A major celebration is always a time for reflection, for remembering people and occasions, quirks and sayings, events of significance and insignificance. Granny used to say… I can still see his face when… Do you remember the time we went to…? That’s something I’ll always remember, especially when the idiot…
So reflections were on my mind as well as lips during our stay in Madeira. Some were prompted by one of my inputs to the celebration, the book of memories, photographs and stories I had produced that gave a flavour of our fifty years and more together. Photographs of people even I had never known to be passed down to the next generations, or those of our engagement party and wedding, of the family when young, and more recently of our daughter’s wedding, laced with stories in which parts of my own life, my feelings and experiences, were reflected.
For the occasion we had rented a quinta on the outskirts of Madeira. After much discussion husband and I agreed a celebration in the sun won hands down over one in dreary November weather at home. Besides, rather than a one evening or one day celebration, it allowed us to extend it to eleven days – and why not.
The quinta was impressive but quirky, idiosyncratic, just what we wanted as a backdrop to our reflections of fifty years.
Built by the owner thirty years ago as a family home on a terraced site that was part of the banana plantation belonging to his family, the quinta was furnished in traditional Madeiran style, albeit in probably a rather grander scale than what most of the island’s inhabitants probably lived with. But this gave us impressive surrounding in which to celebrate, with its large mahogany tables seating a dozen in both kitchen and open plan dining area where a crystal chandelier provided sparkle and light. It was one of three in the spacious area of dining room, entrance area and hall, with its 300-year old doors from a demolished church, and the impressive lounge area.
In the upstairs hall was another seating area with doors leading out onto a balcony with day bed seating. Bedrooms were huge and en suite bathrooms large enough to hold parties in comfort.
As part of the reflections theme I grabbed the opportunity to take photographs of the enormous and intricately framed mirrors around the rooms, fascinated by seeing the spaces from a different aspect. It’s strange how that can show something different from what your eyes see, or what you expect. A bit like reversing an image or photograph and how it can make the subject look very different, or more intriguing, prompting questions about what lies beyond.
Our celebration in the sun provided an opportunity to spend time with our family and get to know our grandchildren better. What better way to spend a golden wedding!