Nearly everyone who came to our wedding was at one or other of the services, as well as others of course, because we had a wedding that, long before Covid, had 30 attendees. I won’t say 30 guests because that included Tim and me. Alex lives in Jersey now and Rose couldn’t make it, otherwise everyone (apart from Dave, of course, whose cancer took him far too young).
Lynn and Adrian weren’t sure if they’d be able to come until the last day, but they were there. In the header photo, she’s the happy woman with sunglasses next to me. We’ve been friends since we were six years old.
It all went as planned, which was very well. I ran around busily all morning, though I had lots of help too and let go of a lot of the final food preparation, so that I could light fires and get things ready to be finished. Even as I scurried, I wondered why getting things just so was so important to me. I can’t answer that, it’s just part of who I am. I made lists, finally – I’d winged it without a shopping list but made one of the food and then a to-do list so that people could do a job and then tick it off (although I think I did the actual ticking).
I may get my invitation to book a booster vaccination in the coming week, so I’ve asked Wink to open any letters from the NHS and let me know. I’m also expecting my new iPhone to turn up, but I’ll get an email about that. So, however one feels and whatever events take place, the ordinary or extra-ordinary still carries on happening.
About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
I read Auden’s poem first when I was about 14 and, when I was in Brussels with Weeza and Ronan, some 23 years ago, I wanted to see the painting. They were quite happy to go to the Musée des Beaux Arts with me, until it took several hours to track it down. Their bemusement lightened when we found the Surrealists, because who doesn’t enjoy a spot of Magritte or Dali? But I was determined and finally found the picture. I was thrilled and quoted the entire thing to them.
“Um, is that it? Is that all?”
It might have been suggested that I never ask them to accompany me to another art gallery or museum ever again, but I think they’ve forgotten about that, because we have done so in the years since. But it makes me dismal to think about how ordinarily I behave most of the time, because there’s nothing else to do. One just has to keep on going.