Chris: Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please, for the best menıs speech!

[get some Œplantsı - Sue, Ange, Beth, Stumps and Sarah - to applaud and whoop it up a bit at this point?!]

Si: Many years ago, from the frozen lands of the North, with fierce determination and big axe-y things the ferocious menfolk of Scandinavia arrived upon these shores.

Chris: They had a good look around, they had a bit of a pillage, and they carried the finest and most delicate of our English womenfolk off with them.

: Shocking.

Chris: But of course we are all friends now...

: The world is a different place...

Chris: And now itıs the fearsome Scandinavian women coming over and pillaging off with the flower of English manhood.

...Towe and Graham - Mr and Mrs Hollows! - we know that youıre wondering whether this speech is going to be a glittering triumph of wit and sophistication...

Chris: ...or a load of old rubbish.

: ...and hereıs your answer. [Enter Jim with G&Tıs bin] This is Graham and Toweıs actual dustbin...

Chris: Now they say that you can tell a lot about people from the things they throw away...

: ...So letıs see what we can deduce from the stuff thatıs in there...

 [Jim pulls out an estimate from the builder for an extension and new kitchen... ]

Chris: Item 1 is an estimate from the builder for an extension and new kitchen...

[Jim pulls out a Bank Managers Letter...]

: And item 2 - a letter from the bank manager...

 [Jim pulls out a pair of spotless marigold gloves]

Chris: Item 3. One pair of marigold washing-up gloves.

: Ah, you see Grahamıs cleanliness and houseproud tendencies are, of course, legendary. For most single young men, ironing is a job done on a strictly need-to-wear basis and the toilet is a self-cleaning device. So imagine my amazement when I first visited Graham in his completely atypical bachelor pad. You could see the carpet for a start. And to this day he remains the only male that I have ever seen wearing washing up gloves. Or even washing up for that matter...

Chris: Now of course things are, well, no different at all. Ever since the cleaner failed to come up to scratch and was summarily dismissed, the couple has stuck to their own rigourous, domestic timetable...

: Whilst Wednesday nights are now reserved for the weekly salsa lesson, Thursday night at Graham and Toweıs is cleaning night, where the twin disciplines of dance and hygiene collide beautifully as bride a groom practise their new skills with a little synchronised vacuuming...

Chris: Put on the stereo and with a bit of rock music everything is fine...

: can dance...

Chris: can jive...

: ...having the time of your life

Chris (singing): Š see that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dusting queen.

 [Jim pulls out a wad of GAP receipts...]

: Item no. 4. A wad of receipts for clothing bought at a GAP store...

[Jim pulls out a Bank Managers Letter...]

Chris: And item 5 - a letter from the bank manager...

 [Jim pulls out a Dictionary]

: Item 6. An English dictionary.

Chris: The fact that the dictionary is in the bin, is of course evidence that Graham has now completely mastered the Swedish tongue and no longer needs the English one. Regular visitors to Graham and Toweıs home in Croft Close will have observed that around the kitchen the revision post-it notes have been in evidence for some time to reinforce the key pieces of vocabulary.

: So now your starter for 10. No conferring. Graham ­ what is the Swedish for ³fridge?² [graham answers]

Chris: ³Toaster?² [and again]

: And finally, for that bonus point, ³My motherıs comfy sofa is now resting in the garage²

 [Jim pulls out a ginger cat]

Chris: Item 7 - one ginger cat. Deceased.

 [Jim pulls out two Driving Licences]

Si: Item number 8 - two driving licences.

Chris: Ah. Graham & Toweıs driving licences, which I believe they mislaid some time ago. It is of course imperative ­ particularly when going abroad - to take your driving licences should you intend to hire a car.

: Because if you donıt, then they have to be faxed through to your destination. Which means that a friend has to go round to your house and try to find them.

Chris: Which is more difficult than you expect because said driving licences are somewhere in a locked cabinet.

: A locked cabinet which doesnıt have its own key ­ but hey, donıt worry, because Graham says the window key sort of fits and if you kind of angle it and wiggle it a bit, then voila! ³Open Sesame!²

Chris: But then when such clear and comprehensive instructions fail, and you still you canıt open it, you go and get a few chisels and hammers and jemmy crowbar thingies and start to bash the living daylights out of the cabinet in a last desperate attempt to get it open...

: Which is, of course, when the new cleaner walks in.

Chris: Which can all be a bit embarrassing and difficult to explain.

: Not that Chris is bitter or anything.

Chris: Perish the thought. But this time please make sure you take these with you ... [Chris hands them their driving licences]

 [Jim pulls out a bottle of peroxide and a bottle of Grecian 2000]

: Items nine and ten - A bottle of peroxide, empty...

Chris: ...and one bottle of Grecian 2000 ­ unopened.

 [Jim pulls out an Alarm Clock]

: Item 11. One rather dejected-looking alarm clock

Chris: Graham and Toweıs alarm clock has long since realised that its cause was hopeless and has now stopped caring altogether. Because, in that part of the universe known as Croft Close, the whole space-time continuum has been stretched past even Einsteinıs expectations. Generally it stretches in one direction ­ outwards. As the builders move in to extend Grahamıs former-bachelor pad into a tardis fit for a royal couple, here are some new definitions on the subject of time from that recently-discarded dictionary.

