- About the Author
- On Active Service
We had a wedding in our village last weekend, only the third we’ve had in the thirty years we’ve lived here. A marquee went up in the field across the road. A generator arrived. Then posh-looking portaloos. And cars and vans came and went as florists, decorators and electricians set everything up.
The parents of the groom were hosting the event. Invitations to the evening celebration went out to nearby neighbours (including us), the ones who would be most bothered by the noise.
In the days preceding the event activity increased. The groom’s father mowed the lawn nearly every day, even mowing the verge along the roadside that should of course, be cut by the Council, but never is. Caravans, camper vans and tents began to appear in the field across the road.
As we all know, June, so far, has been fittingly flaming, and last weekend was no exception. The sun shone from a cloudless blue sky. We came back from our morning walk to find the groom, best man and ushers gathering cow parsley from the hedge outside our house to decorate an arch through which the bride and groom would pass.
The wedding was at one thirty. We heard the cheering, the music, much laughter. A happy festive atmosphere throughout the afternoon.
We arrived, as invited, just after nine in the evening. It was still light but getting cool. We scarcely knew anyone there but the music was so loud anyway that conversation was impossible. The bride looked beautiful, of course, the groom suitably proud. The couple live in Switzerland so many of the guests were French, some German and a smattering of languages could be heard.
We stayed for about half an hour then came home again. The music didn’t disturb us too much. We’re not even sure what time it finished.
The next morning tents were taken down, caravans and camper vans packed up and by lunchtime there was no sign of the visitors, only the empty marquee, looking rather forlorn now. And on the Monday when the marquee itself came down a sense of anti-climax fell over the village.
It’s the weather that makes such occasions so memorable. I’m sure the happy couple would have been just as happy under grey skies and rain, but there’s something special about an English village on an English summer’s day.
Bethany Askew is the author of five novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.