I know I left you hanging . . . but really, that was enough for one read!
OK, where were we . . . ?
Ged and I were clutching a glass of champagne each (I had done a deal with the baby about this!) and making some rounds of our lovely guests. We were soon marshalled for photos by our assortment of talented and delightful photographers (all friends) and we pretty much did photos on demand with all our friends and guests who wanted one while everyone else sipped champagne and ate sushi and smoked salmon sandwiches. Then Ged and I went down to see the horses for some pics with them and for some reason Naughty Tinkerbell (obviously realising that this was a serious photo opportunity and her big chance to shine in the limelight!) suddenly turned into Miss Butter Wouldn’t Melt in her Mouth! Quite bizarre!
After that miracle we adjourned to the marquee for the meal, the speeches and the small amount of dancing (don’t know quite what happened there – too much talking?) The food was superb. Our friends excelled themselves. Steve Fripp (Ged’s mate) did the pig on the spit which looked and smelt divine and was apparently so succulent and tender that it literally melted in your mouth (of COURSE I didn’t have any!) Jane and Shirley’s grated organic carrot and raisin salad with my secret, special, lemon and coriander dressing was truly divine and the similarly cheffed potato salad was lovely. Onc everyone was sated and sufficiently lubricated we kicked off the speeches. Daddy was first and amazingly restrained – he didn’t talk about the hell I put them all through in my troubled teenage, truculent twenties, tortuous thirties and flirty forties AT ALL! He just said that they thought I was mad when I wanted to buy the farm and now they knew why I had been so insistent and persistent and that he was bloody glad someone was finally brave enough to take me off his hands! I had been prepared to blush and hang my head in shame but no need! Steve was next and told long tales about how he had known Ged since they were nippers together and all the strange boys’ own clubs and sports they had done together. He, too, was very restrained for fear of telling the McCarthy’s things that they had no idea about in their son. Then, Ged who said lots of thank you’s, and lord, we have lots of people to thank! I had always planned on making a speech (you know I like to have the last word!) but when Steve opened up the floor to anyone else who wanted to say a few words, the resounding call was for ‘the bride’ so it was good to have my decision condoned!
Firstly I had to thank Steve for a level of unselfish friendship that was an honour to behold. He has humbled us all with his decision to serve and to ensure his friend had everything he ever dreamed of and more. He gave us all a new model for love and friendship. Then my family who not only came half way around the world to bear witness to a miracle, but came prepared to work to make the miracle happen, and did! My parents who have supported so wholeheartedly for so long and who, with misgivings, put their money into the farm to make my dream a reality – let’s hope that today they see that they did the right thing. Then I had to thank MY friends who know me so well, through thick, thin, flaws and more and still talk to me! Who come to the party every time whether it’s a pity party, a celebration, a wake or a dreaming and support and nurture and applaud. I love you guys. Then George who has been the apex on which our world has turned for the last 9 months and who has single-handedly rescued the farm from the relentless twisting arms of lantana and blackberry, the devastation of fireweed and the scourge of bracken. Who makes us laugh every day and who is a joy to have around. And then the Grippers who I love with all my heart, Shirley and Marcel who came, and saw and conquered and have remained my friends though our differences have been huge, for over ten years.
Ged and I are very lucky – we finally found each other and in doing so have been embraced by the other’s friends – people of great humour, strength, honour, integrity, humility, joy and love.
Finally I shut up and those much agonised over blueberry tarts made their appearance and were devoured with relish by all present (well done, Jane!). Then we cut the cake which had been made with so much love by Ged’s Aunt, Fran and just looked and tasted, beautiful.
And then, by popular demand, and thanks to Angus’s ipod we got down and did Nutbush City Limits (twice!) Which is certainly a novel first dance for the bride (the groom didn’t dance!)
But then, the whole day was completely unique, essentially beautiful, totally from the heart and soul. Perfect.
Sunday morning we woke to see young Grippers and Millie and Phil and co., coming over the hill to rouse us and we spent a happy morning drinking tea with a succession of risers and downloading their photos into the Mac, reliving the day and enjoying the photographic evidence. When all the happy campers were up and about we got the bacon and sausages on the barby and indulged in a hearty, greasy hangover cure and then waved goodbye as everyone left soon after. Ged and I both cried as my family drove away – it was too short, too little time, too much else to do, and it will be too long before we see and spend time with them again.
With just the hard core left (us, Grippers, Steve and family, Gary) we got down to work – checking crockery, cutlery and glassware for cleanliness and breakages, counting and packing them all away as delivered. It was a relaxed day with friends, talking, discussing, philosophising, character building and assassinating, all the essential accoutrements for the day after. Finally it was all done and we could relax. The Grippers got in the river and we just put our feet up. The Torpy’s (Steve and family) and Gary left us with their cars laden with leftover beer and we had a happy family supper and an early night. Monday morning saw us up with the larks, still sorting and packing and feeding the children and taking phone calls from Mel whose train to Sydney had turned into a coach (is there more than one Cinderella in this family?) and could she come in the car with me? So it was all systems go getting hire stuff back to Port Macquarie, picking up Mel from Wauchope, getting Phee’s jabs done for kennels, getting the house and fridge cleared and locked, the chooks chased in their pen and the Grippers to the airport. And then there was a general reunion at the airport as my parents, Judy and the girls and the Grippers were all on the same flight to Sydney. So that was a lovely surprise and bonus and we all got to say goodbye without the stress. Then Ged left to do the last of the running around before his later flight to Sydney and mel, Phee and I set off on the long road down to Sydney (Mel) and Berry Kennels for me and Phee and then back to Sydney for me!
Needless to say it all got done though there were some very tired little soldiers at the end of the day . . . .