Saturday, July 21, 2012

Of Hens, Weddings and Emigration - Our Irish Summer

Happy Family with the kids
 So much for my good intentions of blogging regularly - it's been almost a month since my last post and so much has been happening I think I got so totally overwhelmed by the pace of events that blogging was the first casualty. At any rate I think I'm ready to face the blogosphere again by just posting a summary of the excitement - the highs and lows.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you'll know that the big event of the year in our family is the wedding of our son Shayne and Jany his fiancee and mother of their two lovely girls, our beloved granddaughters Sofia and Livia. This special day was planned with fairly military precision (that sounds a bit oxymoronic!) to take place on July 5th in Cork, and we all looked forward to it greatly. It was all a bit surreal as I didn't know what it should feel like to have a child marry and take on the official mantle of family responsibility that marriage confers, but I know I am very happy that such a lovely couple tied the knot.

A major announcement in the run-up to the wedding was the decision of Shayne and Jany to return to the country where they met and lived for a number of years before coming to Ireland - Spain. This had been flagged a few times as a future probability but I hadn't reckoned on it happening in the near future, so it came as a bit of a shock to hear they were seriously jobhunting and making plans to move after the wedding. The next milestone was the news that Jany got a  job offer in Barcelona a few weeks before the wedding, which made it all very real, and gave me the chance to get accustomed to the fact they'd be living 3 hours away instead of an hour. There are 2 hour flights from Cork to Girona and Barcelona on a daily basis and can be as cheap as chips if you plan ahead so I think we'll have a track worn to there - I'm already going over with Jany and the kids tomorrow week for a week to help them settle in.

Hen Party girls!
Where there's a wedding there's always a Hen Party - and that was the best fun ever! I really enjoyed the night out in Cork with Jany and her workmates (her boss organised it) and her friends. I was definitiely the Mother (in Law of the) Hen and the most - ahem - mature among the party, as well as being the only Irish there, showing what a cosmopolitan friendship circle Jany has. Magda had us all meet in her apartment and we had a number of delicious cocktails there to prime us for the night ahead, and Jany opened her gift box which had a nice tasteful selection of Hen Party pressies! We headed off in a super stretch limo for the nightclub, but the best part was the hour-long jaunt around Cork city in the limo which was a raucous noisy celebration and we must have driven the poor limo driver nuts, with our karaoke skills - not! We had champagne in the limo and hung out the windows cheering and ensuring the passers-by knew we were partying! For most of us it was the first time in a stretch limo, so we were determined to make the most of it and do the bling thing to the limit!

Jany and me in the limo
The nightclub, Cubins, was nearly empty when we arrived so we danced around our handbags for an hour or so, and then cut loose for a place with more atmosphere - The Old Oak, a Cork legend which has a great buzz and terrific music. They have some good gigs there  but we just had the regular DJ that night, but we danced and took photos and generally enjoyed the craic, and made sure Jany did as well. We were there till the small hours and ended the night in a kebab house nearby where we had curry chips which are my food of the gods at 3a.m. I don't get out often enough evidently as I was amazed at the crowds thronging the streets of Cork at that hour, and thankfully it was good-natured and there were no rows that we could see. Taxi and home, end of a great  night for all and no hangover for me, as I kept the mixing to a minimum!

Partying in the Stretch Limo!
Cutting the Cake!
Then a few days later the Big Day - the Wedding of the Year! We were all in Cork before noon to check into the hotel and get glammed up for the day, and it was a fantastic day. It was a Civil Ceremony in the Cork Registry Office where we met up with everyone else for 3pm and the beautiful bride arrived in the wedding car - hubby Jan was the chauffeur and had taken out the middle seats of the 7-seater to turn it into a limo; with ribbons it looked the part to perfection. Jany looked beautiful in her lovely lacy dress and bolero, and Shayne looked very handsome in his pink cravat! Jany had made her own bouquet from crochet flowers embellished with beads and ribbons, and it was lovely, and I had crocheted my bag, which went with my lavender outfit. My gear had only come together a few days before the wedding when I got a cardi to go with a lovely lavender dress I already had.
The happy couple

After the short but lovely ceremony with Joan, Shayne's friend from Catalunya and Jany's sis Nikita as Best Man and Bridesmaid, we went back to the Montenotte Hotel in the wedding bus, and the rest of the day passed by in a blur of celebration with our friends and family meeting for the first time in most cases, as the Dutch contingent all came to Ireland for the wedding from Jany's family. We  had a lovely drinks reception back at the hotel and then took photos out in the garden, as it was the only dry day that week; in a dreadful summer the weather gods were certainly looking us on the day!

