Monday 25 February 2013

A Piece of Veil.

It may not look very much but this small piece of material is a powerful reminder of all the women that stand round me in my life and are my strength. It was given to me wrapped round a bouquet of handpicked flowers. My friends had insisted on a night together before my wedding. We watched the sun set over the river drinking wine, eating beautiful food and talking. Amongst all the gifts, ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver thruppence in her shoe,’ was this extra, the just in case the hand-stitched cushion didn’t make it in time present, given to me privately in the kitchen at the end of the night. The back-up present. My friend explained to me that the bouquet included some rosemary and lavender for remembrance and memory, which had been at the centre of her own wedding bouquet in memory of her father and it was hand-tied in a piece of her veil. Having spent hours browsing beautiful images of weddings and trying on some amazing dresses nothing had seemed quite right but this small piece of fabric and those flowers told me what my wedding was about. So I went back to my first dress, in the vintage shop, a worn before beautiful 1930s style evening dress, and I took in the piece of veil. I now knew how to make this dress, which would have been danced in before, my own, with a hand-stitched and beaded ‘veil’ flowing from the shoulders – I wasn’t being given away and I wanted to walk in hand-in-hand with my husband-to-be and daughter – so the veil came from my shoulders and stood for the strength all these women give to me every day, for their conversations, for their tea and biscuits, for the glasses of wine and for the holding on to each other.

 In my bouquet and amongst all the flowers, put together on the morning of the wedding with my friends, with the sea salted rain lashing against the Georgian house teetering on the edge of Anglesey, was the lavender and rosemary making sure my mother was there with me every step of the day and it was wrapped in my friend Sarah’s piece of veil.

The beautiful hand embroidered cushion which was finished by another friend, just in time, made up of: something new, the cushion; something old – a vintage handkerchief; something borrowed - my friend’s time embroidering; something blue - the thread. It is now cuddled by my daughter every evening when she snuggles up on the sofa.

Dr Sarah Heaton, University of Chester

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