( William Morris. I read a section from 'Love is enough' at our wedding, nearly fourteen years ago.)
( Flowers from Marcelle Caro's garden; the bees kept on coming to them.)
(never could resist a gratuitous foody picture)
'We're off to look at baby clothes!' Isobel takes time off from having The-Bump-That-Will-Be-Ilan patted and admired by all the old ladies of the village, and is escorted upstairs by the ever-competent Fi to be guided through several boxes and binbags of infant paraphernalia, collated and donated by friends and friends of friends.
Girly chatter emanates from the bedroom. Later, ' I'd never dream of going into a label shop myself... there's even a Moses basket; I don't really need it but it's so pretty!' It nestles in the back of her car, the pearly cotton crochet blankets folded into neat squares.
Iso's mum Pippa, (far left in the picture above) comes up the garden arm in arm with Blind Old Helene. They have been down at the pond, where Pippa has learned three new French words, including 'nenuphar'.
Our old friend Jacquie is giggling at Jean le F., the very best neighbour that ever was, until he move to Ploeuc to form an informal retirement community based around the local Champion supermarket, and to collect waterbutts. 'Translate for me exactly what she has said!' he demands. Jack-the-Lad, hmm... my French fails me.
(Marie smiles on.)
Our rather quiet and understated clever brother is absorbed in conversation with our rather quiet and understated clever German doctor friend Brigitta.
My brother is not really a dog person.
Claude's rotund dynamo of a wife, Josette,
stops my hippy niece
in her tracks. She has to talk to her she says, because she had the chair de poule as they brushed against each other. This was a druid village, she informs her, le Houx, (our village's name ),the holly, in the Ogham script, was the letter for teaching and instruction, she is drawn to tell her. My niece says she dreamed of druids the previous night. The rest of us raise our eyebrows sceptically. Later, Josette is to be found knowledgeably discussing the properties of stone with Jantien the sculptor. New Age mysticism and connaissance of stones is not something I would have imagined in her.
My sister-in-law and our old friend Doug, both half-killed by chemotherapy in the last year, compare and commiserate (unnecessarily, in my view) their new curly hair.
In all, and I was too busy chasing my tail to take it all in, more amusing and touching and surprising vignettes than I can cope with.Later, and later still, we are tired, all tired,
and my sister takes the weight off her feet.
Any flies in the ointment, spectres at the feast, inevitable flaws in the intricate human tapestry?
How not? But not worthy of mention.
And, of course, you were right, all right, with your support and your prophesies. It was fine on the day, all right on the night, a great adventure, the sun shone, I had fun, and when the week began Robin's words brought the smile to my face and, by and large it stayed there. Bee, your mother was priceless beyond rubies in the delegation stakes; we couldn't have done it without her. The exhibition was more exciting than I ever imagined, a truly fabulous gift, but more on that, including Tom and his alabaster swan, anon. There are scores of photos of the sculptures which I need to sort out, and to take a bit of time to do them justice.
We're off to the abers tomorrow ( rias on the sout coast, abers on the north, the Spanish and Celtic influence respectively), and off-line again. Not blogging for a week or two is neither here nor there, but not reading other people's seems very remiss... I'll get on to it when I get back. I'll take camera and computer ( to sort through photos), and I'll prepare a new set of 'Compasses', but there'll be no internet.
Thanks again for the wonderful support, birthday greetings, and more besides.
When the dead and their deeds which die not will awaken
And the world's tale will sound in his trumpets of warning
And the sun smite the banner called scorn of the scorning
Dead pain you shall trample, dead fruitless desire
As you wend to pluck out the new world from the fire.'