Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A joy for ever



The rain is teeming down outside today, so much so that I have left the hens shut up for their own good, just as William Cobbett advises, but last Sunday was a sunny day for us all, both literally and metaphorically.



As I think I may have mentioned before, my dear papa, the Commander-in-Chief, and my dear mamma celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last week, and held the loveliest party you could imagine at the weekend. As the Commander-in-Chief mentioned in his speech, my mother is quite sure that she deserves a gold medal for putting up with him for fifty years - my view is that medals are deserved all round for anyone who remains happily married for that long.



And what a beautiful day we had, in spite of some early morning flurries at Pomona's cottage. I had finished Princess Bunchy's Miss Iris skirt in plenty of time, well, certainly by 11am. And then I had the idea of adorning her new white T-shirt with some buttons, which only took half an hour or so.



 There was much huffing and tapping on the part of the General because I had asked everyone to be ready to leave at 11.30am and I was still sitting stitching in my jeans at that hour. (I was about to say that the General was tapping his watch, but I think he was probably tapping the new Ipod that he has acquired, which seems to operate by tapping. I also say acquired because I think it came free, or nearly free, with my new computer, but I was told that it would be wasted on me in my digitally-challenged state.)



I had at one point gazed longingly at the Toast catalogue, and hankered after a new party dress, but that was before taking on the Dottie challenge. So I was a good Pomona and hauled my existing going-out frock from the cupboard, which is, to be honest, a perfectly pretty little number I bought from People Tree two or three years ago. And really it was a Good Thing that I was not wearing something too precious in its newness, for I spilt brown sushi sauce all down the front within minutes of arriving, in a fit of my usual cackhandedness. And luckily this frock has a disruptive pattern of greys, so it didn't really show too much, and someone complimented me on the prettiness of my dress after its embellishment with sushi sauce - to which, of course, I could reply with a clear conscience and polished halo that it was certainly a most ethical dress. And maybe brown sauce improved it.

It was also a very happy weekend because the Ploughboy returned for the party and so I was able to reassure myself of his industrious enjoyment of the academic life, as I heard about his 4am starts (or was that finishes?), and general busyness on all but the intellectual front. But he emailed yesterday asking for pictures of our pigs for a project, so I can comfort myself that it is not all cakes and ale, there is some pork in there as well.




But, as my papa would say, I digress. We arrived at the party one minute before my sister, so we weren't late. My large people acted as car park marshals (although it appears more little and large in the picture above), and little Princess Bunchy had a real live baby to play with, and enjoyed being nursemaid for the afternoon. And I have come to the conclusion that the reason that the finished blanket was not entirely satisfactory to me before was that it needed a baby underneath - that was all that was required to complete the picture of perfection.



And now we come to the presents, or rather present. My parents had said on the invitation 'No presents', but I made an exception for myself and was able to come up with the perfect present which also fulfilled, and indeed excelled, the criteria of the Dottie challenge. It was handmade, it was the most beautiful piece of work that you could ever envisage, and I wrapped it in reusable packaging, namely a tea towel. Yes, the assembled guests also laughed when I mentioned that point - but I blame Sarah at Red Gingham, as she has set my mind running on the potentialities of tea towels. And they make very good, very pretty, and eminently recyclable wrapping paper (it was duck egg blue with spots to match my mother's kitchen).

And having dealt you a few hints as to the magnificence of my present, I now present my present in all its complete and wondrous glory.



You may remember that I wrote a post here about the fantastic work done by my friend, the artist Tom Meek, and as a thank you to my parents for all those years of care and education meted out to children and grandchildren, I commissioned a very special piece which consisted of a little extract from Vita Sackville-West's long poem, The Land, embellished with flowers, apples, cherries, hops, wheat: all things green and growing and special to my mamma and papa.



There is a plough, for my father is a farmer; there are hops as he is the grand old man of hop-growing in this country (you may have heard him on the radio, or even seen him on the television recently, talking about hops).


