As I stood, shakily reading Bob Dylan's Wedding Song to a small sea of friendly faces at my best friend's wedding before the justice of the peace ceremony began, I felt the tears of gratitude fight to stay inside till at least the closing lines. I was moved that we all managed to be there, and that she had bestowed such an honour upon me. My acting training went as far to help me to remember to breathe and make myself heard, but I never did manage that control-your-emotions-with-the-stoicism-of-an-unflappable-royal or some such very well....Still, I got through it (without looking at my friends in the eye - then the flood gates would have been opened past the point of no return) and puffed out my chest with pride. Our son, had just finished his turn, walking calmly down the aisle, wearing his waistcoat with the shyness of a peacock in training. Having reached the half way mark on the red carpet, he paused. For dramatic effect of course. He then proceeded to show each side of the party the rings, tied delicately on a lacey cushion flown in from Italy. Right. Left; Ladies and Gentlemen, exhibit A. Then on to his seat. The boy's a pro. My video is shaky from laughing.
Gone was this poise but a few hours later when, full of a tiny dip into pink champagne and stuffed with bread and starters and jelly beans and roast dinner and desert and cheering and clinking glasses to get the couple to kiss (it's an Italian thing) boyo had turned into a diminuitive and somewhat manic Romeo chasing all the flower girls and trying to keep them rounded up in the main party room. In the end he prooved a light weight, when, after the room had been turned aorund for the second time into a dance floor and stage (klezmer band included!) the girls, having napped danced into the night in that delightful tribal style that small folk do whilst he conked out on grandma's lap and was laid across three chairs and slept through the subsequent three sweaty hours of dancing. The Klezmer band touched the gypsy within all of us as we fumbled our way, almost touching the floor, into circles and patterns, whooping and cheering and taking turns and strutting in the centre of the clan to cheers and claps and general happy group-ness. Having been sworn to resist inducing tears from the morning (I helped Gabby get dressed and her mascara was to last at least until the end of the ceremony!) I finally succumbed when Gabby's mum shimmyed over to mum and I and the three of us, arms around each other bopped up and down. I imagined Gabby's grandmother and my aunt Patricia popping down to link on to the ends and enjoy the party too. The happy sad tears came. After James and his band (the groom) did a fantastic turn towards the end of the night it was almost time to scoop up the boy and tip toe back out into the incredibly cold Welsh night and back into our cottage. He woke up, somewhat deliriously chatty, scoffed some wedding cake, hugged uncle James, exclaimed yet another squeal of delight in the fact that we got to live in a cottage in Wales and then fell into another bout of sleep. The following morning there were hugs and fried breakfasts and more Italian family-ness and friends, and goodbyes. Why always the good byes?!
Turns out, it is more of a see you in London in a few weeks' time, as my producer from the series I finished last september surprised me with a job offer the first day we arrived. Hows about that for a home coming?! It's a guest spot in an episode of another kids comedy show he is doing in which I get to play an arch villain. A spoilt, ruthless, brash and evil manipulative young lady. I can't wait. Don't misunderstand me, I do not long to be back on the audition circuit, dreaming up jobs, I am delighted to dip in for a few days and then return to what I truly appreciate now more than ever, to be our pretend life. The heavy clouds, the chill in the air of London and it's Londoners has confirmed to all of us that we are no where near ready to settle back down just yet. The dusty heat of Texas is a callin' and my boots are still made for walkin' - specially if they are leathr high heeled and turquiose encrusted thank you very much.
