Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Wedding (part iii)

This story starts here, and continues here.

The wedding ceremony itself was pretty simple.  Pretty short.  

We felt that we'd given everyone ample time to contemplate love, our marriage and what it meant to our extended family and friends.  We didn't feel we needed to cover it again by reading out poems or speeches.  We asked my parents to accept Hayden into their family as a new son and a new brother, and we asked Hayden's parents to accept me into their family as a new daughter and sister.  Hayden and I made a simple promise to each other to love and respect, be honest and faithful to each other, come what may.

Then we sealed it with a kiss.

Before I met Hayden, I didn't think I would ever get married.  It just hadn't seemed likely to me - I had always assumed I'd grow old by myself in a dingy flat crammed with books.  So I came at it my own way, hopefully in a grown-up way.  When I made my vow to Hayden, it was important to me to make a promise that I could keep forever.  I didn't want to promise to stay in love, and if it didn't work out just cancel the vows and regret the whole thing.   Though I didn't spell it out at the ceremony, my promise to Hayden was that, come what may,  even if our marriage didn't last, then my promise would still hold.  Even if our relationship changed and I had to find a new way to do it, I would always love and respect him, be honest with him and be faithful to the wonderful time we've had together.  Does that sound pessimistic?  It doesn't matter if it does.  It was important to me.  I knew what I meant, and so did he.

Then we signed the forms and the marriage certificate, thanked our celebrant and stood still for more photos.  

And it was all done.  While we waited for the champagne to come out, someone asked me "So what's your name now?" and I answered in a whisper: "The same thing it always was."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Wedding (part ii)

This story starts here.

First thing on the morning of our wedding, I looked out the window to see what kind of day we'd got.  It was beautiful!  The blue sky was shining through the trees and I started getting excited, wondering if everything might just go according to plan.

Hayden and I were in a little cottage, secluded by about ten km of winding country road from our guests.  We wrapped ourselves in bathrobes and wandered down to the creek below our balcony, hoping to see a platypus.  There were rumours they lived there, and I was sure we'd be in for a treat, you know, a special good omen for our wedding day ... but no such luck.

Then Hayden disappeared with his groomsmen and my sister came down to help me get ready, though we quickly agreed there was not much to do in that department.  I had no hair or make-up appointments, no fluster or bustle, so Louisa and I and her boyfriend Nick, our driver for the day, went for a walk in the rainforest instead.

I found out later that some of our guests had also spent the morning walking and visiting the waterfalls nearby, and it was exactly what we'd hoped they'd do.  We'd left the schedule open on purpose, to give everyone time to do whatever they felt like, and I was so glad they went out to enjoy the surroundings like we do on a weekend visit.

When we got back to the cottage, the photography team were there waiting for me.  It was time for me to get on with the business of the day.  Nick and Louisa melted into the background; Louisa disappeared to get herself ready, and Nick went off to smoke nearly a whole pack of cigarettes and tie the ribbon on the car.  I went in alone to face my dread: the 'bride gets ready' photography sequence.   

I know it's just a standard bridal thing and I knew it would be nice for Hayden to see later what I'd been up to beforehand, but... it's just not my thing.  For a start I didn't even have a dressing table and mirror surrounded by lightbulbs, and I had to do with the rickety picnic table out on the balcony.

Hint of lipstick, bit of mascara, then all of a sudden it was time to go.  I put on my shoes and my veil and it was exactly how I'd imagined:  the veil tilted my head wonky and the heels of my shoes sunk into the grass.  I had become a bride.  I wished I'd spent more time practicing that.

To be continued ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Wedding (a recap)

After the first week or so after your wedding, people tend to stop asking you "So, how's married life?"  And when you have had your dress cleaned and put away in a box, and found possies around the house for all the beautiful gifts you received, life gradually drifts back to normal.  Then, suddenly, you realise that three months have slipped by and if you want to take the opportunity of showing your wedding photos one more time, you're going to have to do it now.

We still haven't received the big expensive album from our professional photographer (not sure if that is her fault or ours), so I've been sifting through the photos that the rest of us took that weekend and singling out the ones that seem to have great swathes of memory attached.   Rather than the pre-arranged photo ops - cutting the cake, making the toasts etc; I'm far too self-conscious to enjoy all that attention - these were really the mini highlights of that time.  Kicking my way through a sea of balloons made me feel more like this was my party than any fairytale long white gown, and I'm very glad I've got this photo to remember the moment by.   

Before we got married there, our wedding venue - a former convent converted into a guest house - was already one of our favourite places for a weekend away.  When Hayden and I arrived there on the Friday afternoon it was eerily quiet, and it was hard to believe that this was the start of our big event and not just another 'reconnaissance' trip.  It all felt a bit unreal when we heard cars arriving out the front, and went out to greet my family who all happened to arrive around the same time.

And it was slightly strange to see all these familiar people in a place so far away.  I suppose it shows that we do feel isolated up here in Queensland, and it doesn't help that it could be a lot worse.  I mean, it's not like we're in different hemispheres or time zones, it's just a two-hour flight.  But we never get to just invite them round to our place for a homey dinner or an afternoon chat.

While we were greeting our guests, I was also attempting to achieve the one urgent thing I had to do that afternoon:  arrange the flowers.  They were the only part of the wedding preparation that I had left somewhat to chance, and if you have ever been to Townsville you might understand why.  It is not generally a flower-friendly place.   Most of the year it's too hot and humid for delicate flowers and they just wilt while you're looking at them, and consequently our local florists tend to be ... well let's just say that there's not much around that's to my taste. 

