Monday, August 25, 2014

Lake District Gathering and thoughts from a wedding

Back from delightful family gathering in the Lake District, organised by my in-laws. They had all their descendants except a daughter in New Zealand, and hence all our descendants (between the two photos they are all there).

The first full day was a bit wet - and a walk up Skiddaw had to be abandoned when it started to hail about 2/3rds of the way up.

However on the second day I was determined to help M (middle grand-daughter, 4) go up Cat Bells on her own feet. We walked in a big party from the hotel and sure enough up she went including climbing two quite awkward bits for a 4-year-old.  E (youngest grand-daughter, 2) also came up but was in a back pack for much of the time.

M on Cat Bells with Elder Daughter and sister E
The hotel was part of the excellent HF Holidays very much organised for large groups doing walking - indeed the main point of HF is that you can turn up as a singleton and join in a large group.  But they were very indulgent to our gathering of the clan, and we were invited to join in their evening entertainments of a quiz night and barn dancing. With about 24 people we fielded 3 teams from the quiz night one of which won because sensibly we dispersed the Oxbridge degrees (15 between 6 people) and the winning team had three Oxbridge, one non-Oxbridge and one schoolboy: the last two supplied the key extra edge especially on popular culture and sport!

As contributions to the entertainment Younger Grandson played the piano and C, I, Son, Daughter-in-law and Younger Grandson sang The Silver Swan - which C and I had sung when we were undergraduates before we began going out!

We had to leave sharply for the wedding of an old family friend which had the extra frisson that her father was too unwell to make a speech so I had to do so instead. Driving from the Lakes to Ealing was a trek and we arrived with minutes to spare.

The speech was short and light hearted, but I did conclude with what I hoped would be two useful thoughts:
Sarah and Eion, you are embarking on a huge adventure. Your journey together will have many ups and downs. Nobody’s perfect and of course no couple is perfect. Show me a couple with a perfect marriage, and I will show you a couple you don’t know as well as you think you do.

We all have to decide whether you believe that ultimately, at the base of everything, there is nothing but matter/energy – a big bang or whatever, or whether behind and beyond the big bang there is love. If it’s matter then maybe, ultimately, nothing matters. But suppose the songs and the readings we heard today are true. Ask yourself the question: is it, could it be love - ultimately at the base of everything? Because if it’s love, then what we are celebrating today really matters.

No comments: