|Here I am with Eivind at our Nowegian|
Eivind and I had met the previous year in Botswana where he'd been Chief Pilot for Ngami Air, flying tourists and supplies between the many small camps (which are surrounded by water for much of the year) while I was working as a relief manager at Mombo, one of several luxury safari lodges owned by Okavango Wilderness Safaris. My dad had been born and brought up in Botswana and I'd discovered his father's photographic diaries of his amazing years as a young administrator in what was then Bechuanaland between 1916 and 1922. Gerald Nettelton, my grandfather, had gone on to have a long and esteemed career in the Colonial Service, just as my dad did in Lesotho, where he was working as a District Commissioner in the mountainous region of Mokhotlong, when I was born.
|There was so much rain during our wedding|
ceremony we didn't take any outside
pictures until the following day.
My dad, Spencer Nettelton, had been private secretary to Lesotho's first democratically elected PM, Chief Leabua Jonathan, and he'd organised the Independence Celebrations, however several years later he'd taken his young family to Australia and I'd grown up in Adelaide, South Australia.
I was a journalist on Adelaide's The Advertiser when I'd come upon Grandpa's diaries. An unexpectedly lucrative freelance commission on SA Homes Magazine enabled me to travel on holiday, with dad to Botswana, and there I'd met the manager of Okavango Wilderness Safaris, Chris Kruger, who invited me to return some months later to take up the two month relief management job. I met Eivind around a camp fire the day before I was due to return to Adelaide.
|Eivind and me at Bungaree, Clare, SA|
|C 1918 Grandpa on his mule when|
surveying the tsetse fly belt.
(Mules, unlike horses,
don't suffer sleeping sickness.)
|The 'postal service' C1918|
Finally, the Namibian job was a happening thing with a starting date just a couple of weeks hence. Now we needed to get married in a hurry. Eivind was in Canada, renewing his licence so he could fly in Norway (who didn't recognise the Botswana waiver) when the news came through.
Via fax, we decided to get married in a Registry Office after Eivind returned to Norway. Then Eivind's eldest brother, Erling, editor of the Norwegian Defence Force Magazine, told us he could organise for us to be married at Akershus Festning, the beautiful chapel in Oslo Castle where Norwegian Royalty and members of the Defence Forces get married. He could get us a date the following Friday, September 23rd.
|Bronte Manor, the mud brick family home|
we build by hand
(including making the mud bricks)
in the Clare Valley.
Dad and my sister now run it as a B&B.
So that's what happened. In Norway many brides marry in the traditional Bunad, so I was kitted out in a beautiful array of Norwegian finery: my 16-year-old niece, Inger-Lise's Oslo bunad, hand embroidered by her mother, Astri, together with the
traditional Norwegian pewter jewellery. The closest of our Norwegian family were all in attendance (my wonderful sisters-in-law, Britt, Kristin and Astri - for Eivind is the youngest of five and has 94 first cousins) while my mum arrived on a week's notice from Australia, still suffering the horrible side-effects of her breast cancer treatment.
|After ten years of marriage we now had the first of two|
The following year we made it back to Australia where we renewed our vows on November 4th, 1995, in the little church at Bungaree Station just north of Clare in the Clare Valley, South Australia. Mum had given me away at my Norwegian ceremony and now dad 'gave me away' in our Australian vows renewal.
|My brother-in-law, Gudmund, and my lovely sister-in-law|
|My sister-in-law Kristin, and parents-in-law, Elsa and |
So on this day, November 4th, I remember the joys of two fabulous wedding ceremonies, with two wonderful families who have made me feel a true daughter on both sides of the globe. It's a fitting opportunity to pay tribute to a truly kind, interesting and gorgeous husband who has led me on such an exciting ride as we've made our home in 12 countries or cities during nearly twenty years of marriage. And it's a chance to honour my own parents: my mother, Gail, who could see I was in good hands when I married, even if she never saw
|Granny, dad and mum when dad was awarded his|
medal at Buckingham Palace
Hard to believe that year it'll be twenty years. That sounds a long time, yet I feel like I've packed several lifetimes into what I've had. So, thank you, Eivind, for giving me what I really need in marriage: excitement. It hasn't always been smooth sailing, with broken backs, the ups and downs of airline companies folding and corruption in the Pacific throwing another
|My beautiful mother, Gail, with me as a baby|
|Dad last August in Qld|