We wake up early, Madeleine does laundry while Barney makes breakfast, and so gather what we’ll need for the rehearsal. We dress and drive to Staithe House, the Bax family home in Brancaster Staithe on The Wash, an inlet of the North Sea. When we were here a few years ago, we went kayaking with a Briony the water, and Barney was brave enough to go in swimming with her (I was not, it was much too cold).
The house and gardens looks stunning. A huge tent fills the ear years near the seaside trail, and a team is busy finishing installation and setting up tables. The rose garden looks magnificent, everything is blooming, and there is a new Woden arbor under which the Emory will take place, which tomorrow will be decorated with flowers. We find Briony, who introduces us to Ivan the cellist, we’ve arrived early so we can run the piece with him before the actual rehearsal starts. We go through it a few times, get the tempo set, and then it is time for the rehearsal. Madeline bee to see Natasha, we say hi to Simon and Charlotte, meet the bridesmaids and Jerry the officiant, and find our places. Ivan plays the entry music, Natasha looks so happy, Geoff’s mother does her reading, and then it is time for us to sing. It goes perfectly – what a relief! – and then Briony reads one of her poems called “Counting the thunder” and we’re almost all in tears as she chokes up a bit at the end. They Jerry goes over how he’ll do the comments and the vows, and Ivan pays the Queen of Sheba music by Handel for the exit. Everyone seems quite relieved that the rehearsal not so well. Of course there are many background details Briony and Natasha are a bit concerned about, but we are confident all will work out given their great teamwork.
Back to Burnham Market to buy hats! Madeleine and I have our dresses to help with selecting a hat. We go to Pensey’s, the amazing hat Place Barney and I visited last trip, where he got his nice wool fedora. Walking into this satire is like walking into a rainbow. Hats of every color land style for ladies, and quite a selection for men as well. The owner is ready for visitors needing hats, and she fusses over each hat selection, bringing out several candidates to help match the shoes or the dress. Madeleine chooses a sweet pink disk, not to big, not too small, and I find a lovely cream and white brimmed hat with matching purse. Barney faithfully holds dresses and shoes and gives words of approval on final selections. We leave with a large hatbox, large enough to hold both hats, and cross back to The Hoste for the rehearsal luncheon.
The large terrace is set for the rehearsal luncheon, three lovely courses, beautiful flowers, and a few speeches. Everyone seems a bit relieved, and we head back to the cottage after Barney has a chance to view their Lord Nelson exhibit, of important dates and some memorabilia. The Hoste was his base of operations for many years, and he was from a nearby town; William Hoste, whose family owned the inn, was a ship boy for Nelson, and one of his favorites, late becoming a renowned sea caption who was the model for Captain Aubrey of the Patrick O’brien novels. Soon after, Camden and Emilie arrived Camden who knows Natasha from Head Royce as well as Wellesley, and Emilie who is a friend from Wellesley. Every one settles in and unpacks, and the girls have a chance to chat. Then it is time to get ready for the welcome drinks party, and we walk back to The Hoste. The cocktail party is packed, all the out of town guests of which the ere are many. We ,eat some of Simon’s relatives, eat some amazing local oysters, and return home for a good rest.