: ³Mor-ning². Abstract Noun. A dark and sinister time of the weekend that exists in concept only.

Chris: ³Break-fast². A sumptuous meal usually eaten anything up to 2 hours after your friends have eaten lunch

: ³Pung-tyoo-al-itee². Obsolete. Origin and meaning now lost in history, but generally thought to mean being about an hour late.

 [Jim pulls out a an empty bottle of Verve Clicquot...]

Chris: Item 12 - An empty bottle of a favourite and rather exclusive tipple...

[Jim pulls out a Bank Managers Letter...]

: And - item 13 - a letter from the bank manager...

[Jim pulls out a mentoring handbook]

: item 14 - One Oxfordshire Education Authority Mentorıs Handbook with several pages missing.

Chris: Of course, no wedding would be complete without a description of how the happy couple first met.

: And in Graham and Toweıs case itıs the age-old story isnıt it - your classic boy-meets-girl...

Chris: ...boy-employs-girl...

: ...boy-mentors-girl...

Chris: ...boy-moves-girl-in ...

: ...boy-finally-gets-around-to-proposing...

Chris: ...boy-and-girl-live-happily-ever-after story.

: ...Of course, Chris and I suspect that Graham most probably broke most of the rules in the mentoring book...

Chris: ...but since the relevant pages appear to have been torn out, we arenıt able to check them.

[Jim pulls out a stained Sky tv guide]

Chris: Item 15 is a rather curry-stained Sky TV Guide...

: One of the two great loves of Grahamıs bachelor-hood was sport, and in particular football. No game could go unwatched, and when Sky started to screen the footy live, Graham wasted no time in getting his dish installed.

Chris: And the game of two halves was oft-punctuated with a large helping of his other great love, the cuisine of the Raj.

Yes, we all knew where Grahamıs priorities lay. When he lost his mobile phone in the street it was returned immediately, as the finder checked the numbers in the speed dialling menu and deduced that it was Grahamıs straight away. The second number was John Hampden School and the first was Thame Tandoori.

Chris: But thereıs a new number at the top of the list now - Toweıs. And this newly-installed dish soon put a stop to these extravagant and dissolute activities. Money was only funny in a rich manıs world, and there was an extension and new kitchen to pay for, not to mention the Harley Street dentist, Bobby Browns and little weekend treats. So, the best of those Sky TV channels were cancelled.

And so Graham soon also realised that it was either Towe or the takeaways. The culinary delights of the East or the snowy passions of a Scandinavian lovely.
An ultimatum was given, a coin was decisively tossed, and it was bye bye baltis and bhunas.

Chris: But, jammy to the last, Graham fell on his feet again. Out with the samosa and in with the meatball, accompanied by several different kinds of herring, elk, aquavit and, what (I am reliably informed) is called knickerbread. What Towe cannot do with a roll mop and a Ryvita isnıt worth knowing, though you may have to wait up to find out.

[Jim pulls out a Rounders ball]

: Item 16 - One slightly-dented John Hampden school rounders ball...

 [Jim pulls out an improbably-large 4-leafed clover]

Chris: Item 17 - One improbably-large four-leafed clover.

: As alluded to earlier, Graham has a long-held reputation for being extremely jammy; enjoying huge slices of luck and accepting his thoroughly undeserved good fortune with public displays of great smugness. Every sweepstake seemed to go his way, the most fanciful of bets would scoop him the jackpot, and he had the uncanny knack of always netting the biggest fish in an angling contest.

Chris: In fact, we could say that his luckiest catch of all has been the lovely Towe...

: ...but weıre not that smarmy.

Chris: Seeing the two of them together though, what we have realised is how much they complement and love each other. Graham has finally found someone to make up both their minds, and Towe has someone who will listen and keep calm for both of them. One has fortitude and the other fizz; together they are G&T.

: And with that we would like you all to raise your glasses one more time as we propose a toast.

Both: To G&T.

Chris: We should also say a big ³Thank you for the Music² to our fantastic quartet ...


...and also there are some cards from well-wishers that we should read... 

[Interspersed with the real ones]

To Graham and Towe,

Wishing you a wonderful day and a marriage as full and fruitful as ours has been.

and thatıs from Derek & Edna, and the kids, Johnny, Louise, Frank, Jean, Sally, Paul, George, Shirley, Benjamin, Jennifer, David and Mary.

Dear Mr and Mrs Hallows

Apply for an unguaranteed loan now at rock-bottom rates of interest!

from Capital-One

Dear Graham & Towe,

Sorry that we canıt be there with you on your big day.
With all our love and good wishes,

Kenneth and Betty.

Dear Graham,

It was good while it lasted.

And thatıs from Jack and all the lads at the Thame Tandoori.


And a text message received just minutes ago:

Hi G&T. Wsıup? Hv a gr8 day. Njoy yr hnymn. Snds cl. G2g EmnLuce