|Hello to all our dear friends!
What a jam packed four months this has been, and I warn you this is a very long letter, but before I regale you all with the wedding in Denmark and our party for the Ruby Anniversary, there are several urgent pieces of information I have to let you have on Roger's activities.
Firstly, Yes - he is touring Ireland again in November and a list of the venues will be found on the 'concert info' page. This news was specially asked for by some of the USA folks who are planning a holiday to Ireland around the tour. I have also included the box office telephone numbers for any of you coming from abroad, so you can book now and not be disappointed. In Athlone, the hotel hosting the concert is also offering special rates for overnight stays.
Roger finished his latest German album "MEIN SCHONSTER TRAUM" and it has been released and selling well, getting into the album charts the first week. He is doing so many interviews after the TV show of two weeks ago, on which yours truly did a tiny guest appearance, based on our 40th Wedding anniversary, and he sang the German version of 'One Another" called "Miteinander" to me. It was beautiful.
The whole album is very sympathetic lyrics and new recordings of some of Rogers biggest hits originally in English and completely new to many of the new generation. Look it up on Amazon because it really is a collectors item - especially the German version of
"Danny Boy"!!! quite extraordinary!
He has two or three more TV appearances featuring this album in the next two months, especially "Superhitparade" at the end of November. Then the big Tour starts at the end of March covering about 28 cities. The information on these are already posted as tickets are on sale.
Unfortunately, there is no news on the release of 'MOMENTS IN MY LIFE" as there is still nothing definite on the UK Tour for 2005. It is available in Canada, but that doesn't help the many irate fans who have contacted me to find out the answers on both the record and tour. It is a 'contractual' blip, and I sincerely hope it will be resolved during the winter months and I can put a few smiles back on the European faces again!
Roger will be doing TV in Ireland towards the end of October before the tour, and will be talking about the new and exciting two year project of TV specials in Ireland. With the right backing we are hoping to start filming next summer, and Roger will be writing most of the accompanying music…..But….and this is where you come in!
He is basing the shows on the Kenya Musical Safari idea, but inviting members of the Irish public to submit poems or lyrics for him to put to music, asking them to tell us of their historical local heros, present day celebrities, local history and myths (Ireland is a wealth of stories). He is so overwhelmed with the riches of Ireland in its
whole history, culture and arts that he raring to go!
As I said this is a long term project and if it is received favourably here he will be looking at Scandinavia, Canada …. You name it!
As you can imagine he has me hot footing it to the library, researching and suggesting, but we both know that the main essence of this project will come from people like you, your stories and poems. The last time we did something like this, in l976 we received over a million lyrics, so I think he will be keeping us busy if we get 10 percent of that number !
Before I finish this 'business' part of the letter, I must thank Rory and Vicky McEvoy for answering so many of your questions, that Roger and I don't have the hours in the day to reply to. Regretfully many of the albums you are looking for are no longer available, but occasionally you can find them second hand on the internet.
Now - THE WEDDING! What a joy it was! After weeks of rain, two days before we left for Denmark the sun started to shine and stayed until two days after the event. I have to tell you that Mette's parent Alic and Niels had organized everything down the last minute detail, so that nobody was left out. For example, on the Friday Alice gathered all our guests and relatives, particularly those who had never visited Denmark before., for a tiny sample of Danish fun and games! We were all staying in a delightful old monastery quarter of a mile from the sea. Assembled in the courtyard, Alice announced she was separating us into two teams. Roger as leader of one, and I was in charge of the other team.
Then we were escorted around the old walls and found a huge horse drawn carriage, seating 16, which was for the 'oldies' like us, and mums with babes in arms! Behind this was a bank of bicycles that the young were told was their transport!!! You should have seen their faces - exercise!
Off we set clip clopping along, and others wobbling all over the road to the first stopping point, a playing field where Alice and Niels were busy setting up two football nets! Whoops - half the adults blanched when told we were going to play for 5 goals - not only that we had to pair up, tied together with a bicycle inner tyre!
Laugh! We were hysterical and falling over more with mirth, than lack of skill. Roger, of course, as he had only just had the plaster off his foot, was delegated referee - and naturally cheated on 'decisions' in favour of his team all the time, to roars from the bystanders and opposition!
While we were making complete idiots of ourselves, Alice, Neils and several of their friends had set up the most mouth watering tables of smorgasbords, smoked salmon, cold meats, cheeses of all sorts, and to make it completely Danish - Schnapps and Beers.
Back into the cart we staggered, young back in the saddle, and off to see the gorgeous church that would be the venue for the services the next day. Everyone, even quite a few of the children were amazed, not only at the church, but most especially, the incredible churchyard, where every single family plot was bordered by perfect mini gardens neatly denoted by tiny box hedging. It was inspiring and heartwarming to see the care that had been taken.
Having recovered from our lunch, we loaded up again for several miles of stunning countryside, arriving at a "Paint Warfare" site (don't remember what the real name is) Again there were a few faces that fell, but kindly Alice said that wasn't what we were going to do!
