The Cactus Patch
Volume 11       August 2008      Number 8

A Wedding of a Different Colour
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

June was again a slow month. On the 5th we drove up to the Fresno Succulent meeting with a fantastic Echinopsis hybrid called 'Madame Pele'. It was open for the meeting and has fantastic petals with mauve edged orange. That evening we stayed with Ron & Charlene Stebles on the eastern edge of Clovis. Next morning we toured their garden which had lots of Echinopsis in bloom -as did my garden in Bakersfield. We spent the afternoon shopping and went to an outdoor film in the evening. The weather suddenly turned cold and we were freezing! Next day we went to Cal State Fresno for a show called “New Wrinkles in Time”. We got there early and looked at the botanic garden – not much, but then the Deutsch Garden is hard to compete with. The show was a fantastically fast-paced musical interspersed with one liners. All done by old folks like us! There were a number of pieces which Polly and I had done in Botswana, such as “I remember it well.”

On the 10th we went to the BCSS potluck and saw the succulents at Cal State Bakersfield for the first time. A good beginning. I enjoyed the red-tailed hawk and the orange orioles. The food was great and the croquet was enjoyable (tho one-sided).

Finally, on the 27th we watched the travesty of the “election” in Zimbabwe. I try not to get into politics, but I already stepped in this one and will say just a few words. Back in 1976 I was lambasted in letters in the Cactus & Succulent Journal (US) (see the July-August issue.) I happened to be in Santa Barbara when the proofs came out and Charlie Glass showed me the forth-coming edition in which it was announced there will be no more politics in the journal. (Ironically the cover is decorated for the American Bicentennial!) [I had spoken against the earlier praise of Ian Smith in “Rhodesia”.] In 1988 I attended Aloe 88 in Zimbabwe and the article I wrote was neutral, not mentioning Mugabe who had been in power for eight years (C&SJ Nov-Dec. 1988). I would find it difficult to ignore him today, but on the other hand, I'm not likely to visit Zimbabwe under present conditions.

Back to last year:

In addition to touring and visiting, we were in Smith's Cove for the wedding of Catriona, Andrena's daughter and Devin from New Brunswick. It is hard to believe she is old enough (she is petite like her mother and grandmother), but she is over 21. Polly had sewn Andrena's dress when she got married in Botswana, but this time we were mostly spectators. The first thing we had to do was zip into Digby and replace our clothes – the wedding was to be blue! Then we shopped for decorations and plates. The first visitors to arrive (besides us) were Barry and Anne, the godparents, who came from Fair Isle, Scotland, the ancestral home of the Teeds. At one point Barry said, “ Ahm trryan' me best ta speak English.” Next were Andrena's parents and her brother Mariner.

On the 2nd of Aug. we went with Catriona to Cornwallis Park where she had been working as supervisor in a computer lab for the public. (Cornwallis Park was the largest naval training base in the British Commonwealth in WWII and is now a museum.) In the evening the women went to a hotel for a party and the men caroused at the Dockside Bar & Restaurant. It was a karioki bar and I just had to join in when they played “Streets of Bakersfield”. On the 3rd we had a more sedate dinner at the Annapolis Restaurant at the Pines Resort.

The 2nd was also the day Russia planted a flag on the seabed to claim the North Pole. Canada, of course, complained (as did the US and other Arctic nations – they all want the newly opened Northwest Passage.)

The actual wedding was on the 4th. Catriona had a bouquet of red-orange Chasmanthe (a South-African Iris relative) to offset the dark blue dress. [We had seen this flower on the cliff at Plymouth and the giants head at Heligan and this year we saw it at the Iris Garden in Coarsegold.] There was a short ceremony on the beach (making sure the tide was out) and then a reception on another friend Bruce's farm (not mine). BBQs were set up in the barn and a white marque was set up on the lawn. The blue frosting stained everything and Nigel was very near to tears in his fatherly speech, but it was a beautiful wedding.

That evening we went with Mariner to the Paradise Bar in Digby to hear the “Green River Revival”. The music was OK, but the volume was LOUD and Polly rolled up paper towels which we soaked and stuck in our ears. On the 5th we went back to Bruce's for a clean up and met Phyllis Pheasant on the way out. She is apparently well known. Then we played croquet back at Smith's Cove, but it was rather difficult on the 30 degree slope! In the evening we went to the Garrison House at Annapolis Royal for a birthday party for Mariner. Someone passed around a picture of him as a kid in a sailor suit and he was standing next to a girl who looked just like Catriona (but was actually Andrena.) Just as we ordered desert, there were fireworks outside (not for us, but they made a perfect ending to the party.)

We all left Smith's Cove on the 6th, but I'll write about that next month.

Devin & Catriona at Smith's Cove

Catriona at the computer centre

Bruce & Andrena at the reception

Phyllis Pheasant

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