What is the word for both happy and sad in equal measures? Do remember this is a happy time, it’s my brothers wedding. Some could say sentimental, but thats a bit wet, emotional covers too many factors that were not relevant. Angus the AGA was not there.
Dr Thomas and I flew to where I grew up, a place I still call ‘home’. County Armagh in Northern Ireland to be precise. Known as the Orchard County due to the Bramley apple trees and the apple blossom was out in bloom on our country lane.
My brother and I are as different as “day and night” to quote the words of our late father. Sibling quarrelling has been a great feature in my life. A family farm with two acre of mature gardens in technically the “middle of no-where” is where my formative years occurred, an idyllic, a magical place. Mum cooked meals on ‘Aggie’ the 2 oven oil fired British Racing Green AGA. That was, until the great flood on Boxing Day a few years ago. A pipe burst above the kitchen, before the extended family were to arrive for a party and a new AGA was required. Timothy the AGA Total Control arrived, mum was so happy having a 3 oven to replace her 2 oven, I’ve never seen as many cakes baked in my life. Not to mention the energy savings mum raves about.
You see, my family grew up with Aggie hearing all about us, every family moment, joy and tears happened in-front of Aggie. She loved us by keeping us warm and producing beautiful food. Our world revolved around her.
When I left for University I had no AGA. I felt briefed and had to learn to cook with “temperatures”. The flats I could never really call ‘home’ in London never had an AGA, but when I met Dr Thomas and moved in with him in Peckham (the posh part) in the words of Jamie Oliver “It’s time for an AGA”. Angus the AGA arrived, 60cm wide as our en-suite kitchen could not cope with anymore.
My brother’s wedding day was beautiful, pictures of the happy couple were taken on our lawn. We all missed Dad. I made my brother and the Groom’s party a cooked breakfast in Timothy the [AGA] Total Control and remembered the times Aggie fed us. I made a beautiful breakfast of foods from our locality, including Moyallon Bacon, after all, my brother and I went to Moyallon primary school.
Church for the wedding, a beautiful service, my only complaint was as Best Man I had to stand there for 45 minutes without talking. Dr Thomas had words with me after the rehearsal 2 nights before that I was not to talk. Dr was right on this occasion, imagine if the new Mrs McIntosh had married the wrong Mr McIntosh by mistake? I kept quiet. It was beautiful. A few tears ran down my face.
Larchfield Estate was the destination of the reception. Stunning. I had a team running around that meant I as the Best Man could enjoy my time. I saw so many that I grew up with, family, neighbours and childhood friends. Now was the time to get my own back for the sibling rivalry of 34, nearly 35 years with the Best Man’s speech! 17 minutes I spoke for, what I wrote and said was beautiful, it was the story of us growing up, the story of what happened in-front of Aggie. I also presented the new Mrs M with an AGA Bakers Paddle. I thought it may, perhaps become useful in her married life!
The day after the wedding and we waved my brother and his wife off for their honeymoon. Dr Thomas stayed at home when mum and I did the airport run. We came back to find an AGA picnic in a beautiful AGA picnic hamper for mum and I on the family lawn.
You know, life revolves around an AGA. We came home to Peckham and there he was, my little Angus the AGA ready to cook our dinner as he’s on a timer.
And that word I was struggling for, well it’s a simple 4 letter word. LOVE. And not a commonly used one on cards, but a deep one, for my family, my home.
Next stop China. I’m packing my bags for the flight on Monday as I type.