01 July 2009

English roses

Yesterday the D.E.B. & I celebrated our one month wedding anniversary! The occasion had to be marked with some romance and just a wee bit of fanfare. So, we decided to plant a rose bush in the churchyard at St. Peter's Church, where we were married last month.

I spent yesterday afternoon scouring the nurseries in the area for the 'perfect' rose. The perfect rose was to be found at the garden shop in Charlecote. They specialise in David Austin Roses -- the roses to buy. 

We had thought we would opt for a classic, David Austin, antique rose, stately character and all, but on the day a fresh, funky new English rose won out. It is a new variety of David Austin rose that has the look of a poppy rather than a classic rose, very cheeky and sassy. And very "us" I thought.  A rose with personality. 

Speaking of personality, I had promised the Vicar when I secured his permission to plant the rose, that our little "romantic gesture" would not turn into a "thing," i.e. an event. Who was I kidding? This is Barford, everything we do here turns into a "thing"! And wonderfully so.

After finding the rose, I decided to bake a huge Devil's Food, uber-chocolate cake. (What is it with me and cake?) I was due to meet our dear friend, Sally, in the afternoon to work on her upcoming performance project, and had to cancel. 

I apologised profusely, sharing with her the details of our anniversary plan: "We're planting a rose in the churchyard. And the vicar and his wife are joining us..." 

"Oh, golly! How lovely!" Sally yelped with joy, "You must allow me to read something! Is that too bold a thing for me to ask? Do say."  How could I possible say no to such a sweet request.

 As I put the phone down, I realised our little gesture had become a thing...

I phoned Sally back quickly, and pleaded: "You won't bring the choir, will you?" She just laughed. Sally is an amazing, who I must write about at some point. She's 's a professional actor, and has acted her way around the globe and has three different passports! (We feel like we have known her forever.) 

 The vicar had a meeting until around 8 PM, so the D.E.B. and I went along early to prep the ground for the rose, and to take Lucy for a walk.  As we walked back to our house, with dog, shovel and watering can, we must have looked a sight.

Our very jovial friend, Robert, stopped us near the Village Shop: "You two look up to something," he laughed. After explaining our plan, an invitation was of course extended to him and his wife, Julia, one of my Monday-Wednesday Swim Club pool-mates. 

At this point, the D.E.B. and I looked at each other, and decided promptly to rush home as quickly as possible, and to be very rude and not speak to another single soul en route!

It has been uncharacteristically hot in these parts, so our rose planting ceremony was scheduled for late evening. We met in the churchyard around half 8: us, our wonderful Vicar, David and his fabulous wife, Sue, Julia and Robert and Sally. 

As promised, Sally did a beautiful reading from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet:

Then Almitra spoke again and said, 

"And what of Marriage, master?"

And he answered saying:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart, 

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. 

The vicar said a blessing over us and our rose, whom we christened Geraldine (after Dawn French's character in the TV series "The Vicar of Dibley"). We then popped a cork, and had some bubbly and chocolate cake in the churchyard. 

It was a truly lovely evening, and I am so thankful to our friends for joining us.

The D.E.B. then treated me to my favourite meal: Fish n' chips from my favourite chippy, Kingfisher's in Ely Street in Stratford-upon-Avon. Trust me, it is worth every bit of the 7 mile drive.

We came home, had fish and chips and watched The Italian Job with Michel Caine and Noel Coward. I cannot believe I have never seen it! It is an "Understanding the English 101" essential, and positively indispensable for understanding the British male psyche!! As well as a great laugh, and highly enjoyable movie.

So, the first month of marriage has been duly marked. As I said to the vicar, I am a woman of rituals. I think rituals are vitally important, an outward sign of intangible mysteries. I think a life without rituals would be very sad indeed.

The symbolism of our little ritual yesterday had escaped me until I was in the pool this morning chatting with Jackie 1, as she plowed through her daily 150 laps: "Well, Alycia. That's it then. You see, you've quite literally put down roots here in Barford. So you two are here for good now. No two ways about it." 

I certainly hope Jackie 1 is right.

1 comment:

sarahbear said...

LOVE that reading from Sally...!!!