherished the ring for a long time despite the fact that it was only a piece of worthless metal which turned green almost immediately after it was removed from the cake.  I’m not sure if my childish desire to find the ring was about being ‘the winner’, or about a fascination with the idea of being married – perhaps it was a bit of both.

It was such a funny intersection of my young life and my old(er) life yesterday, then, when I nearly baked my actual wedding ring into a bready cake during the month of October.  It makes me feel like the dream I’ve cherished since my childhood has finally come to pass, and I think the little girl who found the ring in her brack all those years ago would have smiled to see my frantic searching through the dough yesterday morning.  I’m glad it happened on a day when I was seeing two of my oldest and dearest friends, women who I’ve known since we were all girls; we’ve grown up together, gone through school, university and early adulthood together, shared joys and troubles all down through the years, and weathered the storms that come with friendships that endure for nearly two decades (so far).  It was a wonderful treat to see them yesterday and it’s brilliant to have friends who make you feel like a teenager again – without the moodiness, spots and pressures of school, that is!  I hope they read this blog today, and that they know how much I love them and how proud I am of both of them.  I’m raising a cup of tea in your honour, ladies!