That's the answer to the question 'why get married when you're already civilly partnered and you've essentially been married for 27 years?' It's a question of everything being fair and equal at last, of more rights, practically speaking. In an iconoclastic moment, the 'habibi' - which we agreed would be as close to the rather proprietorial title 'husband' as we're going to get - gave his permission for one facial shot on the blog, chosen by him. So I waive the objection that I'm not at my jolliest-looking - I assure you I was extremely jolly throughout - and not wearing my garland, one of two woven out of favourite flowers, peonies and cornflowers, by our delightful Swedish friend Pia (on the right below) and presented by her as a complete surprise during our wedding tea party at the Garden Museum.
This is me on the day, 15 June, speaking about how glad we were to follow so serendipitously in the wake of the people's choice in Ireland ('a sad day for humanity,' according to a Catholic cardinal, a jubilant one for the majority).
I also wanted to draw our friends Claire and Howard, 18 years together, into the picture. Some weeks back, Claire and I were having a deliriously topsy-turvy time at the all-male Pirates of Penzance on its Richmond leg. She asked why we were buying into the marriage thing, said she'd always been dead against it but that a lawyer had suggested that for the sake of the legal aspect, with special regard to their two children, she and H probably should. My 'no big deal' line clinched it and they announced their banns on the same day as we got our certificate. Which meant returning to Camden Town Hall and finding, from our very delightful and warm registrar, that the form-creating might take 45 minutes on top of an extended wait. So she said she'd do most of the paperwork and post the certificate so we could get off to the party. The odious Mr Panz - featured here in the days when I called him Pantz - had promised to behave himself, though he took a chance for a nap during registration
and was generally soothed by one of his family, bridesmaid and youngest goddaughter Mirabel (she, mother Edwina and Panz were the only attendees up in Camden). Here she is admiring five of the seven princess cakes from Bagariet, the superb Swedish Bakery in the West End, which went with the champagne for the party
after which about 15 of us went on to Gypsy - me for the second time, Ma, J and goddaughter Rosie May among the rest for the first. And who could not love it? I'm so glad and proud that Ma, 84, made it up from Banstead for the tea party and the show, which was just her thing (a thousand thanks to Liz, her valiant driver and friend). I reckon Imelda Staunton, who's not missed a show so far, has added stuff to "Rose's Turn". We agreed that the ensemble is uniformly excellent.
Broadway no doubt lit the lights and hit the heights for the big American victory after the Supreme Court decided, rather surprisingly, in favour of same-sex marriages across the States. We feel privileged to have sandwiched our afternoon coincidentally between the Irish and American victories. Best of blogging friends Susan Scheid, a recently retired New York lawyer, celebrated (with the proviso that the law has been way too slow to catch up with the way we live our lives) and provided a link to the document here. Obama has been on a natural crest of a wave recently, too, handling a heckler at the White House's Pride Month party, speaking eloquently about the judgment and leading 'Amazing Grace' to commemorate the Charleston Christians massacred by a would-be White Supremacist.
Another thing I heard which moved me to smile through tears was a group of friends and colleagues of the late Reverend Clementa Pinckney on the BBC World Service, remembering him with laughter and affection as remarkable senator as well as good religious pastor, proving by their very testaments how 'alive' he still is. Oh, and let's not forget Charlotte Church's amazingly good speech at the End Austerity Now demonstration march (which I couldn't attend because we were still basking in Sicilian food, footpaths, sun and sea). There's an awful lot of good in this struggling world, despite the daily chronicles of suicide bombings, persecution of gays in countries less fortunate than ours, Putin's dangerous lies and IS pathology.
29/6 Another reason to be cheerful, even as the Greek state totters. Courtesy of Greenpeace: