I’m thrilled to be granny of another wee girl, baby Imogen, a sister for Isobel. This time around we were able to go to Edinburgh to see her in the hospital. Isobel was a pandemic baby so we didn’t get to see her for a month. Isobel is very happy to have a baby sister, just what she wanted.
Last week we decided to visit some friends down in the north-east of England, now that we’re allowed to travel outside our immediate area again. Cramlington Village was one of the places we wanted to visit down there as Jack has a very old book with his great-grandfather’s name written in it – in copperplate – Armstrong Besford, Cramlington. Sadly he didn’t write his whole address. Anyway, we made for Cramlington which seems to have expanded a lot in recent years, but we reached the old village, parked the car and had a walk around the St Nicholas Church graveyard, in the hope that we might find a family gravestone there, and Jack found it! The church dates from 1868 but many of the gravestones were older than that, obviously the original older church had been built onto in Victorian times, as often happened.
Anyway, the gravestone tells the story of what happened to John Besford. He was run over by a train on Stannington viaduct!! The mind boggles. You can imagine how devastating that must have been for the family though, and his wee daughter followed him just a year later. Annie was obviously a bad luck name for that family as the Annie in the following generation also died very young, that was Jack’s granny’s older sister.
It drives me mad that gravestones in England only have a woman’s married surname on it. In Scotland we traditionally put the woman’s maiden name on the inscription. An old English friend of mine had assumed that none of the women were actually married to the ‘husbands’ in the inscriptions. As if – in Presbyterian Scotland! Having the woman’s maiden name there makes it so much more interesting and easier for people tracing family trees.
Way back in February Duncan our eldest son got married to Alex and since then I’ve intended to put my favourite photos of the day on ‘Pining’ but haven’t got around to it – yet. A few days ago Duncan wrote a lovely blogpost about his own memories of the day, illustrated with photos, so if you are interested you can have a look at it here.
Easter Sunday was a gorgeous day in the East Neuk of Fife where we were lucky enough to be celebrating the day at the home of our newly extended family by marriage in Cellardyke. Below are a few photos that I took from their verandah – looking over to the Isle of May in the distance, it was a wee bit hazy.
It was all go on the Firth of Forth – which is really the North Sea at Cellardyke, with next landfall being Norway.
Two lots of rowers went past in quite big boats and they went at quite a lick. There has been an upsurge in competitive rowing between the Fife coastal villages recently although I think it’s mainly women tha take part in it.
You should be able to see one of the big heavy rowing boats in the background. A pod of four dolphins arrived and swam under and around the kayakers for a bit before swimming off further along the coast, but they turned out to be impossible to photograph.
Ella and Zinki are waiting patiently at the gate which leads onto the beach. Zinki the spaniel had already cut his paws on shards of shell or something but it didn’t seem to be bothering him much, he was still determined to get into that freezing water again – and he did!
It did get a bit chilly later on, but by then we were into the home-made chocolate so nobody minded. It was a great day.
As the wedding was in February snowdrops were being used to decorate the tables, so both Jo and I were busy digging up snowdrops from our gardens and potting them up in various containers. We knew exactly how it must feel to try to get plants at their best for The Chelsea Flower Show. At one point it seemed like the snowdrops would be over and done with before we even reached the beginning of February as January was so mild. Luckily there was a cold snap which held things back a bit, but then I could envision not being able to get a garden fork through rock solid soil so I dug up lots of clumps of snowdrops from my garden and put them into the dark shed, covered with more compost. As it happens, if I had just left them in the garden until required everything would have been fine, in fact the ones that I didn’t dig up were in perfect form by the 16th. If only I had had a crystal ball. Of course because we were indoors they all closed up! I have no idea whose handbag that is in the background.
Craft breweries are all the rage at the moment and did you know that you can go along to one and create your own beer? So that’s what Duncan and Alex did, and the label is a photo of them both at the beach at Lunan Bay.
They’re both keen cheese eaters so a traditional wedding cake was never going to feature at their wedding, they opted for a cheesecake. They went to a specialist cheesemonger in Edinburgh and tested out lots of different cheeses before settling on this lot, so the cutting of the cake was quite different from usual. It went like ‘snow off a dyke’ so I didn’t get to taste any which I must admit didn’t bother me too much – I prefer traditional cake!
And just in case you’re interested in what I was wearing on the bottom half of me … as you can see, I favoured boots as if the date had been anything like it was last year there would probably have been snow on the ground. As it turned out we had perfect mild weather, but I was happy in my boots.
The wedding of Alex and Duncan (our eldest son) was on Saturday, at The Cow Shed in Crail – and a fine time was had by all. We didn’t take enough photos of the surroundings but you can see the venue via various other weddings here all very stylish I think.
Below is a photo of Duncan and Alex, taken just after the ceremony. Alex is an architect and Duncan is an IT manager, both working in Edinburgh.
It was a Humanist wedding which we had never experienced before but it means that the couple is in control and write it themselves so the celebrant told the story of how Duncan and Alex got together in the first place – Tinder apparently! Then how eventually they got engaged at Lunan Bay, a beach just north of Dundee and one that we used to visit as a family. You can see photos of it here.
The wedding rings were tied together with a small strip of the suit fabric and then they were sent around the entire ‘congregation’ in a ring-warming ceremony, each guest being asked to hold the rings in their hands for a few seconds, eventually the rings reached the front again and were passed to the best man via the other groomsmen. It was a wee bit of a struggle to get them untied, but eventually they were.
