Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's been a long long long time!

I have domesticated my cat.

He now loves a bit of home reno and is completely besotted with Banksia. With this in mind, it is time to update with some progress photos.

Taking the front yard from imagination. It's 5 years since I moved into my nothing-but-clay yard.

Stunning day here

My 'Japanese Garden'. Only Japanese because of the maples really.

Featuring a corner of newly rendered house and travetine paving.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


My wedding day started very, very early as I prepared for our lunch for sixty family and friends. Actually, any wedding day is just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone knows that there is so much that goes into a wedding day and a lot of people need to be thanked.

Even before the wedding day arrived we had been doing some serious entertaining... 

In fact even before the entertaining began there was a lot of stuff going on with phone calls, texts, emails and more as we coordinated (or tried to) across the planet as well as Australia. 

But it felt real when finally the first of our guests flew into Canberra.

Denise, David and Dan (the 3Ds) had made the long trip from the UK. Managing our excitement to show them everything was tempered by our concern for their jet lag recovery. Actually, Mark's concern. I wanted to drag them all over the place.

Two of our intrepid travelers: Denise and Orm

It seemed like a good idea to hit the road and get to Narooma as soon as we had the 3Ds in one place and that's what we did.

By Friday evening we were all in Narooma. Me, my kids (minus John who had to stay back with Mars until the last minute due to another party). Mark and his family. Pip and hers. Michael and his. 

So we began easing ourselves into the business of feeding the masses.
Mum and Dad BBQed for (only) a few dozen people that night!

By Saturday night the crowd had grown. Jock had driven from Junee at 4 am to prepare and put on the most amazing roast dinner for us. Loads of Kiaree lamb, mountains of baked veggies and gallons of gravy. Michael took the accolades for Gabrielle's roast beef which was a treat. And Mum was busy in the kitchen with all the extras to go with it. By then the crowd had doubled as we added in Christies, Mannings and a Bolt! And Kirsty too!

Jock - Champion BBQ-er with a well deserved beer

I'd stayed out of those preparations while I worked on the wedding-day plans.
Number one goal for Saturday was to cook a giant crunchy amber cake. A family favourite, it isn't a traditional wedding cake, but with its outer coat of meringue, it looks the part. 
I had bought a giant cake tin. 16 inches actually. Doesn't sound giant but the amount of mixture it took to fill it was a lot more than pie-R-squared would suggest.

I made cake all day. I kept hitting 'pressure points' aka moments when I almost cacked myself with fear as I realised I had a problem.
  • Hitting the back of the oven with the tin and realising the door is only barely closed while making the first layer
  • The fear I felt, turning it out of the pan without breaking it
  • Discovering there was no tray big enough to put it on once it was cooked
  • And finally knowing the humongous cake wasn't going to fit back into the oven properly to bake the meringue 
But it worked. Beautifully if I say so myself.

Neither mum or I slept well that night. When I got up after 5 am, I found Mum already pottering around and so we worked together getting lunch ready.
I lined up the slow cookers and got all the various curries going. Mum worked on the starters and mains she had arranged. (I started cooking the day before the wedding, but mum had been at it for weeks!)

The morning whizzed by.

Now I have gone through all the photos and there is one important person missing! Kirsty had come all the way from Canberra with buckets of flowers.
This was a really last minute thing. I had been avoiding the whole flower question as I didn't have a solution. It was a blessing when Kirsty offered to do a bouquet for me as our wedding gift.
It grew from there and now Kirsty was up at the crack of dawn like mum and I, working on her masterpieces. 

Flowers by Kirsty. Gorgeous. Wonderful. Thank you!
The flowers were perfect for the day
Bright, Happy and Pretty 
A perfect choice!

Time flew - our wedding was about to begin!
Linda Ord, our celebrant arrived and people gathered.

Gathering Crowd! Pru, Kate, Sarah and Bill  

Linda Ord - with a smile as bright as the day! 

