Wednesday, 22 May 2013
As you can imagine this was an extremely emotional day made even more so because of the absence of the man I love. It frustrates me that my joy at even the happiest of occasions is dimmed by the knowledge that he is not there sharing them with me. I've never been one for crowds yet with him by my side I felt I could do anything. I still don't like crowds yet now it is the memory of him that gives me the courage to face them . Sadly on this most important day my courage failed. Thankfully I had both of my families on hand, not to mention my mother best friend, to keep an eye on me and give me safe haven. I stayed close and only ventured as far as my cousins table when I was feeling brave enough to attempt social. As a youngster I was chronically shy and though I did not retreat in to full teenage mode I found the whole day slightly overwhelming. As much as my friend's wedding years ago made me sad I had not given our families this day my brother made me happy for me that I had not been faced with it.
I am glad the day was everything my brother and his bride wanted but for me I was happy behind my camera recording what I could. I was content to speak to those who knew me well and would understand my awkwardness as part of my nature not an intent to be rude. I was glad I could hide amongst the familiar in a setting that was so unfamiliar to me. See I am not so brave. I face the unknown on a regular basis. I will jump off bridges, out of planes, dive the deepest oceans and go into the unknown without a missed heartbeat if I can. I will travel on my own, make friends as I go and trust that somehow life will all work out. But ask me to go to a big social gathering and participate and well, it's not as bad as spiders but I'd rather take the high jump. I'm just not good with crowds, never have been. In my line of work I can fake it and I can deal with them when I have to but when my emotions were so mixed and so deep on this day that it was just too much. Thankfully sister of the groom when the bride has a sister is the easiest job on the planet. Turn up, get your photo taken, in my case do a reading. I wouldn't have missed that day for anything and I am glad I have reached a point where I could participate to some extent but I can't help but wonder.....If he had been here would I have done better? Could I have done more? And if the answer is yes does that make what I did any less?
The fact is he wasn't there. I did my best. I missed a few dances and at the end of the night I went home alone, to an unfamiliar bed where, thanks to the thoughtfulness of my mother, I had his jumper, my stuffed dog and a brand new laptop to work out my feeling on. The next morning I discovered the joy of creating bubble]y mouthwash when you try use toothpaste as mouthwash (I had forgotten my toothbrush) try it, it's awesome fun. I had breakfast with my family and I tried not to hurt because he wasn't there. Maybe I shouldn't have tried, maybe if I had let someone in and shared my pain then it wouldn't have been so obvious but then hindsight is a wonderful thing. All I can hope is that my sadness didn't diminish anyone else's happiness. That when it mattered the most I came through. And if it didn't well I tried. I tried my best and I am proud because I know my best is so much more than it was even one year ago. Most of all I hope that the bride and groom had a fabulous day, that they didn't think of me too much (I'd say not at all but that's just not them) and that they will always be as happy as they looked that day.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Finally the day had arrived for my big brother to become a married man. The bride looked gorgeous in a dress that suited her like it had not only been made for but designed for her as well. My brother scrubbed up not too badly but most importantly they looked so happy and in love anytime they were together. It was an short but emotional ceremony. I was slightly terrified as they asked me to do a reading which in the end I wrote myself. Now I hate public speaking and there were 120 odd people there but this was something I desperately want to do and do right for my brother and his bride. I was so proud of them both and proud to be able to share in their special day. Well I messed up a little but the emotion and feeling were understood I think so I got away with the odd missed word, shaking and very wobbly voice.
Next came the photos where I entertained myself my taking photos of the photos being taken and stealing the odd nip of rum or whisky from the obliging grooms men. Only to help keep me warm you understand, after all it was a chilly day. Eventually the photographer was done and it was my turn. Oh not with the bride and groom, they still had a long way to go with the professionals, I headed back to the venue and got my SLR out to see what I could do with it before dinner.
I had great fun wandering round the venue recording the details of the day, flowers waiting to be gifted, a rather unique ceiling and of course the tables once they were set. Oh of course friends and family who were foolish enough to stand still long enough for me to take a snap. Once we were the wedding party arrived back at the hall and we were all seated it was time for the speeches. Now at least during the grooms speech I had an advantage. I had been allowed a sneak preview that morning when I had gone round for a cup of tea and to collect my flower. I knew who to aim my camera at and I was braced for the mention of Jonathan and who he was missed. Even with preparation I still had to raise my camera when the attention was once more on me as my brother informed the hole gather that I had written the reading I had stumble through earlier that day. I'm sure I looked strange snapping at that moment but when in doubt take a photo is my motto and I'm sticking with it. The same practice save me a few times that night. As happy as I was to be there and as delighted as I was for my brother and his new wife the absence of my love was keenly felt at times. During the second dance when I knew I should have been on the floor I had no-one to dance with, thankfully I was able to get some good arty shots from a hand balcony instead. And during a particular wedding favourite which for some reason the band sing of love lost instead of happily ever, after as I would expect at a celebration of love, I retreated once more. Mostly though I managed to remember that it was night for celebrating what was and joined in, which was rather easier once I swapped my pretty heals for less pretty but infinitely more comfortable flats! I even managed to steal a quick part-dance each with the bride and groom towards the end of the evening.
