It was a great great day: I think everyone enjoyed it a lot. What follows is the script of my speech in the garden - I digressed a bit, but only a bit.
" Ladies and Gentlemen - this won't take long - those of you who know me well know that I don't do this.. at least 3 of the others standing to speak this afternoon speak publicly for a living whereas I avoid it like, well, the plague.
I'm just going to say a few thank-yous, which I've written down in case I get seasick here:
-1st, thanks to all our friends and relatives for coming (sorry we couldn't arrange the weather better for you). The further you've come the more impressed I am.
- personal thanks are due to my new father- mother- sister- and brother-in-law, who've unfailingly made me feel welcome to their family right from the outset.
- thanks to Tracey, my "best man" - I've said it before, but she was a tower of strength a few years ago when I needed one, and her devious machinations played a big part in bringing me to this time and place, deny it though she may.
- To Sioux and Dan, who hosted my and Sam's first sudden skirmishes - Sioux, I know, has been a stalwart and loving friend to Sam in her dark days and since, for which my thanks are due.
- I know that, strictly speaking, the best man is supposed to say this but I think the bridesmaids look gorgeous. Well done girls. (I think that's what they call a "scripted ad-lib")
- Top marks too to William for giving his mother away. Don't worry, you'll get her back...
- There's a host of people who've helped out with everything from drain rods to flowers to cars to extension cords to chairs to fridges - too many for me to name but thanks to you all, old friends and new.
- 3 more:
- To illustrate our thoroughly modern and inclusive relationship, can I say a big thank you to a lady, and she's here today, who, as well as being a fine, fine mother to Kate and Heather has been immensely supportive to us, when she really didn't have to be? Ali, please continue to accept my respect and friendship, and Thank You.
- Nearly finally, the man who stepped into the breach when others let us down, who's spent more time here than I have lately, working until dark for not much more than a can of Stella and a smelly bed to get this garden and patio area ready for today, many many thanks to Buster, who said he'd be "staying in the background today, getting slightly pissed" - you do that, 'cos you're a star.
- Finally thanks to the beautiful woman who transformed my life, whose love I breathe every day. May I make you happy for the rest of our lives - Sam.
Can I get a beer now? "