Weddings and absent friends

A family weekend. The first of the August weddings, this time my niece Jodie and her new husband Pete.

I must add this is a wedding from the Cambridge side of the family. I’ve not been down that way since last November, for Mark’s birthday (he would have been 53) and I completely bottled out of the anniversary visit in June, just a couple of months ago.

Still, this was an opportunity to see all the family and in much happier circumstances too. At least there was a happy focus of the wedding as well as a chance to catch up with the family and to see how much the little ‘uns had grown. Turns out, quite a lot!

The two youngest girls (one a niece, the other a great-niece) seem to have shed their shyness completely, with my niece being a flower-girl to Jodie, something she clearly seemed to enjoy.

With the exception of the organist who got the time wrong and was late, and a shortage of burgers for the last table to be fed, everything seemed to go very well. And the band who played for the evening do were superb too. I thought it slightly mad that they were playing 1970s material which predated the bride by a decade or so, but it seems everyone knew the words to the songs!

Even the weather behaved itself, not bad given the tail-end of a US storm Bertha was coming through overnight!

It was a nice opportunity to catch up with Mark’s sister who was over from the US, as we don’t get to see her that often due to the cost and distance to make the journey. In fact last time I saw her was at the funeral. So again, lovely to spend some happier moments with her and her daughters who came over too.

The visit was a positive one, but not without its difficulties. Driving past the turning which I would have taken to go to Mark’s bungalow was a challenge for the emotions and the many references which cropped up over the weekend were never easy, although they weren’t too sharp in pain. The siblings are all recognisably  so, and it’s difficult not to see Mark in them.

The father of the bride’s speech ended with a toast to both Mark and to the bride’s grandfather, two people we all would have liked to have been present.

Getting home was a slog as Bertha was dropping her contents on the Midlands as I drove through them. I’d like to hope that counts as a washing of the car though. Saves me going to the garage to do it 🙂

This evening I happened upon this track on BBC Radio 2. With all the memories still resonating from the weekend, it was another poignant reminder of absent friends.

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