I remember coming back from one of the regular summer barbeques by the river late one evening. It was getting dark and 15 or 20 figures were silhouetted on the sea wall against the darkening sky, like marionettes in a shadow theatre. Figures carrying boxes and bags and pushing bicycles and pushchairs, all laden down with the necessary equipment for the evenings barbeque. A friend who was visiting at the time remarked that it was “.. like something out of a Thomas Hardy novel”.
Yesterday’s wedding in the village was a bit like that too. Take away the modern equipment and utilities and the spirit is the same. The branching tree of individuals, relationships and events still feeds upwards and downwards to give life to the community as a whole.
Take away the speakers in the church grounds for those of us who could not get into the church and there is no difference to those who stood before us 100, 200, or even 400 years ago. Most of the men had beers in their hands, after all it was the local landlord getting married, people were coming and going during the service, children played and conversations continued, despite the service being played out from inside.
Festivities continued in the pub afterwards, during which all the speeches were made, amidst friendly cat-calling and calls for the important people who figured in this event. A huge feast was provided and there was free beer and wine. A convivial atmosphere abounded with groups of friends and acquaintances brought together in one common goal; to wish the new bride and groom a long and happy life together.
I have a commonality with others who stood before me. I have a place I share with others and where I feel I truly live. This is what makes me feel that I belong here.