I am proud to say that I was among the last to leave. I walked with the bride and groom to the hotel across the road where we met the brides family. I may not have been in the best condition but I did think it would be nice to join them for a quick drink as I knew so little about them. Soon though the day really was over and it was time for bed. It had been an emotional day but I am glad to say mostly for all the right reasons. The day had been a celebration of my brother and his new wife's love and I wouldn't ave missed it for anything. It was without a doubt, a day worth coming home for.
Monday, 20 May 2013
It seemed like no time at all since my brother and his girlfriend returned from Nepal as my brother and his fiancée. Yet there I was on the bus travelling through the cold Scottish countryside on my way to our home town for their wedding. I was travelling the day before my own parents as I had been gifted some beauty treatments at my preferred beautician across the road from my in-laws house. Since I had no desire to turn up at the wedding with red eyebrows I thought it prudent to travel down on the Thursday allowing me the Friday to be waxed and polished and allowing me Friday evening to recover from the shock of looking properly civilised once more.
I travelled early so I could have lunch with my aunt in-law and catch up with her family. It was great to see them and hear their news not to mention my pleasure at an unexpected conversation with her son about physics and astronomy. He had clearly given a lot of thought to the subject we discussed and asked some difficult question that I did my best answer. After many years away I would have found questions about Australia easier but I found I enjoyed revisiting these topics much in the way I had with my young German friend in Cairns a few months back.
Having been fed and tested I had no sooner been dropped at my in-laws house than I was requesting the groom-to-be aka my brother give me a lift to a local shop to pick up a new laptop as mine had sadly decided that it was too old to travel. I communicated this to me by randomly turning itself off and restarting at the most inconvenient moments. I had thought to keep my brother company as the bride-to-be was staying with her family for the next two nights but he soon informed me that his groomsmen were doing their jobs well and would soon be by. With that in mind I declined the invitation to join them and headed back to wait for my in-laws only to discover they had beaten me home. We had a lovely evening catching up as they filled me in on their not so sunny holiday and I told them about my hunt for shoes. OK they had more to say but that never stops me.
The next day I subject myself to over an hours' worth of beautifying by a lively girl who chatted and made the whole thing rather painless. I left with fabulous purple nails and feeling like I wouldn't disgrace myself in the family photos the following day. That evening I was able to meet up with some childhood friends and the chat swung between our current news and old reminisces with many conversation never actually ending as one of us remembered something else. Such is the joy of meeting up with friends you have know since you were a child and haven't seen in over a year. I do regret the time we lost when we drifted apart but I am glad we are in touch now even though our friendship is very different to what it once was, after all we are no longer children living next door to one another. Sadly though we talked for hours the evening ended too soon but we all agreed it was time to go our separate ways once more. In my case it was to get an early night as tomorrow was my brother and his fiancées big day.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Another early start and I was heading back north. It took two trains, two buses and a plane but finally I was back in Glasgow in plenty of time to be collected from the airport my in-laws and taken back to theirs for a shower and to be fed before my generous big brother drove me to my gig. I know that any number of family members would have come with me indeed my brother was rather put out when he found I was going alone but considering how much time I spend on my own I truly wasn't bothered and didn't see the point of any of them wasting money to see a band they weren't interested in just to keep me company. In the end I got chatting to the lady beside me who was such a fan she had been to everyone of Matchbox Twenty's UK gigs. I was very impressed and it was good to know there would be someone more nuts than me close by.
It was a great gig with a mixture of old and new songs. Since their latest album is one of the few I bought whilst in Australia and I have been a fan for almost 14 years I was ecstatic. I sang and cheered so much that my voice was almost gone by the time my brother collected me at 11pm. As much as I enjoy being back in the town I called home for more year s than I care to remember the next day I was off again. Finally I would be heading back to my parents house in Aberdeenshire.
I stayed with them for almost two weeks. One of the first things we did was to meet up with my cousin and Aunt for a quick catch-up lunch. Sadly again my timing was off as my cousin would be away for most of my visit home and therefore apart for the wedding this was my only change to see her. Having found a dress to wear to my brother's wedding we then had to find shoes so since we were in town for lunch we started that day. I had no idea that high heeled back patent shoes came in such a variety of styles. Eventually after many more days shopping we found the right pair in the right size. It was smaller than I usually wear but the others I had tried kept sliding off my heels so I thought this would be best since I didn't want them to fall off if I ended up dancing.
