A wedding and three bookends – part 1

The wildest of weather has been and still is hitting Sydney and apart from wishing friends there to keep dry and safe, my thoughts go out to some of the amazing small basement bars we visited during our stay: my son-in-law’s retro gaming bar – yes, I have a son-in-law now – and the top-secret and unadvertised whisky bar. Allbest to them in getting things shipshape!

Now let me re-spool to just past mid March when we landed in the Land of Oz after a 5-year absence. The main reason for our trip was our daughter’s wedding at the end of the month, and a great affair it turned out to be.

But first there was a delightful bookend in the form of a coffee in town with Anita Heiss. Anita will be in Vienna next month and will be reading from her memoir, Am I Black Enough For You?, on 6 May at an exhibition of Aboriginal art at the Essl Museum. Our agendas are tight, but I hope to catch up with Anita again when she is in town. The Australia-Austria connection seems to be all go lately with the short story conference last year and this year’s Eurovision in Vienna. (BTW, my terrific assistant, Tanja, and I have been invited to dine at the Vienna Town Hall in May as a thank you for a successful conference.) Then there was a lovely brunch in Newtown catching up with education specialist, Selina Samuels, and in the late afternoon a couple of beers in a delightful old hotel behind Central with poet and short-story writer, Andy Kissane. Andy was part of the conference last year and has a story in German in the anthology, Austr(al)ia. You can get a lot of lovely chat into the length of two beers. (The Australian PM might wish to take note rather than marking with “ex” the Australian way. Erhem.)

Preparations for the wedding ensued which was held at an old city hotel under the able guidance of Wizard Oshan: the ceremony on the roof in full sunshine and the party in graceful rooms.

Proud ParentsNewlyweds
The father of the bride wore a Carinthian kilt to give his daughter away and a friend who flew in from Austria wore his short Lederhosen. So, again the Austr(al)ian connection. Young guests also came from Japan and Bristol, and dear friends of mine were also in attendance. I was proud to read a lovely text by Diane Ackerman from her Natural History of Love:

Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble, fueled national scandals, bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings. How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of one syllable?…Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days….The heart is a living museum. In each of its galleries, no matter how narrow or dimly lit, preserved forever like wondrous diatoms, are our moments of loving and being loved.”

RockRollThe moving and simple ceremony was followed by a bit of R&R while the pro photos were taken in the old hotel and at Angel Place. And then there was party! The groom’s mother and I share a love of oysters and we were not disappointed. The father of the bride danced with his daughter to Rod Stewart singing “Have I told you lately that I love you”, and then there was rock n’ roll which the Carinthian kilt weathered nicely. An intimate and fun wedding so in tune with all present, and a fitting event to send the young  couple on their way into their new life together. May they do things, have fun and be happy!

And here’s more on the wedding from the photographer himself. Thanks John Wilmshurst!

What happened next is continued in part 2.