We expect a relationship to hit a rough patch occasionally - but a shark infested sea as part of the proposal...?
I promised some inspirational tips from my favourite proposals before Valentine's Day - or February 29th if you have thoughts of a Leap Year proposal. Already the 9th - so here is the second...
So, this lovely couple, he a marine biologist and she a keen surfer were on their way to Australia, where he had been offered a job and they had planned to spend six weeks in Indonesia en route – and he had decided that would be when he would propose… but the time had never been quite right…
After they had been in Australia for a year, he made a plan! He would take her to an amazing place for Christmas and that would be where he would propose and so it was that a trip to Fiji was organised.
That Christmas Day dawned and they had an awesome morning surfing and then diving.
It was certainly memorable they told me – the boat, which had taken them out, broke down and they ended up having to paddle a long, and with sharks known to be in the area, scary two kilometres back to shore.
Romantic? Not really...
However, later that evening, groom-to-be, not to be put off this time, made an excuse to leave the table while they were having dinner and quickly laid out flowers and candles in a semi-circle near their little hut.
After dinner, he told her he wanted to show her something – she remembered that after that day she was not really up to ‘seeing a marine species of something or other’ but went somewhat dutifully along – and, to her shock and delight saw the candles, the flowers – and then him down on one knee!
She says her reaction to the shock was, to his horror, laughter – followed by a ‘yes’…
The experience did not put them off the ocean - and they got married in France, at the beautiful Villa la Tosca, down on the beach, near Cap Feret.
I like the thought that went into the place, the placing of the candles and flowers ...the sharks? Not so much...
A Celebrant in France suggests that we should Carpe Diem
- or seize the day - seize our lives - seize our loves...
Can there be anything more likely to make us consider life, love - and the whole damn thing - than sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for surgery and looking about surreptitiously at our fellow victims?
Having done just that, this week, I think not...
We take so much for granted - that we will be healthy, that if anything goes wrong, we can be fixed and doctors should be able to fix us, that we deserve to live to a ripe old age - we feel entitled to it...
But in a week when I did that sitting and surreptitious looking, and when the sitting gave me time to consider how the lives of family members and friends have been blighted and cut short by health problems - and in a week when David Bowie and Alan Rickman were only two people who died relatively young - and when the world is looking an increasingly dangerous place - I end that week saying Carpe Diem! Seize the day! If you have life - live it!
So, that relatively gloomy start leads me to a much happier thought!
This year is a leap year. That means that if you are a woman, you can do the proposing...you haven't got to wait for himself to get things together - you can just up and do it! ( Although, personally, I don't know why women don't anyway...but that's another blog...)
According to an old Irish legend, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – every four years. She felt Irish men might be a little shy... When St Patrick agreed the folk tale tells us that Brigid then dropped to a knee and proposed to him that instant, but he refused, kissing her on the cheek and offering a silk gown to soften the blow.
The Irish tradition therefore dictates that any man refusing a woman's leap-day proposal must give her a silk gown.
So, if you feel you've been hanging around long enough, think about doing the proposing on February 29th this year - what have you got to lose - you might at least get a new dress out of it...or, indeed, twelve pairs of gloves!
In some places, Leap Day has been known as 'Bachelors’ Day.' In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman's proposal on February 29 has to buy her twelve pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.
...a somewhat frivolous blog, I know, but with a serious centre - think about what is important to you this year and go and grab it...and enjoy it!
Here's to a happy and healthy 2016!
Singing and dancing - and marrying - in the rain...
I went into a favourite shop in Cambridge the other day - I was looking for an umbrella. Not just any umbrella - but an 'arty' umbrella - there was one with Van Gogh's irises, and Monet's poppies and even one with Klimt's 'The Kiss' but I'm looking for sunflowers...
Why an umbrella? Because although I've always thought it would be terrible if it rained on the meticulously planned wedding day I've recently come across some photographs which have made me think again. This sudden downpour in France, certainly didn't dampen the mood of the bride and groom......and these stunning photographs show how clever photographers can make the most of sudden rain - one said that rain is a 'blessing' and it helped him to take some really fun pictures.
So - instead of worrying about rain on your wedding day - ask your photographer what, creatively, he might do with it.
Wandering and wondering about walking on dead priests...
Someone asked me recently whether I prefer celebrating weddings in France or in England - I love both, but this week maybe France had the edge..._more
Brought up in a Roman Catholic family, I knew, as a teenager that its teachings were not for me - but when my father died and we wanted to celebrate his life we needed a ceremony. We were lucky to find a lovely humanist celebrant , who created a perfect, alternative, farewell ceremony .
And then when my daughter wanted to celebrate her wedding in France we knew that we wanted to go the same route and create a ceremony that was unique and meaningful for her and her husband.
So now it seems to me that 'normal' services are just a bit boring and we must celebrate - the naming of a baby, a wedding, a renewal of vows, a life - a humanist or civil celebrant can help to create that celebration.
A ceremony can be profound without prayer - it can be fun but meaningful. It can be joyful and spiritual, but decidedly secular.
My original blog came before my website when someone actually referred to me as that 'celebrant in the sunflowers' when she couldn't remember my name - and it was irresistible...
So - to continue reading my blog, go to celebrantinsunflowers here _ and see more of my wanderings and wonderings...
After living a busy life - a mother of three, working variously as a writer, an events organiser, a teacher - and thinking maybe there was more to life than starting the day, while it was still dark, on the M25 and finishing it , in the dark, on the M25 - I was thrilled when it turned out that my husband felt exactly the same.
We were fortunate enough to be able to take early retirement, and knew that with a bit of belt-tightening and a bit of land to grow vegetables and have hens , we could live happily.
And so we bought an old barn in the Lot et Garonne - one that was cheap because it needed everything done ...but we were happy to regard it as a glorified tent - for a while.
Now, it is habitable and we live, in sunflowers and vines, with a menagerie of, mostly rescued creatures - donkeys from a friend who had to return home to the UK, a dog we took in when our farmer neighbour died suddenly - and then found, inexplicably, that we had agreed to house his hens, his cats - and, nearly, his hunting pack of beagles. We avoided the last...
For a long time swallows swooped in through the big barn doors into what is now the kitchen - and for many years nested. When the young fledged and flew about the barn, guests were invited to wear wide-brimmed hats - or put up umbrellas - against the inevitable...
Sadly, with cats now sitting beneath the nests with their mouths open, the swallows have moved next door.