Worse! We were 'sack racing! No excuses (except Roger of course but this time one of Alice's relative was also refereeing!) More side aching laughter and exhibitionism by the most athletic young, while the 'crinklies' staggered about, to the every increasing joy of the very small members of our group.
When we had recovered from that, we got back on board for a rather bumpy journey to the sea! It was baking hot, and the kids soon stripped off into their swim wear and plunged in, while the older generation took a breather and lots of photos!
By the time the intrepid swimmers were dried off it was late and we set off again, further down to coast to an almost deserted beach, where Alice, Niels and friends had gone ahead and set up a Beach Bar-B-Q. The children had almost' run out of steam ' by then and
Once fed and watered left us to enjoy a beautiful meal, beside a roaring log fire, and watching the sunsetting over the far island. Magic! Needless to say, all pre-wedding nerves were subdues by fatigue, and kids and parents alike were asleep by 10.30.
Dawn of the great day saw Guy and I pacing round the courtyard before breakfast with him muttering "I know she wont turn up" me reassuring him, or trying to, and helping rehearse his speech. After breakfast he usual furore with hairdressers, ironing boards, last minute instructions and flower distributions before setting off to the church with bridesmaids (Rebecca and Imogen looking gorgeous but nervous) and a near catatonic Bridegroom and Best man (Alexander).
It is traditional to shed a tear AFTER the ceremony but I had to swallow hard before the Bride appeared, watching our eldest son and his brother sitting bolt upright by the altar, looking just 'grand' as we say in Ireland. Then the organ sounded, and Mette and Niels walked towards us. She looked like an angel and he was so proud.
What a moving service it was, half in Danish and Half in English and by the end my mascara had run all over the place and my nose was red! So it was with great relief as the happy pair drove off in a horse drawn carriage, that the party moved off slowly back to the Monastery, and I could repair the damage of my over emotional mothertears!
I warned you that this would be a long letter and there are another two pages at least to read!... back to the story
A jazz band was playing on the lawn, as the Bride and Groom greeted all their guests, the children wer let loose after having to sit still for so long, and the Brides parents were free to enjoy themselves after all the months of preparation, but their attention to detail was not yet fully shown until, after the champagne reception, we all went in to the wedding dinner, in the main monks dining hall, decked with flowers, more music and every table holding hand painted menus (by a friend of Jessica's called Shura) and two parchment rolls beside each place setting.
Before the meal, a member of each family stood and told the rest of the room, who they were, how they knew the bride and groom or their relationship - so in a matter of 10 minutes we all, Danish, British, Irish, Scots and many other nationalities all knew our neighbours. Some of the information was very funny, such as Guy's school friends, who said they had known him before he lost his hair, followed by Roger, who said he had know him BEFORE he had any hair at all.
Then the magnificent meal started, with half hour intervals for speeches, and some very funny Danish traditions such as every time the Groom left the Hall, all the men got up to queue to kiss the bride, and visa versa when Mette left. Speeches were highlighted by drumming on the table for the bride and groom to kiss, or poems read, and at one point Mette's relatives, had devised their own version of "The Princess' and the Pea" to gales of laughter.
Throughout all this, we understood the amount of intricate details that had gone into the planning. As nearly all our group didn't speak Danish, and many of Mette's friends and family didn't speak English, every speech had been translated and written out of the scrolls beside out plates, Alex's speech ended with a beautiful accolade to Mette's parents and us, in Danish, and finally we all sand "It's a long way to Tipperary", both in English and Danish" . The food was devine, and the background music from the band never intruded.
We all agreed we had never laughed so much for two solid days. Our sides ached, and we made so many new friends. Finally, at midnight the Wedding Waltz was announced. Guy had warned us about this - not being a dancer - but unknown to us had been going to classes so it was elegant and romantic, until…. We all surrounded them and another Danish tradition took place…all the groomsmen swept Guy off his feet, took his shoes off, and cut the toes out of his socks!
Inexplicable but apparently it always happens!
Then the disco started, and with a 6.0 a.m. flight the next morning, Roger and I said our farewells leaving the young to dance until dawn.
Alice and Neils immaculate planning had not stopped there, and as there was no bridal suite in the Monastery, they had organized a real Indian Teeppee to be put up in the Physic Gardens behind the main building, with a roaring brazier, candles and champagne, and our children told us later that the Bride and groom were escorted to their honeymoon suite by two lines of torch bearing friends and family singing all the way.
All in all it was the most memorable wedding we have ever been to, and all Guy and Alex's friends who are marrying in 2005 have decided that the Danish experience of weddings has cast out all the old traditional British ones, and they want the fun and laughter we all experienced. Once again, Alice and Niels, congratulations, and thank you for giving us such a beautiful new daughter who is welcomed with open arms, and loved by all the Whittaker's and O'Briens. Guy is a lucky fella!
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