Sunday, 9 September 2012


My daughter got married on the island of Santorini last month. It was not quite what I expected. What's wrong with the cathedral, I said or the chapel in St Andrews?  When she was at university there I had visions of a misty autumn day and the long wide beaches. Santorini is famous for its black sand and volcanic rock, its hot summers and its superb sunsets.
There's nothing wrong with the sunsets in Stanhope, I said, where I have my caravan. Only a couple of weeks ago we had a bright red mackerel sky. You could have been married at the Abbey in Blanchland for less than three hundred pounds.
She didn't take any notice.  So twenty of us ended up on the Greek Island of Santorini. It'll be as hot as hell, I said, there'll be mosquitoes and I'm bound to be ill. It is almost a joke among my friends that every time I leave the country I' m ill but of course I had missed the most essential point, that this was not about me. We do tend to put ourselves in the centre of everything. I suppose it's natural. No wonder some people go abroad and then ring their mothers to say they are married, much easier than having the old girl along, being grumpy and embarrassing.
I don't believe in marriage, I think it's for people who are religious, I certainly don't like all that white dress and flowers and so on stuff. The feminist in me thinks that for centuries women have married because they couldn't manage by themselves. This is certainly not true of my daughter's generation, so I fail to see the point any more.
And so, what was it like?  It was the prettiest wedding I have ever been to and the bride and groom gazed into one another's eyes in a way that would have made Mills and Boon readers reach for the hankies.
My daughter says her husband understands her. When she feels ill he brings her camomile tea in bed. He takes her to the theatre though I'm not convinced that he adores Shakespeare. He also has the same idea as Oscar Wilde did when he said you should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening and on her wedding day my child wore the diamond on a chain he gave her three weeks after they met and a diamond solitaire on her finger which he bought her. He proposed to her in the kitchen of their tiny house. He went down on one knee and offered her a diamond. You can't beat it for style. And on their wedding day they gazed into one another's eyes as though no one had ever made a better choice. It was the perfect day. I still think the cathedral would have been nice but I fell in love that week, with one of the most beautiful islands in the world and we all had a fantastic time

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