Linda led us all into the ceremony. 

Wendy, matron of honour and bridesmaids, Erin and Kate 
 Linda settled the crowd and announced our entrance, playing 'In the Mood' as a fanfare. In sillier moments, I had flirted with the idea of walking in with Mark and the dogs on ribbons at our feet. Rejecting the idea as nonsense, we made our way without the boys. Ponyo, however had an instinct for theatrics and insisted on escorting us to the front of the crowd. George met him there and the two dogs sprawled in the space opened up by the crowd of family and friends.

Linda shared a little of our story... How it all started with a once upon a time virtual garden party.

All the kids had a role and Sarah (as an honourary daughter) did a splendid job with the reading.

Dan was ready when his moment came and had our rings ready. 

We love our rings. We had looked in all the jewelry stores locally and were totally underwhelmed by the offerings. We searched and found a silversmith online who crafted for us lovely etched and matching wedding bands. 

And there we were! Linda announced us married and it was time to kiss the bride! (Lucky bride!) 

And lucky groom

Taking us aside, Linda had us sign the register. That was more quickly done than the photos so we proceeded to let Mark pose with a pen. 

And Michael - our camerman -  took charge. 100 photos or more have been sifted through and almost all taken by Michael. We love how he has captured the day....the glimpes of the bay over Mark's shoulder here and the brilliant blue sky you see elsewhere. 

I particularly love this one but Mark isn't so keen on the flowerpot halo effect!

Wendy and Dan take their turn signing while the rest of us grin ear-to-ear

Behind the scenes, while we pretended to sign, Josh and Tom and my boys were making sure that everyone had a glass in hand.

And Dan proposed his first toast of the day: 'To the Bride and Groom'

Denise rushed forward at just the right moment and showered me in Dorset's finest petals!

And here is kind Joan - plucking them out of my ear!

I am so grateful to Joan and Norm for coming to our wedding. Joan is the link to my Hobbysew life and just so 'right' to have her there after all the support she and the other Hobbysew girls gave during the tougher days.

While behind the scenes the band of volunteers ran around tending to last minute food preparations, Mick fought the giddy crowd to create portraits of our family. Bear with me, because there are a lot of photos and I can't bring myself to leave many out!

The happy couple 

The happy couple and our UK family. Orm, Dan and Denise.

Mark looks thoughtful but on the inside he is very happy. My happy was on the outside

Then it's the happy (and proud) couple and the kids

John, Bill Erin and Kate

There almost wasn't a John. Daylight savings commence on the first Sunday of October. Fortunately I remembered what John was likely to forget - or perhaps never knew in the first place. A call to Canberra just before 8am confirmed my fears. And a rudely awoken John babbled, trying to make sense of the time when his phone said one thing - and his watch another.

The photo that nearly didn't happen! Fred, Mars, Gay, John with the bride and groom

A lovely family snap and....

...a close up of the girls

With the grandparents, kids, and kids' partners. My growing family!

Bill and Sarah looked great. We miss them a lot with them now living in Wollongong. But they are working hard and making a success of paying their own way while studying. And their happiness for Mark and I was the icing on our cake!

Adding dogs - from the divine to ridiculous

And even more ridiculous

At some stage we ate. And took a brief moment for speeches. As an act of great kindness and class, Dan kept Mark's reputation as spotless as it was when the sun rose.

A couple more toasts and from then on it was just time to enjoy the party and each other.

John, Bill, Mars and Erin

Bill, Sam, Henry, Pru, Maddy, Sophie, Tom and James

 The BoyZ!


 Aunty Ann, Fiona and Emma

The best photo from the wedding day!
This sums up the day

Thanks Pip for your smile

All present cousins (the 2nd generation)

All present cousins (the 1st generation)
 One of the best parts about getting married is that everyone is gathering for a good reason. With my generation getting past weddings and the next one barely ready for their own, we've been a bit short of splendid occasions and have recently only had solemn ones. It was wonderful and a gift to us all to have shared sun and happiness on this day!

