Friday, March 19, 2010

Alfie and riding the red dragon

A few days after the sunshine wedding (see previous post), my best pal of twelve years died at home after a difficult couple of years of age-related illnesses. If you had said to me before the wedding that Alfie was about to die, my reply would have been that it would be a relief. Both the Scribe and myself had suffered broken sleep for a couple of years coping with the demands of an old dog. It was becoming distressing to say the least to see our once dignified and proud puppy soiling himself, going blind and a bit deaf. However, we never considered putting him down as he had some quality of life and wasn't suffering. He still enjoyed the odd walk and his meals.
However, I do believe he hung on for the wedding and finally couldn't take it any more.
I found him on the kitchen floor in the early hours. We were expecting him to die very soon as he had weakened so much.
But I don't like to think about those final days for him. I like to remember our boy when he was in full health and strength. Grief and love have no logic. They take no heed of clocks, or well meaning friends. Grief and love are as logical and meaningless as a red dragon.
I was unprepared for how immense my sorrow would be over losing my friend. I miss him every second of every day and the house and my heart is an empty shell without his presence.
We buried him in the garden amongst the geraniums and sun-flowers. He went to his grave surrounded with all his favourite things around him. Around his neck I hung a special piece of jewellery from Italia. Part of my bridal bouquet also went with him.
It is alienating when you are mourning a dog. People tend to dismiss the grief and I understand that, I really do. But my grief - my bucking, biting red dragon - has no logic or reason. I can not diminish Aflie's life by not grieving fully for him.
He was an important member of this household. When we first bought our little brick cottage, I went to the dog's home and he came home with us. He was on death row as his callous owners had abandoned him there to go overseas. His stomach was red raw with allergies and he was shaking in shock. The Scribe didn't want me to take him as he said, 'he's going to die tonight.' I replied, 'He could die at my house then in comfort and dignity.’ There was something about the look in his eyes that went to my soul. I paid my $120 dollars and he went home with us to die.
Of course he didn't die. He lived for twelve more years and was a continual shadow in our house to all the domestic dramas. He was always there, the silent, always loving witness. At our heels when we were writing, or reading. Continually being trodden upon when he went deaf in his need to be near his family.
I'll never forgive myself for in the last month of his life, snapping once in the early hours as I rose wearily to clean up his mess, 'how much longer is this going to go on for? When are you going to go?' They were terrible words to utter to my most faithful friend and companion. I have wept bitterly as these words have returned to haunt me.
Whilst I ride this red dragon of grief and mourning, I was going to take another break from Tale Peddler. It felt simply too hard for me to be upbeat, cheerful and inspiring when I feel this shattered. However, I think for a Blog to be truly real, it must at times bend to the tragedies that will befall us all. The Blog helps to distract my thoughts at times from my loss. Tale Peddler was always about trying to inspire myself, and if other people became inspired in the process then so be it. It was never about putting a false, jolly blogging mask on but rather a creative scrapbook that supported my writing and life.
Alfie was a great friend. He loved the wind in his fur and car rides. He loved baked lamb dinners and sheep. He loved walks and being with his family.
We are lucky to have a very understanding young priest in this area who kindly consented to say prayers for our boy in his Masses. Alfie came a long way since his time on Death Row.
He will be forever missed and mourned in our home.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our fab and sunshine filled wedding

It was a joyous day filled with laughter, family and friends. The sun shone after days of heavy rain. The garden was filled with material butterflies. Arstchool Annie arrived early to help me with my nails and last minute tasks.Artschool Annie (who many, many, many years ago introduced David and myself) was a total brick for weeks before the wedding. She helped to craft flower baskets, ran around Sydney buying almonds, became my manicurist and constructed towers of tea-cups with me. We also made my wedding bouquet which had my Nanny's pearls wound around it. My jewellery was a vintage rhinestone daisy necklace from the 1950's (the Vanna White Collection) and clip-on drop rhinestone ear-rings.

The Britstop bus was a huge success and a great ice-breaker for our guests. We played music such as the Kinks and rode the streets of Newtown on our way to the church. At the church, the mood abruptly changed as my father and I entered with Daisy to the sounds of Ave Maria. It was a special moment to walk the aisle with my father who has been battling cancer for several years.

The catering was totally scrummy. Thank you again to Julianne who read on my Blog I needed catering and nudged me in the direction of VSE International. We opted to have two strawberry baked cheesecakes in place of fruitcake I also elected not to have a traditional wedding ring and instead we selected an aquamarine art deco estate ring. Aquamarine is the month we married in and also Daisy's and David's birth month. It also helps keep mental balance and protects sailors at sea. All very useful attributes! I first received the idea for an aquamarine ring from the wonderful Blog Love My Dress. This Blog provides great inspiration for weddings and for all those who love vintage style. The weddings on the Blog are grander affairs than mine but I still got quite a few ideas from Love My Dress.

You may recall, I had bought a floor length Emma Domb peach coloured vintage dress (original fifties) to wear but in the last couple of weeks purchased a third dress from Leluxe (also originally seen on Love My Dress) This was a great bargain dress and although not original has hand sewn beads. I love it and plan to buy a few more in different colours. Although a last minute choice, I decided to go with this dress when I tried it on. Since the cavebride days, I bet brides have been changing their mind at the last minute. I had three dresses to choose from!

The cake toppers and CD's we made for our friends were 70's influenced. I'll post more of these behind the scene shots at a later date. Sadly, our camera was smashed later in the week and we still have to retrieve our wedding photos which has shots of the vintage table linen and cup-displays.

In the back garden we hung vintage cloths and aprons, which earnt a disapproving snort from one guest, "You could have taken the washing down!" Luckily my friend's little boy said straight away, "That's very Kirstie Allsopp and then declared, I was the Australian Kirstie Allsopp" How charming is he! How I wish I had Kirstie's crafty talent.

It was a lovely day. The sun felt yellow, everything glowed, life was sunshine and everybody I loved was together. Except for one and I'll talk about that on Friday. xx .

Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Sunday week, David and I got hitched. For my normal inspiration Monday post, I'd thought I'd share some of the inspiration behind my wedding.
On Wednesday, I'll post a few pictures from the actual wedding. On Friday, I'll reveal why it took me a couple of weeks to Blog again.

My wedding was an Alice in Wonderland falls down the rabbit hole into the 70's with a bit of a twenties twist. I was inspired by things I love. Alice in Wonderland, vintage aprons, tea-cups, the Tasmanian Country Women's Association and the seventies. The wedding invitations were wonderful cheesy seventies cards with a couple gazing at each other over daisies. Our cake topper (above) was also from the seventies and several people commented on how much the male in the topper really looked like David!

It was lots of fun. Wise Owl my friend and guest said it was 'the grooviest wedding she had ever been to and she felt as if she was in Carnaby street.'
My friend, Artschool Annie spent several days helping me to construct towers of teacups and make flower baskets etc.
I normally wear Coco and Shalimar for fragrance but I do also love Daisy and this was my perfume of choice for the wedding. It summed the wedding up to me - sweet, simple and joyful.