Spring must have come very early last year, because it was only when we were standing there this morning, shaking and shivering in the sheeting rain that we realised how lucky we'd been with the weather on our wedding day. It was glorious this time last year. The sun shone. The guests wandered around the boating lake eating ice creams, and the blossoms were in full bloom. Today they were barely visible.
As we drove up this morning, both of us felt a little flutter in our tummies recalling the nerves we'd felt as we took the taxi up to the Palace with Nathan's sister on our big day. Nathan grabbed my hand and pointed to our rings: "we weren't wearing these twelve months ago..."
We drove from Ali Pali to Huntingdonshire to meet up with Lisa and Mark and celebrate three things: the life of their son, my honorary God-son, George, the second birthday of their daughter Rosie, and our wedding anniversary.
When we arrived - late of course because the clocks had gone forward - Lisa told us that she had a present for us in the sitting room, and as we walked in, four people popped up like Jack-in-boxes from behind the sofa. It took us both a few seconds to compute that Philippa, Dylan, Deia and Silver had travelled up to Huntingdon to spend our special day with us. It was a wonderful, wonderful surprise and we both felt very deeply touched. They all met at the wedding, but Lisa and Mark and Philippa and Dylan come from different parts of our extended friendship groups, so it was rather surreal and quite pleasurable to see them all together in one space. The kids got on famously, Philippa and Lisa seem to adore one another, and Mark and Dylan instantly disappeared into the study to play songs from the musical Matilda, and look at Mark's drums for what seemed like hours!
Lisa cooked a lot of stunning food for us, mostly things from the Ottolenghi cook book, which, for a veggie, is a huge treat. Chilli-infused halloumi? Not 'arf!
We went for a lovely walk in Spaldwick village, which I learned today (due to community activity) has some of the fastest broadband in the country. It's also the only place I know whose village shop is also a delicatessen!
We went to the blustery churchyard to see little George's grave, which looks beautiful covered in primroses. The last time I visited this particular church was during his funeral when hundreds of white helium-filled balloons were released into the air. I will never forget the beautiful image of them all flying up to heaven with little messages attached, silhouetted against the bright spring sunshine.
There was a last-minute dash to the train station in Huntingdon to get Philippa, Dylan and the kids to their train. We went via Brampton, erstwhile home of Pepys, and passed Hinchingbrooke, the ancestral home of his Pepys' supporter and cousin, Lord Sandwich.
I didn't sleep at all last night. My mind was full to the rafters with thoughts and worries about films and projects, so when I got back from the station, I had a lovely sleep, like a little old man, on the sofa.
We came home and went back to Ali Pali. It felt right to start and finish our day there, and, because it was dry again, we were finally able to take Nathan's photograph, in front of the glorious rose window up there which was glowing like some kind of mystical orb, whilst the lights of London twinkled and fluttered in a sea of darkness.