The owl is partly for wisdom, but also the environment is very dear to his heart, and one farm has won an environmental award, partly because of the care taken to maintain habitats for birds.



The cornflowers and roses were particularly for my mother, and the robin, as messenger from heaven, also has a particular special significance to us all.

Tom has such an amazing talent - the Ploughboy and I put our heads together and made suggestions as to some of the elements, and Tom produced this wonderful design, which appropriately enough includes gold in the lettering, and he also organized the most wonderful green and gold frame to show this piece at its best. Just look at that ladybird, and his trademark Meadow Brown butterfly - I am in utter awe at such skill, and such draughtsmanship.




This is the first time in my life that I have done anything so grown-up as commissioning a work of art, and (unusually for me) words failed me when I first saw it in all its breathtaking beauty. I really feel quite honoured that an artist of such skill and talent has made something so special for me and for my family, and this truly is a thing of beauty which will be a joy for ever.

And now it is back to scrubbing floors and hauling logs, but Sunday was an enchanting interlude, a gathering and a creation of memories, and I am so grateful that we were all able to enjoy such a happy time together, a time to treasure for ever, too.

35 comments:

whoatemycrayons said...

What a wonderful piece of art. Commissioned with love, made and designed with love amd given with love. You can't ask for any more than that!

Michela said...

Glad to know that your parents and you all had such a special day!
The details of Tom's work are stunning!

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hello Pomona

What a magnificent gift for your parents!!! Your friend is very talented, such a nice idea for a very special gift to someone. I have just spent ages looking at his website. Such beautiful works of art.
Was your Father interviewed on Countryfile about 3 weeks ago? I saw that and wonder if it might be him?
Lovely post!
Isabelle x

JuliaB said...

Wow! Pomona!! That is truly a beautiful and breathtakingly special piece of art! Gorgeous. Your mum and dad must be very pleased. And a lovely post to go with it too! Funnily enough, my recently acquired free ipod went to the man of the house too!! hmmm.... the sacrifices we women have to put up with!!
xxx

Tabiboo said...

How beautifully wonderful with such special memories and it was a glorious day on Sunday.

take care,

Nina x

Lululiz said...

That is an amazing beautiful piece of art, what a very thoughtful gift for your parents.

Elizabethd said...

An absolutely perfect gift, you couldnt have chosen better. So glad you had such a lovely day.

MelMel said...

What beautiful and specail gift....congrats to your folks on many happy years together....lovely.xxx

Lola Nova said...

Sounds as if you you truly had a wonderful day. Such a lovely and poignant gift, beautiful all around!
...and from what I can see, the skirt is adorable, well done.

Serenata said...

Oh Pomona, that is simply stunning! What an amazing present to give your parents for such a wonderful anniversary.

Sal said...

It's lovely,Pomona!
In fact,the whole post was fabulous!
;-)

Sarah said...

Good grief woman!! You wrapped that georgous work in an old tea towel?!! You are funny. Wow it's really quite a piece. I love that kind of art. Glad you all enjoyed the day.

silverpebble said...

Goodness, Pomona, that calligraphy is exquisite. What a beautiful thing. I especially love the border of flowers, fruits and creatures. Many MANY congratulations to your parents. What an amazing and admirable milestone.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Yes I did see your Dad talking about hops, Wow that was your Dad! Being a Kentish inhabitant I was interested in what the future looks like for hop growing....

What a gorgeous thoughtful Pomona you are. Your parents must have adored their special piece commissioned by you. What could be more apt that an excerpt from "The Land" and all the careful choosing of motifs, splendid!!!

Glad it was a wonderful day for you and yours, and Congratulations to Pomona Seniors!

Love Sarah x

Chrissie said...

What a well thought-out and exquisitely executed gift. I'm sure it will always be treasured.