My creation!
Living the moment with hubby Jan!
The dinner was absolutely delicious and the hotel had prepared the room beautifully - and I was delighted with how good my first wedding cake turned out, when it was decorated with a pink ribbon and some gerbera flowers. It was presented on a lovely swan shaped stand which really set it off. Best of all was the gathering of family and friends - Maeve had 3 of her girlfriends there and they looked wonderful in their long ballgowns, bling central and hair and shoes to match, and Martin had come home from Australia, while William is finishing off his Masters degree in UCC, and they both looked very handsome in unfamiliar suits! Jan's shirt coincidentally matched my lavender and he looked great in a new grey summer suit. Anne my best friend from nursing days (see my Barcelona blog from 2009) came all the way from America for the wedding of her Godson, and her sis Fran joined her from Galway. Jany's extended family enjoyed visiting Ireland, and some stayed on for a holiday after the wedding. It was fun being at the top table along with Shayne and Jany and the family, and to see all the rest of the guests having a great time. After the meal Jan made the only speech of the day, as Shayne didn't want to and Joan didn't feel his English was up to it! Jan's was a resumé of Shayne's early years in Africa particularly and of course welcoming Jany into the family officially!
Meet the Parents!

After the meal we went outside to enjoy the evening sun, such a rarity this year, and spent time chatting and catching up with everyone, before the dancing and music started. DJ Liam from Lismore was the music man for the evening and he played a great set, from Spanish through Dutch and Irish and 80s and 90s hits - Golden Oldies by the young people's standards and familiar enough for us all to sing along to, as well as enough current hits to keep the teenagers happy! We were on the floor most of the night, and
managed to find time to spend with the many guests who came for the Afters, including a some old friends of the lads from their Africa days. The Afters might be an Irish thing, not sure, but it's the norm here to invite friends to the party after the main meal, and to enjoy the evening. At around 11 there's another round of eating and tea and coffee as the cake is served, along with sausages and sandwiches, just what you need after all that dancing. We kept going well past the music as we stayed in the bar and enjoyed the fun till we finally fell into bed around 3am.

Sisters and  Brothers!

The Wedding Party
 We had a wonderful time and wish Jany and Shayne and the girls years of family happiness especially in their new life together in Spain. Shayne flies out tomorrow morning and  has some interviews lined up next week; I fly out next Saturday with Jany and the girls, and Jan will drive down with William to bring over their stuff, a van full of luggage! So we'll all converge on Catalunya in a week or so, and I will stay on for a week's holidays. I'll miss the trips to Cork at the weekend, where I could go on a whim without any forward planning, but hopefully with a little bit of planning I will be heading to Spain every few months for a long weekend in the sun and see the girls grow and the family settling into the country they love so much.  Enjoy the photos!


Rudee said...

Congratulations to all! It looks like the wedding was a wonderful event.

Anonymous said...

Lovely blog Catherine!!

but what means oxymoronic ( or something like that hihi)

xxx you daughter in law :)

Catherine said...

Thanks for the comments, yes Rudee it was a brilliant event and day!
Jany I mean Oxymoronic as a contradiction in terms - it was refereing to the bit where I said Fairly military precision - fairly meant it was only nearly with military precision and military precision is always exact and not almost or fairly exact. That's all! I dunno how better to describe oxymoron, but there are probably loads of examples online! See you soon!
Catherine xxxx

Mereknits said...

Congrats on the big event, it looks like everyone was happy and the day went perfectly. Lovely post.

Stephanie V said...

Fabulous from start to finish! Congratulations to everyone.

Your account of the events took me back to the days we spent in Cork. We actually stayed at the Montenotte Hotel so I know it well. As well as the road up and down the hill to town. We actually walked it!

Your cakes are perfect! I love the hat theme and you did a great job with them.

kathy b said...

WOnderful wedding Wrap UP . HOW FUN!!

Joyful said...

Lovely wedding. You did a fabulous job of the cake!

Catherine said...

Thanks for all the nice comments folks! Glad you enjoyed it,Stephanie, Mereknits, Kathy B and Joy!

Stephanie how wonderfully serendipitous that you stayed in the Montenotte! I loved the hotel, Jany and me had gone there a few times in the weeks before the wedding to finalise things with the wedding coordinator and had lovely salad lunch in the bar area overlooking the gardens and the city. Fab views, good for you for walking to town!

Mereknits, it was indeed a perfect day, everyone was thrilled with it!
Joy I was happy with the cake too though of course afterwards people told me different ways I could've improved it like adding rum to the cooked cake before decorating it to preserve it and keep it moist longer, and turning it upside down to get the smooth top for the icing!
Kathy I am back to knitting now again but I still have to work out what to make with my lovely gift from you!
Live and learn, my first cake and I am pleased with how it turned out, and the whole day!

Mimi said...

Lovely wedding Catherine! I'm esoecially taken with your bag, it's really fab.
and you did a great job of the cake, especially for a first. I have done that thing of turning it upside down to ice it, and it's good. And of course my philosophy is to put as much booze as you can in a cake!!
Lovely photos, so glad you all had a great day!

Unknown said...

wow this pictures looking cool and wedding also beautiful.thanks for share on your blog.
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