On Sunday morning I decided to leave Steve asleep in bed nursing a small hangover, a painful wisdom tooth and the start of a nasty cold as I swung by the Canterbury Players Warehouse to pick up some final costume pieces for our production of 'Tis Pity She's A Whore which goes on this week. Some of the others were there trying to load the van with the set pieces to get them to the theatre. It looked tricky and the drills were coming out to take some of the struts off in order to make everything fit. I felt guilty that I couldn't stay and help but I needed to get back home to shower, change and head to Chilham Village Hall for this little dude's naming ceremony!
Chilham Village Hall is a beautiful C15th timber framed barn located in the Kentish downs. The entire village seems to have come straight from a fairytale, it is simply the most picturesque village I have ever seen. It's also 10 minutes from my front door conveniently enough! We arrived bright and early (and in my case swinging - I was in full 1950's party dress complete with petticoats. I need to start wearing petticoats more often, they are so much fun!) and started the busy process of setting up and decorating the space ready for the 50 or so guests who were due to arrive in the next half an hour.
Leanne, one of Ashley's godmothers is a dab hand in the baking department and arrived bearing this absolute wonder of a cake. She is ridiculously talented! It not only looked fantastic but tasted divine as well.
Meanwhile in the kitchens the grandmothers and grandfathers were busy sorting out the food and drink that everyone had made and bought with them, getting the ovens going at full blast and making the table decorations. This was a true event of love where everyone got stuck into help to make the day wonderful. Whoever bought the ham can come again; it was divine with an amazing glaze with a flavour that went right through! I contributed my Pasteis de Nata, Slutty Brownies and Basil Lemonade, all of which I think went down well!
Once everyone had arrive it was time to get stuck into the proceedings. The godparents all took their places on the stage with everyone staring up at them and solemnly swore to be a good influence on Ashley's life and not to get him into trouble (too often).
A candle was lit for Ashley by his parents and the little boy beamed his way through the entire ceremony. I've only ever been to Christenings, not Naming Ceremonies before and the personal touches in this were beautiful. Steve read a particularly relevant poem about the sleep deprivation parents feel with their little angels and Ashley must be one of the only children in the world to get a patented Truckle poem!
I should explain this a little more - our friend Neil is a bit of a wordsmith and at all parties, birthdays and events he writes and dedicates a poem to the lady or gentleman of the moment. This one was kept particularly clean compared to most (Mrs Truckle made sure of that!).
After a moving video that Sasha had made showcasing photos from the moment she discovered she was pregnant right the way through to the present moment it was time for photo's out in the drizzly weather and then food and drink from the buffet while the children played with the various play stations around the hall.
James and Sasha had even organised a Baby Sensory class to keep the smallest tots (and their parents) amused during the afternoon. I'm still not convinced that the parents weren't having more fun playing with bubbles and what looked suspiciously like light sabers than the children were.
Ashley was one very spoilt little boy with plenty of presents and cards to get stuck into. The Very Hungry Caterpillar always makes an appearance for some reason at baby events. There is an appeal from James and Sasha though - if you gave him a pair of shoes with no card can you let them know so that they can thank you!
The last event of the afternoon was the formal cutting of the cake (Sasha did joke that it was like a second wedding!) 10 seconds after I took this picture Ashley reached down, grabbed the giraffe whole and rammed him in his mouth. If the guest of honour thinks it's time to start eating the cake it would be rude for the rest of us not to follow suit!
Finally, Ashley gave Steve a lasting reminder of the day with his gift. It was a really special day, one Ashley won't remember unfortunately but hopefully will be able to look back on photos and stories of the day to see how many people he has in his life who love and care for him.