Ann and Denise

I think by this stage Mark was looking for a quiet place. But at your own wedding, there is no rest for the wicked! So busy trying to talk to everyone, I can barely remember talking to Mark until about 5:30pm that night!

Mum and Dad meet Debbie again. Its probably close to 30 years since the last time they met.

Early on in the day, Uncle Don Fifield and Brian Webster were captured by the gate.

Time to pause here:
This is Michael and Donna! It's their fault that we had this party. It was going to be 'just a small affair' but Donna announced she was coming invited or not. She also said that she was ready to cook or anything else. 
Not empty promises.

Donna and Michael worked throughout the day. Every time I looked in the kitchen window, Michael was there doing dishes. They weren't the only ones. And I just can't go any further naming people as I am guaranteed to leave someone out.

But here is what makes our family and friends fantastic. People just got in and did stuff. Drinks were dispensed, the food served. And more food. (So much food appeared that we didn't even notice that Aunty Ann's salad didn't make it onto the table!) Slices appeared. Coffee was made. The kitchen was cleaned and messed and cleaned. Decorations were hung and then taken down.

I looked around me and saw the people I love most. There they all were, making a day for us to be proud of and a day we will always treasure.

Megan and Donna - major culprits. "We are coming anyway"


Emma, Fiona and Sophie
A nice tie into the Narooma location - Fiona and I spent our summer holidays together back when we were teens, much like our parents did. And now we have another generation to add to Narooma's summer.

Henry, Emma, Fiona, Tom, Gabrielle and Sonia.
A great chance to see my Junee family all together.

James - once one of the littlies, is swiftly catching up with my 'big' kids.

Bryce and Doug spending quality time together

aka 'The Captain'

These photos look like someone was making gags about Aunty Jane's height. With Bryce in the one before and Tom next.

Jane, Don, Brian Webster and Dad

Megan fills me in on things wicked in this world of ours!

Merrilly, Mick (snr) and Brian

Arty 'through the looking glass' shot
Michael B, Brian and Chris's back (I think)

Mick and Orm

A big thanks to Orm and Rose. Getting Orm out for the wedding was a real coup. Mark misses his family and having just a few at the wedding made such a difference. Moving to Oz was a huge move and we want so much to stay part of the UK family. 
While Orm enjoyed our sun, Rose managed on her own back home with the kids so she deserves a big thanks especially.

Mark is being told the finer points of life in Canberra from an ex-resident

Aunty Nora and Donna

In the background I can see Adrienne's back. Adrienne and Merv worked the crowd effortlessly. Dividing and conquering, they spread bonhomie.

From the moment it occurred to me that Mark and I might get married, I hoped that Dad and his band would play. We were totally thrilled when they did. Dad was on his feet all day as the band played and played and played. The Blues Fest may have been on, but no one near Bay Street needed to go as we were treated to a jazz fest.

Can you imagine? This is exactly how I imagined it would be!

Mars, Pru and Mum

Another special guest! Uncle Roger hasn't been well for quite a while so I felt humbled that he would join us for our wedding.


Tim, Rebecca and Pip

The day before it had been horribly windy but our day was gloriously warm and still. Everyone must have got the memo that said garden party and they all came dressed in colours that satisfied my soul!

Wendy, Kate and Erin admire their lovely bouquets that Kirsty arranged 

At the end of the day as the crowd thinned Mark and I ran off with Kirsty to show her the sights of Narooma. Seemed like the least we could do after she had slaved over the buckets of blooms! She made all the men's lapel pins too.

And my Commins Family.

Pip and mum have slipped out of their finery. Can't blame them. They worked and worked and I have to thank them both for all they did to make this a perfect day.
In fact, I have to thank all 5 of them who all pitched in without being asked at any stage.
Thank you all so much. I love you.

 And you too Mark