If anyone had told me three years ago that I would be getting married again, I would have said “Nah”. If they had added that it would have been in church, in a sleepy Devonshire village, I would have reiterated: “Nah, never.” If they had then filled in a bit more and told me that after the service I would be signing a marriage certificate whilst Syd Barrett crooned his words to Terrapin, I would have looked askance, shaken my head even more, and repeated the denial. As for following a jester down the aisle afterwards to the delightfully archaic tune Hot Ice, I would have said: “Nah, on yer bike”. But, three years ago I had not met Jonathan Downes …
So, here is my first blog as Mrs. Downes (my initials are now CND – which is totally besides the point, but still pretty cool). I shall try not to wax lyrical about 21st July as I am sure you will have seen the pictures on Jon’s blog and I know that hearing about someone else's wedding can get a bit tedious! A bit like those get-togethers with the neighbours to see their holiday videos - say no more.
But, after saying that, I must add that last Saturday will go down in my journal as a magical day to remember – a day which Jon and I shared in the company of our family and friends; a day when the bad weather held off for the most part and one on which we were both extremely humbled by those who endured a night’s sleep in their cars on the M5 as an aftermath of the flooding just so they could be with us for our wedding. For those of you who had to turn back, we, of course, missed you, but are glad that you got home safely in such dreadful conditions.
For my part (and I know Jon feels the same) my heartfelt thanks go to Graham, Richard, Mark, Oll, Lisa and David for their help before, during and after the wedding. Thanks also to David’s parents, Kaye and Roy, and his brothers, Ross and Greg for letting me stay at their place the night before (I hope I didn’t leave a mess everywhere)! Also Gavin and Robert – my daughters’ boyfriends – who got roped in at the last minute. This is beginning to sound like an acceptance speech for an Oscar lol. But, however it sounds, we really couldn’t have done it without you guys.
I told you about Mark’s icing skills last time, and, as promised, here is a picture of the wonderful wedding cake. Didn’t Mark do a great job? It was always going to be difficult cutting into it, as we did not want to spoil it, but we made sure to avoid the serpent’s head! If anyone out there knows a way of preserving it for posterity I would be very happy to hear from you.
Anyway, I think we should take a vote on how many people reckon Mark should take up cake icing as a sideline …
For others, the 21st July will go down in their own personal history as the day the last of the Harry Potter books came out. How I sniggered when I heard that it was to be published on the day of our nuptials. You may well not know, but Jon always used to retire to his bedroom on the first day of publication of the adventures of Master Potter in order to eagerly read it from cover to cover. The timing of this last one meant that it would not be possible for him to do so. What would he do? How would he cope? Never fear, when it came to packing to go away, the tome magicked its way into our luggage. Thus, as I lay me down to sleep in the beautiful wooden four poster bed, I could hear the avid turning of pages beside me as my Hagrid lookalike spent his first night of wedded bliss walking the corridors of Hogwarts. I can’t help thinking that there is something wrong there? Every spare moment after that, out the book came as he desperately tried to finish it before returning home, in order to avoid the possibility of someone letting slip the ending before he had got to it himself.
Despite our literary ‘cuckoo in the nest’, Jon and I spent a lovely couple of days away – we made a return visit to the Eden Project and saw the Pet Shop Boys, supported by Dirty Pretty Things. After our last visit, we went better prepared (with me even remembering to take a hat) and had a great evening. Once again, the audience was made up of all age groups, from children sitting on their parents’ knees to pensioners. This was, I think, the last of the Eden Sessions for this year, but it is definitely something Jon and I will look out for in years to come. I think one of the high points of the evening, apart from seeing the bands of course, was when Jon declared rather loudly that he could not do up his leather jacket as the shape of my camera and his cigarettes in his inside pockets gave the impression the he had breasts and that he did not think it very flattering.
We returned to Woolsery on Monday, and a wild, wet and windy day it was too. The perfect setting, perhaps, for a visit to that magickal place called Tintagel. I cannot remember exactly when I last visited, but I do know that it was way back in the 70s, and I fully expected not to be able to wander around quite as freely as we were allowed to on Monday. Apart from the fact that I nearly got blown off my feet at least once, I thoroughly enjoyed myself wandering around the ruins. I could not help but wonder in awe at the sheer tenacity of those who used to live there when it was first constructed. The weather along that part of the coast is well known for its roughness and it must have been a very remote and wild place back then. OK they had the thick walls, but the wind must have howled relentlessly. Whether or not you believe that it was the home of King Arthur, you still have to admit that Tintagel has a special unknown quality about it that not many other places possess.
Here is something that I use as an example … as I was going up the slippery steps I met someone coming down who gave me a look of slight recognition. I shrugged it off as a pleasant passing of the day and an acknowledgement of giving way to oncoming pedestrian traffic, and thought nothing more of it until, that is, I got back to where I had left my new spouse sipping tea at the little café by the babbling stream. When Jon announced that he had just bumped into someone that he knew – Professor Ron Hutton from Bristol - somehow I instantly knew it was going to be the same chap I had seen earlier. Looking across the tiny café I asked Jon for corroboration of this and he confirmed my suspicions. Hmm – now that is weird eh?
Funnily enough, after writing that, it has reminded me of something else that happened. During the interval at the gig at The Eden Project, my mind started wandering on to work (as it does) and I recalled a matter that I needed to discuss with Jon. Taking the opportunity on our honeymoon might not have been the ideal time, but knowing the failings of my memory, I decided to bring it up there and then before it slid back into the untidy filing system that I call my brain. Now here is the spooky part – apparently he had been thinking about exactly the same thing at the same time! That is creepy.
The sat nav did its indomitable thing on the way back, by taking us down some narrow Cornish lanes and round an impossible corner to negotiate in one go, thus causing a six point turn, backwards up a sharp incline with the ensuing straining of my tiny car’s engine. The little screen on the dashboard took no notice whatsoever of this discomfort, or my fraying nerves, but casually led us straight back into Tintagel, from whence we had come but ten minutes earlier, to take us a different way home from that which we had assumed we would be taking. Sigh.
As we approached Clovelly, a couple of miles from home, the weather closed in and a mist descended upon us. A portentous return perhaps? No, not at all. We returned to Myrtle Cottage to find that ‘the boys’ had been busy tidying up in our absence and all was well.
However … one member of the household was missing. Where had he gone? What had caused him to travel out in such horrid conditions? Oll, where for art thou?
He returned later, clutching a plastic bag. And in this bag? A book. And what book? Yes, you guessed it – Harry Potter. Aaargh.