It was my mum who suggested we might find flowers closer to our wedding venue.  So about three weeks before the wedding we ordered a couple of bunches from a local rose farm: I told the lady what colours I wanted: ivory, champagney beige, and pale green.   And with typical North Queensland candor she told me she couldn't promise anything.  Strangely, that didn't worry me at all.  I just had a feeling that it would all work out.

And it did! we got the colours we wanted (for just $10 a bunch!) and my sister Louisa effortlessly transformed them into beautiful bouquets.  

When I saw them completed, they took my breath away.  They were one of my favourite things from the wedding, and in fact I kept them.  They're all dried up and hanging up beside me as I type.  They are not looking anywhere near as good as on that day.
Yes, but I'm getting a bit ahead of the story with that photo.

To be continued ...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Brilliant Weekend

This weekend was ace.  I spent ages lying in our glorious winter sun reading the most frivolous novel imaginable:  Cheri by Colette.  I mean, I haven't read it all the way through yet - does it get more serious towards the end?  All I've read about so far is love affairs, luncheons and Paris apartments.  Perfect fodder for a dreamless sleep.  Not like that crazy-scary Wuthering Heights I was reading before.

Things have been a bit stressful recently.  I'm still unemployed and heading for broke (well ... perhaps I shouldn't have spent our groceries money on a kick arse dictionary) and I've been lacking energy for no good reason.  If the doctor says I should 'continue resting,' who am I to argue?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Thing Is -

Last week, I quit my job at the coffee shop.  Things were changing there, and I thought it best to make an amicable parting while things were still amicable.   

However, I now feel awkward about going back there as a customer.  Even though the parting was amicable, and even though it was my favourite place for coffee in Townsville.


Yesterday, Sunday, we did what before was unthinkable.  We went to another cafe.

We sat in a delightful courtyard at a beautiful weatherbeaten table.

We worked on our crossword ...

discovered the breakfast menu...

And found it was delicious.

I really hope I don't ask for a job at this new favourite cafe.  It's much too nice to lose.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Unpredictable Winner!

With the names of the six competition entrants spread out on the floor, I attached to each name a small but highly valued kitty treat.

When I let Lily back into the room, she went straight to the one that looked best to her.  (She's always extremely particular about which of the identical biscuits she'll go for.)

With little fuss, Lily selected a clear winner.  Congratulations Mags!  You'll receive a signed copy of Eileen Cook's debut novel Unpredictable.

Well played everyone else.  

And a special thank you to you Eileen - this was really fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unpredictable - and a prize givaway!

When I first mentioned Eileen Cook's novel Unpredictable, I was in pain.  I was nearly delirious with medication, and I described the book as a cheer-up piece of citrussy almond cake.  Although I'm quite a bit less delirious now, I'm sticking to my first description of the book.

Unpredictable is a romance with comedy, so the prize I mentioned is not for guessing whether the herione gets her guy in the end.  Of course she does!  But it's really entertaining finding out how she goes about it. 

The heroine of the story is Sophie.  She's hilarious.  I wish she was real so I could hang out with her.  It's Sophie's idea to pretend she's a psychic - first at a psychic fair and then in the media - in order to stop her boyfriend from moving on from their six-year relationship.  Sophie does tend to find herself in all sorts of awkward situations - she's often climbing into and under things, and crawling away on all fours so as not to be seen.  She's kind of a mess, but a very clever funny quick-thinking mess.  If she ever got her shit together, she'd be an extremely formidable person.  As it is ... she's just hilariously funny and cute.

Thanks to Sophie, there's a lot of physical humour and slapstick in this book.  You can picture the action as it's happening just like it's a movie - and I really did laugh out loud while I was reading it.  Most of the time I didn't realise - it was just when Hayden said "What? What??" from his side of the bed that I realised I was giggling out loud again.  Even though he doesn't really read novels (pretty much just triathlon magazines and biographies of sports heros) he's in line to read Unpredictable next.  Who'd have thought?

So, because she's lovely, Eileen is sending me a signed copy of Unpredictable.  And because I already have a copy, it seems like we've now got one to give away.  Would you like a free signed copy of Unpredictable?  If you would, please leave me a comment by the end of this weekend (Townsville E.S.T).  If more than one person leaves a comment, I'll get Lily to randomly select the winner.  Oh, and if you've never left a comment here before, you might even find a little something extra in the prize pack. 

Good luck!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Winter Dinner

Cooking dinner is not really my thing - it's Hayden's, and he has even been known to get a little bit tetchy with me when I stray into his domestic territory.  It's his creative time of day, and I try to leave him to it - I'm usually delegated the task of keeping Lily distracted and out of the way (or is it that she's delegated the task of distracting me?)  

Last night, however, I took control of the kitchen and was inspired to stir up a wintery pea pumpkin and parmesan risotto.

I was glad I did.  It turned out quite well!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Are you in Melbourne?

If you are, I'm jealous. You get to see Magda's exhibition of photographs at Off the Kerb in Collingwood.

Her photos are wondrous in their detail; it's like looking at what's spilled out through a crack in the surface of things.

The show opens this Friday night and runs until 1 August. If you can't get to the gallery, you can see more at

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Only Cat

OK.  From now on, this is just a cat blog.  Any mention of books, writing, movies or events outside our tiny home is strictly supplementary to the full-on coverage of our CAT.

But really, there's not much else happening at the moment.   After the months of over-booked weekends leading up to our wedding, we are still luxuriating in the stillness of the aftermath.  This weekend was a long one due to the Townsville Show (pity we didn't go to the show actually, we would have seen a baby being born on the grass outside the information booth) but the most remarkable thing we did was purchase Lily's first collar.

Oh, but do you not think it a little bit stylish?  Is it not a little bit Hotel Chevalier?  A little bit Memphis Belle?  Is this how a mother feels when she dresses her kids in little matching sailor suits?  
Probably best not to answer that.