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Oh Pomona such a beautiful piece to behold... may your parents celebrate many more years together.
Your foresight of a gift, the elements that are depicted and the wonderful artistry of its creator makes this a unique heirloom to be cherished for generations to come...
Susan

Pipany said...

Such a beautiful and personal present Pomona. Just lovely. loved your brown sauce story! I do know what you mean about the Toast catalogue (could have been made just for me...sigh) but I am determined to try to make some things similar if time allows. Probably won't be till the new year now though. well done on sticking to your plan re: not buying new. Most impressed xx

this is my patch said...

Many congratulations to your parents, and your choice of present to them both is just perfect. x

Menopausal musing said...

That was the most beautiful of gifts. I looked at that photo of your children and thought what a beautiful picture it is. Even though it was taken from behind, I just got the feeling it had captured "them"....... lovely.

Cottage Garden said...

Oh Pomona, that piece is a beautiful work of art and the poem by VSW is just so wonderful. Congratulations to your parents on their anniversary. A gorgeous heirloom which will be treasured for generations. Well done too for sticking to not buying new. I love the tea-towel story!

Jeanne x

Greedy Nan said...

Oooh! Oooh! I couldn't read all this just now, but really enjoyed what I saw. I'm on my way to work so shouldn't really be in here with the 'puter. I'm not even dressed which is quite a horrible sight but will be back later when I have PROPER time to finish off reading this entry.
Happy anniversary to the big people too - what a wonderful commitment.

Itch2stitch.com said...

So happy that the party went well. That work of art is just stunning and what a lovely gift! Suzie. x

Shirleyanne said...

Gosh, such an amazing present!
Beautifully put together & so personal. A present definitely to be proud of, both giving & receiving.

Please the party was a success.

Take Care Pomona

jennyflower said...

Many congrtulations to your folks. I bet they were thrilled you broke the no-present rule!

re said...

Congratulations to your parents

Cathy said...

Congratulations to your parents on their wonderful achievement. The present was absolutely stunning. What incredible skill Tom has. I am sure it will be handed down as a family heirloom in years to come.

Rowan said...

Congratulations to your parents on their Golden Wedding - and what a wonderful present you have given them, such beautiful words and exquisite decoration, they must have been thrilled with it.

Barbara said...

That is a most beautiful present which I am sure will become a family heirloom.

Fast forward to December and we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary, planned and organised by my children.

karen said...

wow congratulations to your parents. hubby and I are just coming up to our second anaversary so I think we've got a bit of a way to go yet lol.

Thanks for popping over to mine and joining in with the giveaway.

karen

marigold jam said...

I am sure your parents will treasure such a wonderful gift - Tom's work is truly fantastic isn't it? Glad you all had a good time at the party and best wishes to your Mum and Dad for the next 50 years!!

Jane x

Julies knitting corner said...

What a beautiful day to remember for all of you, best wishes to your parents.
P.S. Sorry to mess you about but I have moved back to blogger now, not at wordpress anymore. Things are working better on my PC now. best wishes Julie.C

jus said...

Isn't it lovely when all the elements come together to make an amazing day. Congratulations! I am a firm believer that most people are either stains or cleans...as a 100% stain I seem incapable of sitting quietly in a chair in an hermetically sealed room without somehow getting dirty, and I would love, just for the day, to be one of those people who can wear white linen to work and still finish up looking like a Persil advert.
Have a great week, x

elizabethm said...

I came to you via Pipany and what a great blog! I love the picture you gave your parents - both the poem itself and the calligraphy and illustration. Very beautiful.

Duchess of Tea said...

What a superb gift... so artfully done and personal. Please pass my best wishes to your parents, they are lucky to have a darling daughter like you. What a celebration it must have been.
Wishing them good health and happiness.

Duchess

Twiglet said...

A lovely blog and most beautiful gift of art work - can I ask why you say a robin is a messenger from Heaven? We have a special reason for loving robins and just wondered if it was the same as yours!

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