Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Are you STILL here?!?

Two months ago we arrived back safely in 'Sunny Devon'(!) with the idea of staying for a maximum of three weeks, before heading back to another part of Australia...eight weeks later and we were still there! We squeezed so much in whilst we were back including: the lovely wedding of Jen and Doug; a car boot sale; the delivery of 250 Betterware catalogues; the decorating of a dining room; visits to numerous friends and family and... starting to plan our own wedding for next year - phew!

Let me begin by talking about the first weekend when we got back which was all about Jen and Doug. Jo found a dress to wear in Sydney. I, on the other hand, left it to the last minute and bought a new suit in the two days we had between arriving home and going to the wedding (jammy!). I also bought a new tie to try and match Jo's lovely dress...!
The ceremony and reception took place at Wellington Barn which is just outside Swindon. All guests were asked to arrive before 3pm ready for the ceremony. It was such a lovely setting for their wedding, as it is so remote with no distractions around. As we entered we were greeted by a seating plan which explained where everyone was sitting. Each table was named after a place in New York, which was the couple’s first holiday destination. We were sat on the 'Statue of Liberty' and the bride and groom were in 'Central Park'. All the tables looked really pretty with different flowers and individual favours covering each one.
After a short time everyone was ushered into the next room for the ceremony. I could see how nervous Doug was by the look on his face! Moments later the back door opened and in walked Jen with her dad. You could see Doug's face light up as they walked down the aisle. Jen was grinning like the Cheshire Cat, while Doug’s mum was in pieces. Jen looked stunning in her dress along with the bridesmaids who were all in purple (my favourite colour!)
 The ceremony, which included a reading from both Jo and Doug’s Gran, passed by in a bit of an emotional blur and before we knew it Jen and Doug were married! Shortly after, we all moved into the next room with a glass of Pimm's while the photographers were busy outside with the bride and groom. Jo and I joined in as the group photos took place including an 'X Factor' style video shoot! I noticed the photos had come to an end just as Jo noticed that Jen’s knuckles had turned blue with the cold! Nevertheless their photos came out lovely and captured all the emotions.
Before the food was brought out it was time for the speeches. Everyone knows the speeches make you nervous unless you are of course Jen’s dad, Dave! I knew that Dave is a teacher and so would already be used to big groups of people, but I never knew how easy he would make it look...! He got the whole room laughing as he played a sound bite of Jen as a child talking to her sister in a teacher-fied manor, which then led him on to say that he always knew she would follow in his footsteps! Doug’s speech followed which made me take down notes as he did a grand job while holding back the tears. The best man’s speech came after the food and included an insight into Doug’s days as a teenager which made everyone laugh, including Jen’s parents!
Next on the agenda was the wedding breakfast, which still makes me think of bacon and eggs because of its name! All three courses were very tasty, including the chocolate brownie dessert which was my favourite.
During the morning of the wedding our group was trying to think what the song was going to be for the first dance. We went through all the obvious choices and then that evening realised we were all wrong. Jen and Doug had asked their band to play the classic ‘Your Song’ by Elton John, which was sung beautifully while everyone watched the newlyweds finish the day off with an intimate dance.
Once the song came to a close the guests joined them for a dance. The rest of the evening was full of people letting their hair down, a diary cam and yet more eating!
The happy couple left the venue in style under a tunnel of hands made by the remaining guests. They both then hopped into a taxi before heading back to their hotel. The honeymoon was booked for two weeks in Canada which - judging by all 900 photos taken and videos clips of Doug struggling to get up a hill (in snow shoes of course) - went rather well...!
As you will know from reading the blog, we had a 'different' Christmas last year compared to other years! Having a picnic on the beach wasn't the same as a nice traditional meal with the family. My mum showed me when we got back that she had left up the Christmas decorations so we could have a belated get-together when we returned. A week after being back we rounded up the usual gang and had a late Christmas meal along with crackers. The food was lovely especially the rhubarb brúlée which went down a treat...! Mum and Dad really did excel themselves this year - thank you!

 For the remainder of our time back Jo and I tried to scrape together a few pennies to help go towards a flight back here. Our first job was to decorate a few rooms in Jo’s house. The hardest bit was painting the ceiling in the dining room (my back was crying!) but it was all worth it in the end as both Nichola and Dave were very happy with it and they will continue now to do the final touches.
One of the less enjoyable jobs was delivering Betterware catalogues to 250 residents in Braunton! I was paid on commission which sounded good at the beginning until I had people chasing me down the street to give me back their empty order sheets – joy! Another task was to have a car boot sale to get rid of all unwanted bits ‘n’ bobs including some stuff from our last car boot two years ago – oops! We ended up selling most of it and taking home £70 which was good news.
Whilst being home we both tried to see most of our friends and family whom are scattered up and down the country. It was nice seeing some friendly faces after all the time spent away in Sydney. I ended up going to Alton Towers with the lads which was a good laugh except for half the park having a power cut...!
And finally, you did read it right, we started to plan our wedding for next year, which we can confirm as being September 10, 2011! Without boring you too much we have secured a venue which will be Castle Hill, Filleigh, sorted out a photographer, got quotes for flowers and the food and of course book the registrar. I’m not going to delve too much into the wedding with pictures etc as we want to leave some bits for the actual day but I have left a link to the venue’s website if you fancy having a look...!
Sorry it’s been quite long but from reading the blog you can see we have been busy bees. We have now touched down in Brisbane after a long journey and to start from scratch again, starting with a job interview tomorrow. Wish us luck...!