Reasons to be cheerful: Maddie's wedding
My namesake niece married her military bandsman in a lovely little church with box pews, reclining ruff-collared effigies next to the altar and a Methodist-style gallery where one of the groom's colleagues played a flawless Trumpet Voluntary. The rousing hymns - Lord of All Hopefulness, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer - and the recessional organ music of William Walton's Crown Imperial were British to the core and wonderful for it.
Earlier, as the relatives shuffled in after a quick stop at the famous Petersham Nurseries, they gazed around in wonder at the church's quirky interior. There were garlands of flowers and leaves above us, as the bride and groom came into church side by side, a Georgian tradition the priest said, and reminiscent of a scene from Jane Austen.
Number One Grand-Daughter followed, a small blonde vision in a wispy aquamarine dress, holding hands with the matron of honour. It was some feat as, at seven-years-old, she had no inclination to wear a dress at all and would have been much happier wearing the Darth Vader outfit she had been given as a thank you present.
So the bride reached a compromise and fashioned a Jedi light saber in white chrysanthemums sprayed light blue.
Later, a wedding guest recounted the Georgian tradition of not only the bride and groom entering the church together, and, not realising the significance of the 'bouquet', talked confidently about the little bridesmaid carrying a hollyhock pole just like in Pride and Prejudice.
The force, indeed, is strong with this one.
From the church we walked up across Richmond Park, looking back at the bridal party against a backdrop of the vast plain of Surrey and the Thames Valley, with lots of green trees, dotted with clusters of houses and a few tower blocks and then an aeroplane flying by.
For us country folk, more used to the landscapes of Dorset and Somerset, and some of us from oop north, it was a scene to behold, both ancient and modern. It would have been relished by my favourite aunt, the bride's grandmother, had she still be with us.
She would certainly have loved the bride's shoes.
Reasons to be Cheerful bench, installed in Poet's Corner in memory of that great pop music poet, Ian Dury, and then up to Pembroke Lodge, the former home of the Russell family. What a glorious spot. As the children played in some rare sunshine among the trees, this England seemed very real and special to a couple of temporary ex-patriots.
And then the reception with its simple floral arrangements in jam jars and milk bottles, and book cover place settings.
And then, in the evening, Darth Vader on the dance floor and small children break dancing and sliding across from one side to the other on their knees.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x