Epithalamium (sort of) and chocolate sticks

Epithalamium (sort of) and chocolate sticks

Writing my last post was triggered by the NHS lantern suggestion. This reminded me of August 2008 when, for the first and only time, on the evening of my son’s wedding, Chinese lanterns were lit and released from the farm. Knowing what we now know, I naturally wouldn’t do it again. Whether or not it’s legal, it wouldn’t feel right.

I wrote a poem for that wedding (but it was for the couple, not specifically the bride, so not really an epithalamium). However, this is such a lovely and unusual word that I’ve borrowed it for the title of the post! The poem was in ‘Juice of the Lemon’ and I’ve popped it in below.

A word that does occur in the poem is ‘matchmakers’. In their human form, they’ve featured in the nuptial process for centuries, and they still exist in some cultures. In their confectionery form however they were invented and named some forty years before my son’s wedding – in 1968. They were packaged in boxes, (with gold sheen and black lettering), made to a slide and shell design, similar to the way in which boxes of matches are constructed. They were tiny, a third of the length of the current chocolate sticks, with about seventy of them placed into each box. They were launched originally as a quality ‘nibble’, intended for sophisticated late 1960s adults and for special occasions, not for everyday.

What has happened in the last few weeks in my home, and in others I know about, is that the normal, the everyday and expected have all gone into a giant melting pot with the treats, the unexpected, the celebratory and the special. The future is no longer mapped out or known with any certainty, but there is pleasure and comfort in family, in friends and in the little things. And that doesn’t just mean chocolate.



No Visitors

This Easter no cars pulled up filled with hot, tired children and pooches, with couples who’d had words about directions, with tales of nose-to-tail M4 jams. This Easter there were no visitors to greet, meet, feed, water, talk to, say farewell to.

There were no visitors.

This Easter no one came to ask for an extra key, more logs, or kindling, matches or firelighters. This Easter no one needed directions, or a restaurant booking, or a taxi. There were no visitors.

This Easter there were no recommendations sought for pubs, beaches, places to walk. This Easter no one asked for the hot tub, or an extra blanket, or BBQ coals or a plaster. There were no visitors.

This Easter the children still hunted for clues, but by themselves. This Easter the only cooking smells were our cooking smells. This Easter the only noise from children was from our children.

This Easter there was still chocolate and over-indulgence; the children feasted stickily. This Easter we were favoured with fine weather and good health.

This Easter there were no visitors.