Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Of Mrs and Mrs Phillips

And so, on Saturday last, Anna and I were finally married. Anna told me the following day that she really didn't like the registry office but I wouldn't have wanted to get married in Russia anywhere else. It had a plain old Soviet feel to it which reminded me of my first great adventures in Russia and Poland back in the the early 80s. For me the building had a simple egalitarian message of matrimony. There was nothing ostentatious going on; everyone arrived and was treated the same. What mattered were the couples themselves and their happily-every-after was down to them and them only and the sorts of things that privilege, status and money just couldn't buy.
We were introduced to one smartly dressed bureaucrat sat behind a desk after another as we made our way around the building signing documents as we went.
And then it stopped. And we were led in front of a large pair of doors as friends and relatives gathered behind. Suddenly the doors swung open and we glided forward into a room lightly coloured gold as a bunch of babushkas to one side plucked "Here Comes the Bride" on a variety of stringed instruments.
Half way into the room yet more bureaucrats at the end asked us to pause. One of them began the ceremony in Russian and (as previously arranged) when Anna squeezed my hand I replied "Da". We slipped on our rings that were perched on a nearby plinth. We kissed. One of us blubbed as he punched the air.

Thereafter we enjoyed a fabulous reception with some wonderful Russian traditions which we shared with some truly lovely people. Anna's family are just delightful and there's not a bad bone in any one of them anywhere.

It was Anna's mother, however, who left me with the most beautiful memory of the weekend. As we're leaving Moscow the plane is taxiing to the runway when Anna's mobile sounds. Mrs Phillips answered (for the Russians don't seem to to observe the rule that you shouldn't use a phone in a plane) and she explained it was her mother with a message for me. As she held the phone to my ear I listened and heard her Mum in her very broken English fighting with the language to tell me that she was very happy that I'm now her son-in-law. I blubbed. We took off.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Of All Done and I Do

It's been a busy weekend prepping for the wedding. The check list with the ticks next to them so far looks like this :
* Hair cut
* Suit sorted
* Shoes sorted
* Dance lessons (kinda of sorted)
* Suitcases packed
* Wedding rings purchased and adjusted
* Travel details printed out
* Groom's speech done and translated into Russian
* Jogging gear for Red Square packed along with Ushankas
All done. Now for the "I do"!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Of a Weekend Away in Anglesey

I was in Anglesey for the weekend for to visit the folks. We enjoyed great hospitality, fine home cooking and a great dinner out on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning we walked Oz, my parents' dog, and for a K9 that struggles to get over ankle height and is pushing 12 he's a man of remarkable energy and fun.
The journey back to Dublin was glorious. We were one of just a few people on the Innishmore ferry which is a grand old lady of the sea in a large windowed cabin right at the front of the ship overlooking the bow and directly underneath the captain's look out. A calm sea and a fabulous sunset capped a great weekend.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Of Skype - glorious Skype

This Skype thing is a great thing. Yesterday I was in the company of three generations of my fiancee's family : her, her aunty and her grandmother. The last two were thousands of miles away in Northern Russia but they may as well have been in the lounge with us the connection was so good. Watching an 88 year old lady in a place deep behind the iron (albeit rusting) curtain is quite a thing. I guess some day soon it will be common place and something we do everyday with us all taking it all for granted.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Of the New Year in Donegal

 I'm just back from a few days' break in Donegal. The weather was awful but it was also good too. In between the heavy and frequent showers there was fabulous sunshine which bathed the coastline and countryside in glorious light and shades of colour that you would struggle to see anywhere else. We stayed at McGrorys in Culdaff which is a fantastic live music venue and were treated to some wonderful Irish folk music for two of our three nights there.
Apparently one of their busiest days is New Year's Day when all those that have survived the traditional swim in the sea visit the bar to re-heat their souls with a glass or two of Guinness.