Briony’s Wedding

It’s Monday afternoon and I’ve just arrived back from spending a few days on the Gold Coast and at Lismore. I’m currently listening to the Agnetha Faltskog Boxed Set, recently released, featuring her first five albums in Swedish, released for the first time on CD. I’m enjoying it immensely. Anyway, the Gold Coast? I was there for a wedding.

I arrived at the Gold Coast on Friday afternoon. Gosh it was humid. Realising that it’s been about twelve months since I last spent summer in the area, I found the heat and humidity sometimes overwhelming. As I’d come to the coast without shorts, I wandered into the main shopping centre at Surfers Paradise and quickly realised that, in the twenty years it is since I made regular trips to the Gold Coast – when I was at university – that nothing much had changed. The buildings looked the same, the shopping centre was similar, even the people were the same. What gave me the biggest laugh, though, was seeing a 40 something mother with her twin teenage daughters all dressed identically in white outfits (with frills, with short denim skirts over the top and with white ugg boots… and, best of all, they all had bleached blonde hair with the roots showing. My goodness, I thought, this was one of the girls from “Muriel’s Wedding” with grown up daughters.

The reason I was on the Gold Coast, however, was no “Muriel’s Wedding”: it was “Briony’s Wedding”. I’d first met Briony through work, though my connection with her family goes back much further to when I was working in Renmark in 1989-1991 when I interviewed her father on a number of occasions. I also discovered that a friend of mine at the time, Jacqui, was her dancing teacher. The world is far too small! So I had a brief word with her dad and had a drink with Briony on Friday night at Jupiter’s Casino where we were all staying before heading off to bed for a good night’s sleep.

On Saturday morning, another friend, Martin and I wandered around Pacific Fair. And it was then that I realised how old I am. Much to Martin’s amusement I remember when Pacific Fair opened with its accompanying television commercial jingle which went… Pacific Fair, Pacific Fair, there’s a whole world of shopping there, A trip away each shopping day, it’s waiting there at Pacific Fair, at Pacific Fair, at Pacific Fair. Another amusing thing about Pacific Fair was the new “Spa Capsule” which was on display. Looking like a combination between one of those flotation tanks so popular (briefly) in the 1990s and one of those groovy coffins from Africa, I thought it was “very Gold Coast”, the whole idea of having a machine perform a massage on you… ooh don’t touch me, let a machine do it.

The wedding service was terrific and very informal with the priest “deconstructing the wedding process” in both an amusing and friendly manner. For example, he said something along the lines of, “Normally at this point I’d ask if there’s anyone who has an objection or a reason as to why they shouldn’t be married. But I’m not going to do that, because last night Stephen and Briony signed a statutory declaration to that effect, so there’s no need”. Refreshingly informal, but not overly so. “Briony and Stephen asked if I’d conduct a ceremony that was traditional, but not stuffy”, the Uniting Church priest declared… and he did.

From the wedding it was off to a restaurant, Oscars, which overlooked the beach at Burleigh Heads. Again, it was terrific with lots of thought having gone into it. One idea I liked was the entree in an informal drinks setting outside on the balcony. Another idea which I liked was that each table had a disposable camera which was collected later in the night. What a great way to get some terrific informal photographs. The music was great.

I spent yesterday and last night at home in Lismore which was also great. Michelle’s baby is due in six weeks time and she is “very pregnant”. I’m planning to head home again in mid-April (the first week of the school holidays) and so Michelle said she’d plan to have the Christening then. Nothing else to report.

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