September 26, 2010

We are family

We went to a beautiful wedding yesterday, full of hope and new beginnings.

It was in the exquisite surroundings of Rushton Hall, a stately country house, with the most stunning inner courtyard and surrounded by its parkland and a huge lake. It has an amazing history, including being the inspiration for Haversham Hall in Great Expectations, Charles Dickens being a frequent guest at the house.

But two memories of the day stand out in my mind: the way the the bride's face, so pretty and radiant, crumpled with emotion when her groom spoke - during the vows and his speech afterwards. More usually that kind of facial transformation is associated with shock or sorrow, but her lovely face just crumpled with joy - and she looked even more glorious for it. It was so real and sponaneous and moving. Also unforgettable, was the moment when the groom came to a sudden stop in his witty and urbane speech and choked up, managing simply to say, "oh, we made it baby". 

These moments made me realise again that, for all the beauty that life can bring to our senses, the exchange of love, of real, undisguised emotion and truth between friends, lovers, family is really what matters, transforms and nourishes us at the end of the day.

It also made me think that family comes in all shapes and sizes and configurations. Blood ties, partnerships, marriages, adoptions, companions, tribes and communities. It can be messy and painful at times, but is also the crucible of our character and deepest feelings.

Today, as our family regrouped for high tea after walks in a wood, music-making and rugby practice, I looked around the kitchin table and gazed at the shape of our family, and loved it.


  1. Oh so agree with you Belinda... precious and wonderful, cherished times and how lovely the wedding must have been. Thank you for the tags by the way... will try and get around to them next week - promise...!x

  2. Aaaah, that sounds so lovely.

    I love your family dining table action shot!


  3. How I wish my husband were as fluent with words like that..... still, he has other redeeming features. I looked at the table, surrounded by family and obviously a happy table with folk chatting, and thought again with sadness of my own childhood with just ma and me most of the time, and my sons childhood, which wasn't the same as mine, nor as gregarious as yours seems to be. It all made me feel sad really... not your fault, just a silly old fool being silly.

  4. No, Maggie not a silly old fool at all. I'm so sorry if the post stirred up sad feelings. The tricky thing about posting about things you are grateful for is that it can sound smug and I nearly didn't post this for that reason - infact I got someone to read it through to check!! Now, I'm wondering if I did the right thing, because making anyone sadder by reading my blog is not the idea.

    The thing is I think that we are partly a product of our childhoods, but sometimes, even dispite them, we become the people we are. Sometimes less than ideal upbringings can forge strength, independence and so many other vital qualities that can in the end be good things in our lives. And, big, cheery households like ours of course have difficult, messy times and our 4 kids have never had as much of our attention as they would have done in a smaller family, nor have we been able to afford to do many of the things that we would choose. Still, I'm profoudly grateful. But, I hope not smug.

  5. Hi semi-expat and sarah, thanks for dropping by, have a lovely week.xx

  6. Lovely thanks for sharing from the heart.

    xo Jane

  7. Lovely post Belinda - heartfelt sentiments and not in any way smug. Your reply to Maggie's comments reinforce that completely.

    Rushton Hall looks wonderful.


  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Oh whoops, I lost my comment! Was just thanking you all for your kind comments - particularly appreciated because I was off my 'safer' topic of flowers!

  10. Such a lovely post - it's funny how the simplest words can fill you with emotion. Reading your post and the comments has brought me close to tears - in a lovely, happy and grateful way I must add! Family is a wonderful thing, no matter how big or small - I guess your words just made me remember to appreciate mine - thank you! xx p.s. Rushton hall looks gorgeous.

  11. It's wonderful to see a family when they eat together during meal time. Enjoy a lovely day! Kellie xx

  12. Thanks, Mrs S - could just see you sashaying around Rushton Hall - you'd love it, has a spa too!!

    Welcome Kellie, thanks for visiting and I look forward to looking around your blog soon.