Tick, tick, tick . . .
Luckily Captain Organised, otherwise known as Mission Control – the MC in more ways than one (Ged’s best friend, Steve) is here now for the duration. I gave him a list when he arrived and he is steadily working his way through it with his team of willing adjutants – Gary and Scott and anyone else he can rope in to help! We all report to him at daybreak and have our duties assigned to us – he is a genuine gem. Dedicated, passionate, determined that this wedding, this farm, this day, this house will be perfect. And, actualy, with him at the helm, it will be!
Ged and I are running around like little chooks with our heads chopped off and Captain Courageous is a calm, cool, constant – like a long cold drink on a really hot day!
And it has been hot. Through all the downpours on the last few months Ged and I have been practising the power of positive thinking: ‘it will not rain in March, it will not rain in March etc’. And it hasn’t! Clear blue skies, hot sunny days and crystal clear starry nights. Perfect for working miracles . . . .!
The fence is up (George’s brother almost fainted with the heat and the pace George keeps!) and George is back on his tractor, practising death defying antics against gravity as he slashes the hills at 45 degrees to the ground! So all is well with our world!
Mummy and Daddy arrived at 1pm on Monday so after donating blood to the pathology lab for the battery of antenatal tests (how much do they really need for God’s sake?) we raced into Port to meet them off the plane and reunite them with Melissa (who camped quite happily on the farm on Sunday night). They have had a few days in Singapore and then Sydney so are rested and ready to work! We had ourselves a convoy from the airport to The Observatory and they were thrilled with their accommodation and then I took them to the local supermarket to stock up on essentials before leaving them to snooze and settle in while we went back to our respective lists of jobs still to accomplish and set off in our separate vehicles to get the details dominated before the big day.
We liaised again for an early supper and again went to the Thai restaurant which was good. They absorbed Ged easily into the Morton family mayhem – regaling him with the tortuous tales of their antics in Coles this afternoon – how embarrassing! They lost me and found some other poor bastard’s trolley, had a good root through it, thinking it was theirs, and then deciding that they had more than they needed, started putting things back! I did warn him they were mad as march hares (it runs in the family!) . . .
On Tuesday they used the wedding directions to get themselves from Port Macquarie to Avalon and I took them for the guided tour before putting them to hard labour on the chain gang. Mummy washed down walls and windows, Daddy set to painting the skirting boards, and Mel did more washing and started sanding windows! Nobody said it was going to be a holiday! However, the beach soon lured them back to Port and as Millie and Phil and Issy had arrived, the need to get settled with them. We went into Port too for our last session for our Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound (testing for Down’s Syndrome, spina bifida and cystic fibrosis) which was beautiful – apparently we’re having a little human baby! We both left in tears after watching her cavort around, turning somersaults for the camera and demonstrating that she has all the requisite numbers of fingers, toes, essential organs etc. Up until now it felt like an alien had invaded my body (think Sigourney Weaver) but now we knew it was a baby, it made all the difference in the world. There’s a miracle, right there!
We also had our last session with the acupuncturist before the big day and our long break and then that night we had dinner with Ged’s parents and his brother, Denis, who has Down’s. It wasn’t ideal as poor Millie and Phil hadn’t had a chance to meet Ged but the McCarthy’s had to go to a family funeral the following day, so it seemed kinder to them not to drag them back from that for our family. We went to a really good but casual restaurant in Port and poor Mummy and Daddy had to try and get along with his frankly weird parents. Denis was really shy of all these strangers but overcame it very well to have some good conversations with myself, Millie and Melissa and luckily Ged was left to get to know Phil, Millie and Issy at last.
Meanwhile, back at the farm Steve, Scott and Gary were busting their balls for us! Scott put in beautiful tallowood benchtops in the laundry and bathroom, and Gary and Scott were building a retaining wall and garden beds, sanding and painting the front of the house and doors, stripping and sanding window frames, digging holes for flag poles etc., etc., etc., They didn’t stop, they barely breathed, they sweated their way to a perfect day for us.