Meanwhile the mothers were involved in the hand-fasting ceremony, something that I only discovered the night before. I was a bit alarmed about that as I’m not one for standing up and doing anything in front of an audience, but I managed my part which was to lay a sash-like piece of Duncan’s suit fabric over the couple’s joined hands, then Jo – Alex’s mother – did the same with a piece of white silk, except this time the fabric is threaded under their hands and when they stepped back, hey presto – the fabrics are tied together with a knot – hence the saying ‘tying the knot’. Apparently it’s an old Scottish tradition but we had never seen it done before. It’s very effective. I’ll show you a photo of that eventually I hope.
Below is a photo of me and Jack which was taken by Duncan, he had just got spliced so I suppose we can forgive him for cutting off our legs! My dress was pale grey ‘fit and flare’ style. I have no idea why I’m holding two empty wine glasses. I wore a short woollen coat in a sort of cerise colour. I expected it to be freezing but it was a very mild day.
Our youngest son Gordon (the best man) got married a few years ago and the photo below is of him and his wife Laura. Laura’s dress was made from fabric from Hawaii, just in case you didn’t guess it! Gordon enjoys wearing his kilt but Duncan can’t be persuaded into one, the groomsmen were a mixture of kilts and suits.
Cat Morley (one of the many guests) took some great photos which she has put on Facebook, I hope it’s okay to embed them on ‘Pining’. I have no idea of the etiquette.
Bags of olive leaves were passed around the guests so they could all take a handful to throw in place of confetti as Duncan and Alex went up the aisle at the end of the ceremony. As it happens I’m just out of view in all of the photos, but I’ll appear in some of the official ones that were were taken – when they turn up.
There are a few more pre wedding photos here
It has been very quiet here over the past week – for a good reason as I’ve been too busy preparing for our eldest son Duncan’s wedding to the lovely Alex. The venue was The Cowshed in Crail – I know it doesn’t sound too romantic but it turned out to be a great place to have a wedding and the Humanist ceremony was perfect. I haven’t even looked at our photos yet – apart from the one I took on my phone, but I’ve nicked one that has appeared on the internet elsewhere, is that allowed?
Sparklers featured in the photo.
Our two handsome lads have always been opposites so it was no surprise when Duncan said that he wouldn’t wear a kilt. Gordon has his own kilt and wears it quite often, probably because he has been to a lot of weddings recently. Each to their own, the brothers get on well together, probably because they are opposites.
The wedding cake decoration is based on the logo of Gordon’s favourite band Forward Russia. No, not many people have heard of them, Gordon has quite an eclectic and sometimes quite obscure taste in music.
Laura is a big fan of cheese and she had joked to her girlfriends that she would really like a cheesecake as a wedding cake, so they concocted this alternative tower of cheeses for her.
And above they are cutting their real cake. The top half was Gordon’s favourite – carrot cake. The bottom section was madeira.
If you want a laugh have a look below at me in a hat, before I ditched the jacket and hat. I took advice from everyone on the hat and they all said wear it. Hmm – I can imagine what will be said about it in years to come! That’s the only photo I have of me at the wedding at the moment, I hope the others are better!
The tables were all named after albums by I Like Trains, another of Gordon’s favourite bands.
The photo below is of the ladies all dancing to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, and doing all the actions. I have the original album that the song was on and I find it quite amazing that all these years later women who weren’t even thought of back then are dancing and singing along to her music. The good stuff never ages I suppose.
The Stephen/Hobson wedding in Glasgow was a great success. Yes it actually was a piss up in a brewery so it couldn’t really go very far wrong, there was no chance of drinking the place dry. I only recently discovered that people in the US have never heard of the often used British phrase – they couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery to describe someone who is useless at everything.
Below is a photo that Jack took as we all waited for the arrival of the bride. Gordon is on the far left of course with his older brother Duncan beside him, Duncan won’t wear a kilt as you can see. Gordon’s kilt’s tartan is called Spirit of Scotland I believe. The other handsome chaps are friends from schooldays.
Of course The West Brewery has a bar/restaurant within it as well as function rooms and the staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more professional and hard working. The registrar was booked to come along and perform the actual ceremony, something that she must do several times each day probably but she took her time over it and had a lot of sensible things to say about marriage and relationships, maybe she doubles as a marriage guidance counsellor too! That was the first time I had been at a non-religious marriage and I must say I was very impressed with it.The registrar asked for no photos to be taken during the actual ceremony, I think that is sensible too.
Laura went for a 1950s style dress and hairdo, very stylish and different. Her hair is usually in shades of red/wine but she went for dark roots, ash blonde and purple underneath.
Gordon made all the ‘flower’ buttonholes and Laura’s bouquet from paper featuring the names of each persons’ favourite band and album names. It was all very music themed.
Below is a photo of their first dance, you can see that Laura means business as she has changed into her dancing shoes! As you see, the dress is longer at the back and underneath are tulle petticoats in purple, green and turquoise. It reminded me of a peacock’s tail. Lovely.
Below – Duncan and his partner Alex look like they’re really enjoying the beer!
It was a memorable day and I can’t wait to see the photos the photographer took.
It has been very quiet on ‘Pining’ over the last few days, that’s because we’ve actually been in that west that I pine for – Glasgow to be precise, celebrating our youngest son’s wedding. A great time was had by all and if you’re very unlucky you might see some photos of us all soonish.
Here is a photo of the venue to be getting on with.