It seems like we have been following the blossom since we arrived in Spain a month ago. First there was the lovely pink and white almond tree blossom sprinkled across the plains of Rioca, followed by the gorgeous orange and lemon tree blossom wafting their scent along the Camino rural paths in Valencia and now as we arrive in the Northamptonshire countryside, we are greeted by cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Spring has followed us over this past month, and it has finally settled at Whittlebury hall, heralding a new beginning at the wedding of my stepdaughter Elspeth and her partner Martin.
We have been looking forward to this day since the soon to be bride and groom announced their engagement 18 months ago. There have been months of planning by the happy couple, but all we had to do was to get ourselves here on time. A flight from Alicante and a car hire from the airport and it was looking good. Now there was just the small detail of our outfits. Johns kilt had been deposited with his daughter many months ago and my daughter who was flying from Edinburgh was bringing all my regalia in her hand luggage. Luckily all goes to plan, and we potter away the morning of the wedding, lazing over breakfast, chatting to family and friends and watching children’s TV with John’s grandson Joe. Before we know it, we are suited (kilted) and booted and making our way to ‘The Orangery’ where the bride and groom are to be married. Elspeth was simple stunning as she descended the stairs with John and the pianist kept us entertained with a real mix of ‘nontraditional’ tunes, including a few of Elspeth’s Disney favourites. There was a tear in my eye as the couple said their vows and a duet from the couples musical theatre friends kept us mesmerised while the new Mr and Mrs Duffy signed the registry. The day was a fun fusion of Scottish and English traditions with disposable cameras and cuddly highland cows on each of the tables for the children to play with (and take home), a guestbook and fingerprint tree, a ceilidh band (with a caller), and a fully stocked sweet shop! A great idea to keep the children amused…. well that’s what we thought until an overexcited grandson gorged himself on sweets and after jigging The Eightsome Reel he managed to empty the full contents of his stomach over his dad and grandpa (John). Nothing that a few paper towels, a change of clothes (for Joe) and a good dry clean will sort!
Ours is a blended family, which we think is a lovely way to describe the fusion of both families that our marriage brought together. We both count ourselves very lucky to be part of one big family and this day at Whittlebury, with the wonderful wedding of Elspeth and Martin, we have witnessed the blossoming of another branch of our family which we’ll take great pleasure in being part of in the future. And so, as we arrive back at our campsite late on Sunday evening, for the first time on our adventures I feel unsettled. I guess it’s because having been with family, it doesn’t feel like ‘Cassey’ is home. They say ‘Home is where the heart is’ and just for a little while my heart is still at Whittlebury where most of our family were with us, smiling, laughing and dancing the night away.