Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Food

After the drinks reception, held in the grounds of Fontwell House, everyone will be herded into the house for the wedding breakfast - yes, a proper, formal, three course dinner, followed by the speeches.

The menu looks a bit like this:

Ham hock terrine (fan of seasonal melon with cointreau and raspberry coulis for the vegetarians)

Chicken with mushroom and madeira sauce, served with dauphinoise potatoes
(Vegetarians get mushroom and parmesan risotto, vegetarians who don't eat wheat or dairy get aubergine filled with chargrilled vegetables with a tomato & basil sauce)

And pudding is a secret. Ha ha.

We'll cut the cake, as is traditional, just before the first dance. I'm making the cake myself - it's chocolate fudge, with a chocolate fudge icing and white chocolate cigarillos around the outside. The lower two tiers will have berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) on them, and the top tier will have white roses.

Just to whet your appetite, here is a picture of the 'trial run' that I did for my birthday. This is the size of the top tier (8 inches diameter):

Monday, 25 July 2011

More Wedding Stuff

So, we've finished the ceremony, and Richard and I have left the church to the joyous strains of J. S. Bach. What next?

Well, first we tolerate some photographs by the church and by the sea, and then we jump in our ribbon-festooned convertible and drive off. As we don't want to arrive at the reception before all the guests, we're going to go for a bit of a drive - up the Trundle (this is a hill, for those of you not familiar with West Sussex) to Goodwood and then down, through the villages, arriving at Fontwell House just in time for a glass of Champagne and some more photographs.

We're having round tables - eleven of them, with between eight and ten people on each. Slightly unconventionally, even the Top Table is round, and in addition to the usual Top Table occupants, we're also having the grandmothers at that table. The tables are laid with ivory linen and red napkins:

The ceiling of Fontwell House will also be draped with fabric and fairy lights. This picture was taken when we visited, as they were preparing for another wedding that happened (rather conveniently) to have the same colour scheme as us.

Each of the tables will be named (yes, the theme of that is still classified), and there will be small boxes of chocolate truffles at each place setting with a name tag attached, so that people know where they're supposed to sit.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Knitting (or What I Did in Hospital)

One way to be remembered by the staff is obviously to have an unusual hobby! The number of people who remembered me from my admission last summer (and remembered exactly what I was knitting) was quite amazing, but apparently I'm not the only patient to bring their hobbies to hospital with them. I heard a story from one of the pharmacists of a patient who brought in... Wait for it... A full-size potter's wheel!

That made me feel very minimal with my two pairs of needles and seven balls of wool! And this is what I made:

A pink tank top with a pattern of cable stitch:

My GP is expecting a baby in October, so this pink thing is for her baby. I'm currently working on a blue version, in case it's a boy (see below for a picture of the work in progess). I don't normally 'do' the stereotypical pastel blue and pink knitting, but it felt quite nice for a change.

I ran out of yarn, having not expected to get so much knitting done, so while I was waiting for Richard to visit (and bring the pale blue yarn that I needed for the blue tank top) I decided to make up a pattern, using the same basic shape as the pink one and the yarn that I had left over from the blue jacket (picture below) and the pink tank top. I'm quite pleased with it! I think it would look great on a baby boy (it's for age 3 - 6 months), but I've had a few people insist that it should be for a girl...

And here is the blue jacket, which is one of the reasons that I ran out of yarn. It seemed like quite a big project, and I thought it would keep me out of mischief for most of my first week in hospital at least, but because most of it is worked in stocking stitch, it actually knitted up very fast, which was quite satisfying. It still needs three buttons added to the button band, and I still need to block it (to stop it rolling up at the edges), but apart from that it's finished:

And last, but not least, I started to make a blue version of the pink tank top above. I've finished the back, and this is about 1/3 of the front done. Once that's finished, it's amazingly quick to knit around the neck and arm holes, and then it'll be done and I'll have to come up with a new project!

Thankfully, I popped in to the haberdashery department of my favourite department store on my way home from the hospital yesterday, to find that they had lots of yarn on clearance for half price. Obviously, I got a bit carried away, and came home with lots and lots of new yarn and several new patterns, despite the fact that I have a huge number of patterns already waiting for my attention on Ravelry (if you haven't heard of this site, it's only the BEST website for knitting and crochet that you could possibly imagine!). Some of the new patterns are just gorgeous, and I can't wait to get started on my next project. Watch this space!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Music and the appreciation of sound

This is a bit of a mixture of an update. Officially it's about the wedding music, but I thought I'd also take the opportunity to explain a bit more and post some pictures of my BAHA (bone-anchored hearing aid).

As I said in my last post, my brothers will be walking me down the aisle and handing me over to my future husband. My bridesmaid, J, and I will walk the first section of the aisle alone in acknowledgement of the fact that Dad isn't there to walk with me. We will then meet each of the brothers in age order; starting with N (16) and ending with W (28), who will place my hand in R's at the altar. The music for this is going to remain a surprise. Come on, I can't tell you everything, can I now?

We had some difficulty in choosing the hymns for the service, mainly because R doesn't know very many. We've been joking to our friends that we're going to sing 'Swing low, sweet chariot' (the song for the England rugby team), 'Little Donkey' (funny for so many reasons) and 'Jerusalem', as they are the only ones that R knows.

Actually, we're going to be singing three very traditional hymns:
1. Be thou my vision
2. Great is thy faithfulness
3. Tell out, my soul

There are four hymns in the standard Church of England order of service, but we're keen to get on with the Champagne, so the fewer the better! Not entirely true. Three just felt right to us, and we love all three of our choices.

During the signing of the register, we will play a recording of three Latin motets by Stanford (Justorum Anime, Beati Quorum Via, Coelos Ascendit Hodie). They are all very beautiful, but my absolute favourite is the Beati Quorum Via. I would also like this to be played at my funeral. If you don't listen to any of the other pieces of music linked in this post, I would encourage you to listen to this one. 

And finally, our recessional is a Prelude by Bach (BWV 553), which will be played on organ by our friend, Sara. It's an unusual choice (we did consider many of the more 'normal' choices), but this one really appealed to both of us. I love Bach, and Sara plays this piece beautifully. I'm sure that R and I will both be beaming smiles wider than our faces as we walk back up the aisle as husband and wife to this piece of music.

So now a little explanation of the piece of equipment that allows me to appreciate all this beautiful music: my BAHA. It's a small device that converts sound into vibrations. It clips onto a titanium abutment, which is fixed into my skull (and has a bald patch around it so the hair doesn't interfere with the sound processor); this picks up the vibrations and transmit them through the bones of my skull, so they can be detected by my one functioning vestibulocochlear nerve on the other side of my head.

The device itself (you can see the clip on the back and the big round button on the front, which allows me to switch between different 'modes' - e.g. using microphones to pick up sound from all around, or just from the front):

This is the abutment, which is fixed into my skull. Although I'm not wild about having this square bald patch,I am really pleased with the way the skin graft has healed - this was done less than nine months ago, and everyone in the auditory implant clinic has been amazed about how beautifully it's healed, and how clean it looks.

And this is the BAHA clipped onto the abutment. One definite advantage of having rather wild hair is that the BAHA isn't particularly noticeable, even with my hair tied back. With my hair down, it's completely invisible.