In between various shopping trips for shoes I also managed to find a wedding rose plant as a gift for my brother and his new wife on their wedding day. I had wanted to find the same rose as the bride had in her bouquet but they weren't garden roses so I felt this would be a fine substitute. Back home we use our time wisely by relaxing and one afternoon my mum and I made some pancakes which brought back some fabulous childhood memories. My fabulous parents even drove me to St Andrews so I could catch up with an old uni friend. I had hoped for a nice day so we could all enjoy our day out but typically it rained. Despite the rain my friend and I had a great time catching up and walking around in between showers. It was strange to meet him in the place where almost ten years earlier we had graduated together but fun to see what was the same and what had changed.
To make my visit home even better wonder of wonders my SLR arrived fixed and working like it had never had a fit at me all those months ago. This resulted in me going with my mum to her health club and taking many photos whilst she was getting beautified. I was fortunate enough to have been given my beautifying treatments as a birthday present so before I knew where I was I was back on a bus and heading to my old home town again. This time I was travelling light as my mum had offered to bring my luggage with her the next day when she and my dad would be travelling down for my brother's wedding.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
I’ve always fancied visiting Wales and since a good friend of mine was currently living there it seemed a shame no to take advantage. Of course I would decide to visit her as the college term was coming to an end with many assignment and exams looming but since I would only be in the UK for a limited time (organised around a certain persons wedding) there weren't too many options for when I could visit. It was great to see her and she did give me a range of options for exploring Swansea and the surrounding area as well as offering the use of her bike. I did walk in to the centre most days and visit a fabulous little cafe for their delicious hot chocolate and cakes but mostly I watched Dr Who. I love Dr Who and only started watching it when it returned to our screen with the 9th Dr so I was delighted to revisit it by watching her box set from the beginning. It made me a little sad as it was Jonathan who insisted we watch them since he remembered the originals. Of course I was hooked right away so we then had to watch them all. Anyway, it’s a great show and I was happy to wrap myself up n a blanket and watch them only occasionally disturbed by the cat meowing at me as if her food bowl wasn't completely full or doing something incredibly cute.
Despite her heavy college load my friend spent her evenings entertaining me. One night we took a trip to a nearby beach which thought really windy was apparently not as windy as it could be and the views were spectacular. I know I've said it before but I really wish I had my SLR as I am sure I could have managed to take a few decent shots, well with that and a tripod to help battle the wind! The bracing walk was followed by a pub meal in a great little pub that had a surprisingly extensive specials board and made a properly decent burger and chips which I did douse in vinegar and made me feel quite at home.
On the Saturday we had a fairly early start and took the train to Cardiff for yet another attempt at finding a dress but first...... First we went to the Bay area and the Dr Who Experience. It was awesome and fabulous and so very geektastic. The walk through at the start was well thought out with references to many of the 11th Doctors adventures and enemies which finished with one of my better 3-D experiences. Then we spent a fair while looking round the exhibits at the old costumes and the evolution of some of the more well known enemies. I think I read every plaque and more than ever I’d like to see the original series. The true highlight was one of the staff taking my two stuffed companions and placing them on the TARDIS for me to take their photo. When she asked if I’d like her to do that I could only answer that she had no idea how much I would like it, I really am such a geek.
Finally I had read and photographed all I could and it was on to the shop where I swear if you could think of it they had a Dr Who version of it. I was tempted in to buying some 50th anniversary commemorative stamps thus probably moving from geek to nerd and my friend bought me a present of a Dr Who note book and pencil which will definitely be coming on my next set of travels with me.
Before tackling the dress shops we took advantage of the beautiful day to have lunch outside Cardiff castle where the food and rest left me almost ready to face the shops once more. Of course by now it was easier as I had a better idea of what would and wouldn't suit me though we still managed to gather quite a collection as we headed for the fitting rooms. Thankfully after only a few dresses we found the one. I didn't even bother trying on the rest as I knew I had found what I had been looking for. Though technically my friend found it and a great but too expensive pair of shoes. Dress finally conquered we spent the rest of the afternoon window shopping before settling in a pub for a well deserved glass of wine as we discussed our dinner options. We eventually decided on Wagamama’s and were not disappointed though we declined desert in favour of the mini muffins back home. Once home we were greeted by an accusing cat, as if she hadn’t been asleep upstairs all day, she’s a gorgeous cat but she wasn’t fooling anyone.
Before long I was back in my usual place on my friends sofa with wine and cake which felt like a very fitting end to a chilled but too short visit. As much as I would have loved a longer visit I had a gig to go to the next day and she had a house to renovate and a job to work on not to mention a college course to get on with. Makes me tired just thinking about it! It’s a good thing I’m on holiday and I must make to most of it as during my visit I got an e-mail from a boat I’d like to volunteer on saying to keep in touch as they might have space round about the time I’m due back. It’s exciting but if they do as amazing as it would be I am sure I shall earn every dive.