On Saturday, in the gentle countryside of East Sussex, Justice married Anita.
It was a celebration of a relationship that makes me smile everytime I think about it. I do believe it was the closest I've got to crying at a wedding.
The day itself was a corker. It was hot and sunny (which made my morning suit a bit cumbersome), and the wedding took place in a very typical English churcg in the very typical English village of Wadhurst. I had the honour of being an usher for the day. This provided me with a number of advantages. Firstly, I got to meet and greet everybody who came (no matter how late they arrived). Secondly, I got to be outside the church door as the bride and her entourage arrived, a view I had never seen before. Thirdly, I got to wear the aforementioned morning suit. This enabled me to look terrific. In fact I would go so far to say that this was as good as I have ever looked. This had the additional advantage of having an automatic 'in' for talking to people I like the look of. Handy... During the service, the other usher, Matt Knowles, and I even got to use our enforcer status to deal with an interrupting local. Part way through the service there was a bang, and a dishevelled looking man in a shell suit and dirty trainers came in through the door. He stood at the back and tried to get through another glass door. Matt and I, with the assiatance of another friend went up to him and tried to usher him out. No no, he claimed, I am the bell-ringer and I'm allowed to be here. Right, I thought, and I'm the Pope. With more banging of doors we managed to usher him into a small chapel at the back, where we could see him through some glass doors. As soon as he was through, he promptly opened the back door to the church and let in a whole lot of his mates. Matt and I decided that the best course of action was to leave him to it and hope that he kept quiet. Every few minutes, we would turn round and check on him. He'd always give us a smile and a wave and we'd go back to the service. The service finished up and the new family Justice disappeared up the aisle in celebration. At which point, the bells rang out.
Consider contraception allowed by the Catholic Church then, if you would.
On a sloped field in Tidebrook we gathered for the feast. One of the many beautiful things about this wedding was that there were people from many walks of life, and happily for me many of Justices and Anitas walks of life coincided with mine. It therefore allowed me to spend some time with a lot of quality people from my community. There were folk from Edinburgh, folk from London, and some folk from various parts of Oxford. Amidst the dancing and the eating there was plenty of 'Hey! Wendy!' and 'Hey! Tess!' and subsequent embaces. The whole day was in a tone of warmth and genuiness. My experience of A and J is that they create a vibe of warmth and enjoyment and the day was very much in that spirit. I have this lasting impression of Justice when he and I were in Freuds in Oxford, a bar and club that has been converted from a church, dancing to some Jazz Funk, and throughout the evening Justice had this contented smile as he cruised around the dance floor, dancing with strangers and loving every moment of it. This wedding was very similar, except without the strangers and this time all of us were dancing with contented smiles.
With a final stripping of the willow, the happy couple disappeared into their purple mini convertible and disappeared into the country night.
Since then, I have had the joys of spending a day on the Brighton beach with Wendy, Ruth, Alberto, Matt, Catherine, Joe, and Saga, an evening with the homies at the Angel and Greyhound, a day (with more to come) with Simon as I collected him from Heathrow (it is so nice to know that a very good friend from home is likely to be in Europe for the foreseeable future) and an evening with Sarah and Mike and their little ones. In the warmth of these summer days, it is more than just the sunburn from Brighton that is making me glow. There must be something in the air as most people around me seem to be feeling this at the moment. It is so good to see and hear my friends being in such fine spirits.
So to my little world out there; Cheers!