Today’s post is a bit of a cheat, but for those of you who were at our wedding, I think it’s safe to say that sitting on the terrace in the sun shine, all of us together listening to the speeches was one of the high points of the day. And the speeches were good. I remember people roaring with laughter and dabbing their eyes in the space of a sentence.
So for those of you who were there I hope it brings back some happy memories and for those of you who weren’t, I hope it brings you a little bit closer to our big day.
I must admit that I was a bit worried about what stories he would dredge up - shouting 'I'm bored stiff' at the age of two during Dad's first sermon in his new job as vicar of Mexborough, was at the top of my list. But he did really well and it was lovely.
Welcome to you all.
And especially to Tristan’s parents, Chris and Marguerite and his sisters Charlotte and Melanie.
To Alison’s Uncle Stuart and Julie and Alison’s cousins James with Rachel and Sally with Ross.
Welcome to families and friends from as far afield, I understand as Switzerland and Boston (I assume that’s not Lincolnshire).
More especially welcome, Tristan, welcome to your new family. If my dear Janet had been alive and here today she would have joined me unreservedly in this welcome—and worn an enormous broad-brimmed hat.
One of the disadvantages of being single again is the unfair imposition of excessive single-person supplements on hotel bills. I found a temporary solution last March when Alison and I had a wonderful Dad and Daughter holiday in Belgium and France. Congratulations to Tris and Ali for finding a more permanent solution!
My job now is to propose a toast to Bride and Groom. So here is a bit about both.
Alison is a very determined and resourceful lady. She was once invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. She was, of course, given a lot of do’s and don’ts, especially about mobile phones. I got a text message: “Hi Dad. This is Ali from the ladies loo at Buckingham Palace”. Her mother and I once went to see her at Wigan to find that she had been trying (with some success) to assemble an Ikea futon—with a nail file. Ask her yourself about her attempt when she was a zoology student to find some hermit crabs at Cromer. And look at her organisation of today. She would have made an extremely efficient executive officer to General Montgomery prior to the DD landings in Normandy. What a good job she’s done.
Alison has a great sense of adventure. Just like her paternal grandmother. Going round the world she crossed Canada by bus. She rang me. She had found a retired priest—Stanley Cuthand—over 90 years old, a Cree Indian. He remembered as a schoolboy waving goodbye to his teacher, Miss Scholefield. She was leaving Saskatchewan to return to England. Florence Scholefield was my mother, Alison’s grandmother. How on earth she tracked him down I don’t know.
Then Alison is a very courageous person. She has had many hard knocks both health wise and job wise over the last few years. She has met them head on. Now I can thank you all. All those who have picked her up, and dusted her down over that time. And a special thank you to the medical team at the Christie Hospital. I feel an extra toast coming on.
But above all Alison has a great gift for friendship. She has a wide network of friends. But she is not just a friend of many, she is a friend to many in just the same way that her mother was. Her planning today proves it. She was determined to plan a day for as many of her friends and especially their children as possible.
And now Tristan. Don’t look so worried. I live in S. Lincolnshire, a long way away. What a reassurance it has been to me to know that you were here supporting her faithfully and quietly day in and day out. Thank you. At the beginning Alison told me that Tris wondered what he should call me. I said “He can call me ‘Sir’. I don’t know if this wasn’t passed on or was just ignored. We’ve settled for ‘David’.
And her sister Catherine - Catherine, thank you for helping to look after Alison. And doesn’t she look stunning as her chief bridesmaid today.
In conclusion, I once told Alison that they should elope to Gretna. I’m jolly glad they didn’t. I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.
And a bit of fatherly advice, but I know that her mother would have agreed absolutely with what I shall say. Each day together is a gift. Treasure them. Treasure each other. Remember that good a lasting marriage is more of a marathon than a sprint - a relevant analogy.
With this in mind I ask you all, with our love and best wishes, to drink a toast to the health and happiness of Tristan and Alison.