Coming ‘home home’ was the big challenge. I entered a room with a life I had left behind neatly packed away, memories piled into draws and clothes I had forgotten I owned. Within 5 minutes I had dismantled carefully packed boxes and laughed at old birthday cards, discovered a buried wardrobe and rootled through pulling out odd bits.
Maybe the most surreal experience was going to watch Daisy, my youngest sister in a play. On the way there, knowing very little about the amateur dramatics she was involved in, Jane said ‘Daisy had quite a bit to do with naming the characters.’ I thought little of it until the opening scene where sat around the dinner table was a family, suspiciously named after ours were coping with the death of the eldest daughter. As the play continued, ‘Lauren’ dabbled with drugs to try and find herself.
And so began a week of reunions, first Gran, then school friends, sixth form friends and he build up to the wedding. Answering questions about travel was no way as easy as I had expected, the time apart hadn’t felt like one adventure but lots of chapters, some tough, some free, and reflecting on them wasn’t easy to sum up neatly. Also life moves on at home in ways you don’t contemplate and in every catch up you realised your choices made up only one life option, friends were happily saving for a house or progressing in a career. By special request, a mention to blog super fan Milly who is rumoured to print the blogs to use as wallpaper in her new house. While Stacey and I were able to fuel each other’s wanderlust comparing destinations, many friends were interested to look upon the adventure from the sideline, unable to imagine sleeping in a hostel or how to shave your legs away from home, others probably intrigued or envious, some thinking it was lavish or irresponsible to be living out a fairy tale so long. In most the overwhelming emotion wasn’t what had come between but just enjoying being reunited.
The second part of the week was wedding build up with me making attempt one and two of the wedding cake, some last minute shopping, manicures, checking out the reception room and preparing decorations.
By Friday morning the siblings were back together for the first time in nearly two years. The hyperactivity in our house back to a five year old level, mum reminding us all not to give piggy backs and stop dancing around the kitchen.
The night before the big day we celebrated with Proscecco. A few glasses later, mum preoccupied with Gin and Tonic, Bex and I commandeered the kitchen to decorate the cake (attempt 3.). The kitchen was a mix of old school hits, icing sugar dusting very surface and Bex and I working tirelessly to fufill her intended design. After a few hours of secrecy we hid the fruits of our labour, scrubbed the kitchen and excitedly awaited the morning.
And finally it was the day we had all been waiting for, some of us nervously, others with excitement, but certainly the day which had drawn us all together. We had a schedule to make sure we could get the bride to the church on time, so we arose early to walk the dog, eat together and then separate to allow ample time for hair and make up, David used this time to sit in his boxers selecting the music. Still of course it was a hurry to take some quick photos and pile out of the door. David was the chauffeur, Bex and I in the back holding the cakes as we rallied around the corners and making sure mum wasn’t peaking. Quickly we decorated the room and sped to the registry office.
Although there was only a grand total of 15 of us, it was a nerve wracking walk down the aisle and Ian looked quite apprehensive. The ceremony was simple and formal but intimate and special. Once outside we congratulated the newlyweds and split off in our vehicles to race them back to the venue. This involved a few amber lights and some dodgy overtaking but we were there in time to lay out the room and have their song playing as they entered the reception for the first time as Mr and Mrs Jupp.
With friends and family we celebrated their nuptials and looked forward to their exciting years to come. There was lavish amounts of food and wine, speeches and the cutting of the cake, followed by a relaxed evening of more food and wine until we were all so uncomfortably full we rolled home to bed.
And with one day left to get to know the new family members, that was it, the two weeks at home had flown past as if a blur. Next stop Paris.