Archive for July, 2009

Pics of Germany!

See here.

I’ll write a post soon about our trip, but you can get a lot of information from the photos and my labels.


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(There will be pictures once we’ve collected them and organised them all, but I wanted to let everyone know what the days was like.)

The morning of July 18th dawned sunny.  Francis got up at six to start the sourdough.  (I don’t remember when I got up, but I can tell you, it wasn’t six.)  We had scads of things to do: cooking, flowers, finding things for numerous early-arriving guests to help with, finalizing the vows, ironing things, etc etc.  I was cooking at the flat for most of the day, and only went over to Chris and Jo’s a couple hours before the ceremony was due to start at 4.30.

It was quite a hectic scene at the house.  We had guests cutting up root vegetables to roast, making a big garden salad, trundling into the basement to bring up rented tableware, and setting out glasses and wine and cordials.  At our request, my sister-in-law Ann had made scones, a beet and goat cheese tart, and a leek and Gruyere tart, which we all drooled over as we organised the table.

Thanks to everyone for all your help, and a very special thank you to Chris and Jo for hosting the festivities!

As the guests assembled (at this point I had scrambled upstairs to get dressed and fix my hair), they were offered Pimm’s cup, homemade cordials (black currant, rhubarb-ginger, strawberry), stuffed mushroom caps, caramelised shallot pastries, and smoked salmon and cream cheese on crackers.  Oh, and the ubiquitous English crisps!  Ann thoughtfully brought me up some food and, at Francis’s suggestion, a large glass of whiskey.  (I was late getting ready, of course, but remembered that my mother had told me that every bride is late.)

It had clouded over and begun to drizzle on and off, so we had to abandon the idea of having the ceremony in the allotment.  This was disappointing, but Jo had the fabulous idea of having everyone sit on the stairway while we stood at the front door, which worked out fabulously.  Matt served as minister and master of ceremonies.

Here are his words:

Thank you for coming today to celebrate the marriage of Adrian O*** and Francis S***, two wonderful people we’re all lucky to have in our lives, as they prepare to face the future together, accepting whatever lies ahead. Adrian asked all of you if you had any advice for the two of them, and in a little bit I’ll ask you for that, so be prepared. And feel free to jump in at any time, I’m new at this.

I met Adrian several years ago via the same internet community that brought the two of them together. Even though she always beats me at pool, in those years she’s shown herself to be one of the kindest, most loving people I’ve ever met. Francis is truly a lucky man. And when she told me about her blossoming romance with this man on the other side of the Atlantic, I was happy for her, because Francis, at least on the internet, was what people call ‘a good man’, caring and kind as well. Turns out he’s that way in real life, too! Adrian, you are a lucky woman.

But we wouldn’t be here today if it were not for a pair of sugar gliders, small nocturnal marsupials that are cute but terrifying when they‘re flying around a room. Francis wanted to get a pair, and remembered that a woman on this internet community also had two. He wrote her asking for advice, which lead to decidedly non sugar glider related emails, which lead to telephone conversations and, eventually, a nerve-wracking visit to Portland. That visit went well, so well that they began talking about a future together. Last year the three of us, along with Jan, went down to Brighton to legally witness their civil wedding. The elopement wasn’t intended as a slight against their family or friends, but rather a means for them to live together after Adrian crossed an ocean to be with Francis. They knew a proper wedding ceremony, like this one, isn’t cheap, so over the last year they saved in order to publicly commit to each other in front of all of you.

On the topic of commitment and marriage, does anyone have any advice? It’s a big step for both of them, so I’m sure they’ll appreciate any you have to offer.

[Jo offered a reading here, I’ll have to get it from her to share.]

Now I’d like to read something that Adrian and Francis picked out. [Here he read a passage out of Kahlil Gibran‘s “The Prophet”.]

“Then Almitra spoke again and said, ‘And what of Marriage, master?’
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

[Then came the vows.]

I give you this ring with love and joy. Wear it and think of me and know that I love you. I am honoured to call you my wife/husband.

[Then we exchanged rings.]

And now you are truly husband and wife. May it be a long, wonderful marriage.

OK, there’s loads of booze and food, let’s go enjoy it!

It was a beautiful and short, and perfect. Matt did a wonderful job, and we’re so very glad he agreed to officiate.

Afterwards, we had a champagne toast in the back garden, took some photos, and invited everyone to eat.

There was roasted chicken with tarragon, roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary, a joint of roast beef, the aforementioned tarts, roasted vegetables, and garden salad.  There was a vinegary courgette (that zucchini to you yanks) salad, and the sourdough bread that Francis had made.  There was wine, more Pimm’s and cordials and champagne, gin and whiskey and beer.

At one point we did go down to the allotment despite the drizzle.  Our lovely niece Beth handed out flowers and Francis and I showed off the fruits of our labours.

Then we all went back inside and moved on to dessert: roasted hazelnut meringue, scones with homemade jam, Russian tea cookies (a.k.a. pecan puffs), and mango and strawberry salad with whipped cream.  There was also a cheese platter with one of every kind of gourmet cheese Francis could get his hands on, his homemade walnut and honey bread, and grapes.

And lastly, there was a beautifully dense and rich chocolate wedding cake.

The evening ended in a pleasant wine haze and lots of hugs.

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Snake Eyes, originally uploaded by Anita363.

Nature produces the most amazing geometries!

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Flying Bee, originally uploaded by laufd.

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Back in England.

Current: Light rain
Wind: W at 3 mph
Humidity: 95%

Chance of Rain
18°C | 13°C

Chance of Rain
19°C | 15°C

Chance of Rain
20°C | 13°C

Chance of Rain
19°C | 10°C

13°C is 55°F. Headed into work soon. Sigh.

Soon, though, lots of pictures of the allotment, the ring ceremony, and Germany!

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We’re in Germany!

Everything went great! There will be lots of pictures soon! We’re really tired!

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It’s almost 8.00pm and this is the first time I’ve sat down since I got up! Oy.

I’m having fun, though!

Francis has been shuttling foodstuff between here and Chris and Jo’s house (fresh mangoes, herbs, whipping cream, a hazelnut meringue he made this morning, etc), meeting with the friend who is taking care of the gliders while we’re away, and making trips to the butcher and grocery store. And he doing dishes while we speak. He’s a nice boy.

The rest of the Storrs are roasting the beef, making a leek and gruyere tart, baking scones, and generally being incredibly helpful. And thank god their cellar is so cool, because we’d never have the fridge space we need!

I ran a bunch of errands this morning, and I’ve been cooking up a storm. Stuffing mushroom caps, roasting beets (for a tart with goat cheese and fresh dill), baking cookies (pecan puffs dusted with confectioner’s sugar), caramelising shallots, roasting garlic, cooking chickens, and making pizza! (The pizza is for tonight, Matt is coming and will be hungry! Poor guy, he had four flights cancelled on his way here! WTF, Lufthansa?)

Still to go is the sourdough bread, chili sauce, and other bits, then I’ve got to iron things, paint my toenails, and hoover the flat. (The floor is GRODY.)

Tomorrow will be LOTS more cooking and setting things up. Flowers, fresh fruit, and other bits will be got. Things will be baked, sliced, diced, marinated, and finally… EATEN ALL UP! And drinks too, there will be drinks! And chocolate!

Not to mention RINGS!

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