On Wednesday the whole mob mustered at the farm and again pitched in where possible. Daddy took Phil, Millie and Issy for the grand tour of his farm and then it was all hands on deck as we try to steer this monster home! Of course tempers were frayed, stress levels high and harsh words spoken but that was inevitable under the circumstances! On Thursday the marquee arrived and after some frantic early morning mowing was erected by a very efficient team and Mission Control was on a mission with a miscellaneous gaggle of willing workers (including Ged’s dad) to cut down the bamboos for the flag poles and get them erected before the sun went down. It was hot, hard and hearty work and just amazing to see all these multicoloured Bali flags fluttering in the slight breeze. Team Morton, meanwhile, were hard at work setting up the marquee – All of a sudden it looks like we’re having a party!
On Friday nerves, tempers, stress levels and relationships were stretched to breaking point . . . Ged and I were still chasing around the country in our separate cars picking up things, dropping them off, buying smoked salmon for sandwiches, organic carrots for salads etc. Admittedly I did take an hour out to get my bikini line attended to for my romantic honeymoon and have my toenails painted (one more tick to the list!) but surely a girl’s allowed a little pampering the day before she gets married?
Back to the farm where the pace had been frantic since daybreak and I still had a hundred blueberry tarts, two huge salads for 100 and quiches for the vegetarians to make. No pressure at all then! Ged was in a state of complete confusion and catatonic shock after writing off the generator on the dirt road on the way out here, and we almost got divorced on Friday night . . . but luckily, and thankfully, we have the best of friends who took the strain and nurtured us over the finish line.
My wonderful Grippers turned up in the midst of all this melee and took one look at me and took over. Jane reigned supreme in the kitchen all night with humour, calm and confidence while Neil tended to the children and then took to ribbon decorating with me in the dark! Shirley and Marcel pitched up unexpectedly with a casual ‘what can we do?’ and were immediately put to the wheel. They unwrapped, catalogued and photographed every present from David Jones and then turned sous chefs in the kitchen to assist Janella Gripson as she practised her own, unique, brand of kitchen magic.
So as you can see it was all very relaxed!! We all quit at 11pm and went to our weary beds. The farm awoke early again on Saturday morning for those last little details to be taken care of. Cinderella that I am, I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor at 7am on the morning of my wedding and then when the house was pristine I ran away from all of it – literally. To calm my soul, soothe my spirit, and prepare myself for a day of love and celebration, I went for a good long run and then came back to brief Neil on his DJ duties for the ceremony itself and to have my hair trimmed before climbing in the bath for a quiet half hour of scrubbing the dirt from under my fingernails before fronting up as the not-so blushing bride! And suddenly all was calm, all was peaceful, all was perfect. No fussy dressers or make-up artists or similar, just me and my newly beautiful house, and my very dearest friends who, as usual, cut me down to size when I started stressing about the whereabouts of my beloved hairdresser, Ilia (who brought his family from Sydney and kindly cut and straightened and dried and primped hair for us for nought but love). I did my own face, Ilia did my hair, I got cranky with the relentless procession of nosy parkers poking through the door, and eventually we just slipped and zipped me into the dress, Jane tied the bow at the back of my neck, buckled my shoes, opened the Veuve Cliquot and waited for someone to go and find the rest of the bridal party! We had to round up the children, then we lost the Father of the Bride (who had been policing progress minutely until then!). He arrived and said the Best man was putting out a fire in the marquee (Lordy!) and disappeared again to find the groom! It was a comedy. The bride raring to go, peering out of the window, waiting for the groom and his bosom buddy to get to the altar!! Meanwhile, the guests were hiding from the relentless sun in various patches of shade so the Father of the Bride had to herd them to their chairs before assuming his rightful position at my side!
Vivaldi on the stereo and we were off! Jemima was very reluctant to scatter her rose petals so the ceremony started with laughter and joy. Jane made us all cry with her reading from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s ‘The Invitation’ and I had to send young Audrey back to the house to get me a tissue. Mummy read from Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ with passion and meaning, and we told the world and each other just how much we meant to the other, and promised that we would stay together even beyond the limitations of this world. Then we signed the register and Neil read The Apache Wedding Prayer before we adjourned briefly to the house and then back into the garden to greet our guests.