Showing posts with label Dreams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dreams. Show all posts

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Wedding Dresses and the Liberty Connection

Reading Lucille's post about the recent Liberty in Fashion Exhibition in London set me thinking about weddings and wedding dresses. Although I never wanted a big white wedding, the dress was important to me and I had firm ideas about what I was looking for.

I still have the dress I bought for my first wedding, a small, intimate ceremony at a London Registry Office nearly 35 years ago, and which I found in Stitches & Daughters in Blackheath Village where I was living at the time.  

It was around the time of Prince Charles' wedding to Diana Spencer, and Stitches & Daughters had commissioned a one-off commemorative wedding dress made from Liberty silk which caught my eye.  I can vividly remember seeing it displayed in their shop window and falling in love with it. Beautifully made and designed by an architect, it fitted perfectly and I bought it on the spot!  I loved wearing it on this special day.  

We held the reception in the garden of the Victorian coach house we were renovating at the time and most of the photos were taken in the dappled shade of the old Mulberry tree, heavy with its dark, staining fruit, imprinted still on the hem.  Looking at it now, I am instantly transported back to that day.  It carries the memories in the folds of its fabric. I see a young woman full of hopes and dreams on the cusp of marriage and motherhood, knowing nothing of what would unfold and almost a stranger to me now.  Some of the guests at my first wedding are still in my life in some way, some have vanished into the ether, and my new husband, my children's father and the man I believed would always share the journey, shockingly no longer plays any part in my life.


My second wedding dress was harder to find and took many months of searching in the shops and online for something suitable for a rather more mature woman with three adult sons, but also special enough for the church wedding we planned to have in our Suffolk village.  

I knew exactly what I wanted this time but it remained elusive, a simple ivory shift dress shouldn't be so hard to find!  As soon as I saw it though I knew this was the one and immediately put in my order.  The dress was duly delivered to my local Waitrose store and prosaically I loaded it into my shopping trolley along with my weekly shop, the fruit and vegetables, the milk and bread and washing-up liquid. I rather like that. 

Luckily it was perfect and my new husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our day celebrating with our seven grown-up children, their partners and our little granddaughter.  A very different occasion and much further down the path of our lives, older and hopefully wiser, but still with no idea of what life holds in store for us in the coming years, what joys and sorrows we will experience.  Weddings are about dreams, marriages are about reality.

What sort of wedding dress did you choose, do you still have it and what does it mean to you now? 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

City of Dreams

The fast evening train to Liverpool Street cut through the darkening countryside, the hinterland, the outer suburbs and the inner city; high rise flats, little boxes stacked one on top of the other, each little box containing someone's life, their hopes and dreams, their fears and failures, every individual with their own path to follow, their own agenda and challenges to face.  Lights shining out into the darkness.

Then suddenly it reared up, towering above the cheap, high rise blocks of flats.  A wall of glass and steel, chrome and concrete, sharply defined corners and hard edges, bright lights, tempting, challenging. The City of London, the ancient Square Mile, city of dreams and towers, a city that can make or break you, destroy you and spit you out, or endow you with riches beyond your wildest dreams.  Enter at your peril for it will surely change your life for ever!


I came to the City over 40 years ago, a young girl fresh from the provinces, weaving her dreams, with an exciting new job in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral and an entire life stretching before her.  A crisp, white page waiting for a story to be written on it.  It's a rather tattered page now, with lots of crossings out, re-writing and notes in the margin but there's still space for more as I work my way through my story.  I worked in the City for 10 years, met the man who became my husband, had children and moved out to the country, living the dream, and it has been a constant thread running through my life ever since, although the marriage has long gone.  But life turns full circle and so last night I found myself yet again in the City of London, dressed up for a formal dinner with my partner at his club, sitting chatting with new friends and watching the dark waters of the Thames flowing swiftly past the windows on its relentless journey to the sea.


I rarely come into London now and it is an expensive treat but there is a sense that, after all that has happened and all the changes in my life, all I have gone through since I first came to this place, I am at peace with this great City.  In the end it is a mirror.  It can only do to you what your own spirit allows it to do.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Marry Me?

'Marry Me?' he said, out of a clear blue sky.

My world tilted momentarily on its axis. We had both said categorically that we would never marry again, so why did I find myself saying 'Yes' without even pausing to think? It just seemed to be the right, the only possible answer. If I thought about it I might find reasons not to, but all the important decisions in life come from somewhere beyond conscious thought. The lunchtime busyness of the seaside restaurant had settled and we were alone with our oysters and champagne, both of us now in tears as he took me in his arms and kissed me.



Life has been very unsettled recently as I struggle to let go of the trappings of my old life and move into the new one that is opening up for me, and sometimes I am so scared to let go. After all, it has been a long, hard journey, rebuilding my life after it was torn apart; raising my boys to be confident young men, able to live satisfying, independent lives; finding friends, homes, work, fulfillment for myself on my own terms and while I don't think it will always be easy, to merge my life with someone else's, it is my new challenge and I shall give it all I can.


We plan to move to East Anglia in the summer after my youngest son finishes school. He has a new life opening up to him too, as he hopes to go on to University in the Autumn, all being well, the grades being right. At last he is beginning to take control of his life and to do what has to be done to achieve his goals.


I know this is not the end of my story, but it is the end of this particular chapter and, whatever problems we face in the future, we face them together.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Now (and then)

Staying in the moment is one of life's hardest lessons and one I wish I could have learned better a long time ago.

When I met my ex-husband, I was always thinking about the next step - moving from dating to being in a relationship, then living together, eventually getting married, buying a house, having a baby, then another baby and then another, buying and selling more houses, always searching for the dream, without realising that I had it all the time. Sadly for me, the dream turned into a nightmare and the road ultimately led to separation, divorce, the break-up of my family and massive financial insecurity.

My life is very different now, not better nor worse, just different. It is only when devastation is complete that rebirth can begin. I can hope and dream about tomorrow, but for now I have today. And it's enough.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

It really is that simple

"Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no-one above you
Fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do"
Van Morrison

I dreamt last night that we broke up again, me and the man I had been dating. We spent about four months breaking up last year after a brief, unsatisfactory relationship.  I'm very bad at letting go. In my dream, we were at a party and I was upset about the way he was behaving towards me, so I left, went out into the dark and cold alone. He didn't follow me. He had other priorities.

And when I saw him again, he told me that the problem was me, that when he is networking, he can't think about me at all. So I broke up with him. In my dream. Quite right too.

If you are with someone and you are serious about them, then you put them first.

If you do that everything else falls into place.

If you know you are loved and know you are secure, you can be generous when the pressure is on, because you know he would if he could.

You know there's no-one above you.

It really is that simple.