Wow. What an amazing weekend. I don’t really know where to start.
I drove down to Wales on Friday lunchtime after I finished work. I put my music on, put the satnav on and had a blast on the drive down. I really enjoyed the drive. Just me and the road and my music – no-one else to tell me they didn’t like what I was playing. I was almost disappointed when I got there. But then I wasn’t. Because the place where the party was being held and where I was staying was so amazing.
The place is called Treowen and a Mansion house not far from Monmouth. It has beautiful surroundings and you can’t help but feel at ease when you are there. Here are some photos of the surrounding greenery:
My parents had arrived just before I did and after saying a quick hello they went off to visit an old family friend in the area and I got a chair and sat out in the garden practicing the song I was going to be playing and singing the following day at the party. After a while my uncle and aunt from Gibralter arrived and we opened the bottle of wine that I’d brought and had a glass while we took in the view. Then my sister arrived and we all chipped in unloading her car.
More and more people started arriving and gradually the atmosphere started to buzz. Lots of old friends to say hello to. I kept taking myself off to practice my song as I was determined to do it well. I also helped (or started to help) with the flower arrangements. My mum and my aunty Pat did most of the work. My sister had had a local flower company deliver a selection of flowers and greenery to go in jam jars and vases around the place. Here are some before pictures:
And some after pictures – don’t they look lovely:
On Friday evening we all sat down to jacket potatoes and chilli – made by my brother in law’s mother (and lovely it was too). Wine was drunk and a lot of catching up was done.
On Saturday morning I got up around 10.30am and headed down to the kitchen for breakfast. After breakfast and a ciggie, I milled around the house for a bit, practiced guitar for a bit then around 1 I went up for a bath. The party was to start at 3pm so after that we all started getting ready. My friend Christina straightened my hair for me. I was so pleased with it – it looked gorgeous.
Me and Christina
At around 2.45, all dressed and ready, I went down to the front of the house to mingle with the others and have a glass of fizz.
My sister then made a grand entrance, looking fabulous in her wedding dress – quite an achievement to be able to fit into it 15 years later! Go Hannah!
After a short while we were called into the dining room to have dinner. Which was a goats cheese and avocado salad followed by three different types of stew. The dessert was a strawberry ice cream concoction with meringue, blueberries and some little seeds which I can’t think of the name for.
I forgot to take a picture of the main course because at that point I was getting a bit nervy about my song that I was due to perform after the speeches.
My brother in law doing his speech
Then it was time for me to do my bit. I had disappeared off to practice before the dessert came but before the speeches.
I was absolutely terrified. But I managed to play it with only one or two small cock ups. Apparently the relief showed on my face when I played the last chord. But it went well. I got a huge round of applause. Apparently I made my sister and a few others well up. And, I didn’t know this until afterwards, when I got to the instrumental but which I hummed, people started humming with me. Apparently it was like a beautiful echo around the large room. I later watched a video of it and you can hear it. It’s lovely. I was just so focussed on playing and not getting it horribly wrong that I was oblivious to everything else going on around me. If I can get hold of the video to put it on YouTube so I can embed it here, I will.
After my song, I went and mingled outside in the beautiful weather until it was time to come and watch the band. A fab group of “gypsy jazz” musicians. It was really good music and really good to dance to. After the band there was a disco which I had a lot of fun dancing to but then I got tired so I went and had a cup of tea in the kitchen and decided I was too tired so I went to bed.
I slept until nearly 12 the next day (around 12 hours – I must have needed it) and I didn’t have a hangover. Yay!
I stayed for a couple of hours, had some sausages for breakfast, enjoyed the view for a bit and then said my goodbyes and headed home.
I had a fantastic time. Thank you to my lovely sister for organising such a wonderful party.