A quick word mention now of our last week in Boston. Having spent the first, in the company of my cousin, her husband and their two young boys, you would think that the English clan would lay low and re-coup after all the excitement. But why, when there were green card parties to organise?! Why rest, when there is celebrating to do darlings? The party itself, echoed the immigration process. The room was all set: The hamper was covered with green tablecloth, our enormous dining table was greenified also. A green helium star balloon bobbed up and down attached to an ice bucket. The bath was full of sparkling alcoholic things and sodas. Pizzas and antipasti were ordered. Boy was sat on the sofa, scrubbed, fed and sitting patiently next to his bedtime books. This is the order of the events that followed:
Mama tells him she just has to make a quick call to front desk to ask if she could borrow the glasses that they had told her the day before she could have for a party. The lady on the desk says no and carries on to explain that the limit for glasses is six. Mama explains that there are about 30/40 people coming in under two hour's time. Front desk lady says six is the max. Mama asks for plastic ones instead. Front desk lady says six is the maximum. Mama changes subject and asks for a little help with ice seeing as the bath is rather deep and the machine is a five minute walk away. Front desk lady says I can help myself to the ice and take as much as I wish. Mama says the bath is enormous and the recepticles in the room rather tiny. Front desk lady does not budge. Mama please-s. Front desk lady says, in any case she could not help because the ice is for a party and she cannot condone a party in a guest room. Mama feels like a spoilt little rich girl when she points out that they have had the good fortune to be living in a HUGE suite. Front desk lady replies with a HUGE no on all counts and a please stop harranging me miss, goodnight. That ole' green card bureaucracy rearing its head once again. Does mama stumble? Panic? Scream and shout? No siree, mama dresses boy up, who is now speechless with excitement at the fact that bedtime has suddenly turned into urban adventure. We traipse out into the Bostonian night and just over an hour later return with a bath full of ice and plastic champagne glasses and tumblers. Somehow boy and ma manage to mix up the green, green card cocktail, lay out plates, fill the bath with ice to cool the drinks, have shower, and get boyo to sleep, all in under 45 minutes. You've got to hand it to these short folk, we know about speeeeeeed. You should have seen the little boys face, droopy with tiredness as I whizzed around fixing up the room, turning to me and quietly announcing he was ready for books now ma. He slept through the whole noisy affair. Through the operatic a capella harmonised version of Land of the Free, through the squeals of delight from the girls as the food arrived and those of mama when she received a sea of, mostly edible, "green" gifts. It was just lovely. We toasted to absent friends. I nearly cired. Everyone cheered. I was a happy camper. Boyo only called out as the very last guest was leaving around 2ish and when ma and pa were more than ready to hit the hay. Then followed a family filled weekend with my in-laws and and their brother and sister-in-law as well as my cousins from Philly area. It was, as they would say in the welsh valleys, simply, lush.
We did arrive back in Blighty a little bedraggled I have to say. Nothing a bucks fizz and impromtu bank holiday party at my old neighbour's house couldn't fix. When we arrived my cousin - who is more of a sister - was waiting for me, and we partied into the afternoon. Now there's a way to ward off jet lag I tell ya. I managed till 8ish that evening until I literally fell onto the kitchen table, sound asleep, waking up, drooling onto the wood about an hour and a half later. Jet lag is the closest to purgatory I ever wish to get thank you very much. The not so dark secret of wannabe jet setters.....
Weariness aside, we have managed to squeeze in our top haunts. Cory did his usual manic turn at the plot. A planned morning of earthiness turned into the best part of a ten hour dig/fix-fest. He returned home red, weary and satisfied. We got to have a pint at our favourite little pub. Partied. Travelled the British countryside form the lush green Welsh valleys thorough the picturesque villages of Gloucestershie and Oxfordshire. My land of birth is a pretty one to be sure. But I am not ready for it to be home just yet. Course the green card situation has added another slant on things. There is a pressure for me to make sure I put it to very good use. Cory has already got me planning a full scale production of my one woman show by LA come August and I have already started putting a slow simmer of panic on my back burner...
Our bi-continental dream has its costs. Right now I type whilst Cory travels solo to St Louis and Sam and I sit tight till mummy has done her turn on camera and then it's direct to Houston, Texas. The seperation is but brief, and for this I am truly grateful, and yet it serves as a gentle reminder of the challenges that we may have to face if we truly are to protect our residency in both countries. Nothing a little determination and good humour can't handle.
You can never have enough of that...