It’s been one remarkable weekend. One to treasure for all kinds of reasons.
The most wonderful bunch of people began to appear on Sunday afternoon and as I looked down into the atrium I was thrilled to see all the plans coming together. So many secrets were being revealed as one by one, dear friends arrive from here, there and everywhere.
I could see the look on my Hero’s face as the room filled and the small gasps when yet another surprise was revealed. It was lovely to observe our small and cherished network of friends get together in such happy circumstances as the various circles blended.
Edward’s voice held out – he’d sung at a wedding the previous afternoon and was feeling a bit croaky. His singing took everyone’s breath away however, and his performance was yet another memorable moment in the series of events, but particularly so for his very proud father.
Tra’s beautiful playing followed and watching the rapt attention on the faces around the room was terrific. Wonderful music played with such skill in beautiful surroundings, in the company of our dearest friends and family – how could it not stir every emotion?
Time for afternoon tea, then, and elegant cake stands laden with sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and the most deliciously tiny cakes and pastries. Our small friends’ eyes lit up at the sight of pink, sparkly macaroons and older, wiser guests set down their glasses in favour of cups and saucers. Birthday cake celebrations followed and after some persuasion, the candle brought from Portland performed – the lotus flower opened with a candle on each petal, a flame shot from the centre as it began to spin and play “Happy Birthday”. Fortunately, we had rather more talented piano accompaniment!
By now, everyone had settled into easy conversation and the atmosphere was warm and relaxed. The mezzanine lounge area filled and it was great to see connections made as each got to know another. I sat back with one of our oldest friends and observed the conversation taking place around us. Four young people with incredible talent and ability; one a high level IT professional who sings with an internationally-renowned orchestra chorus; another a Cambridge graduate working on graphical user interfaces, also a singer; the charming partner of our Godson, with a doctorate in neuroscience and our own sweet Cambridge graduate, political communicator, singer and apple of his mother’s eye. A quiet moment to feel thankful and truly blessed.
Earlier in the afternoon, someone had mentioned the Temple. A room built for a Masonic chapter in the early 1900s, it had been concealed but rediscovered when the hotel had undergone renovation and was now a hidden gem. The delightfully accommodating staff took us on a tour and one by one we oooohed, aaaaahed, danced barefoot on the cool, £2m floor, had photographs taken (a la here) or simply marvelled at this stunning (or spooky, depending on the point of view) space.
Going back up into the light was a reminder that all good things come to an end. As people drifted off to make their way back home, the balloons were gathered up and the room became quiet again. After a quick freshen up, we signed off the day with dinner in a favourite restaurant.
What a day.