The brain is a wonderful thing. It never stops working from the time you are born until the moment you start to make a speech long pause.
Being here today making this speech is certainly not something I imagined I would ever be doing as part of my great OE ... but it is a real pleasure to be here as Graham’s ‘best woman’. Thank you for asking me Graham!
As Mary hinted at, Graham & I have known each other for about 13 years, firstly as work colleagues, which developed into friendship. If there was one word to describe our relationship, I guess I would just have to say ‘platonic’ — just to be clear! But we have helped and encouraged each other over the years, especially when we needed the courage and support to ‘cut through the red tape’ to come to England. And here we both are, five years on!
So, apart from Graham’s sister Janine, I’m the only other person that has known Graham ‘pre-England’ for a reasonable period of time. SO ... I COULD ‘dish the dirt’, however I’m not going to. For one, it’s all a little too sordid and I’d be much too embarrassed. Secondly, my face would be flushed in the telling, and my red face would clash with my new cerise shoes and that would never do, but lastly my lawyer has advised me not to!
But I would like to tell you of the Graham I came to know all those years ago ... not in any special order.
Music I choir I singing were a big part of Graham’s life. In his youth he was in a Youth Choir, and later he established a choir of teachers named ‘The Youthless Choir’ and I have to say while they had a lot of fun and rose to the dizzing heights of singing in lnvercargill’s grand Civic Theatre, there were many in the choir who strongly objected to the Choirs’ name! I think it would be rather nice if they were here to sing today!
Graham himself worked his way up to being conductor of the Invercargill Primary Schools’ Annual Choir Festivals in which about 24 schools took part. While back at our workplace we all put up with Graham’s grumblings about ‘schools who hadn’t learnt their songs’‘lost the music’ and ‘what WAS he going to wear as conductor?’ as you would guess, the Festivals were always fabulous ‘on the night’.
Graham himself was a singer in the local Operatic Society, with a part in ‘Les Mis’ probably being his ‘career highlight’. Graham will still say that show had more passion and professionalism than the West End in London ... and not just because he was in the show! I for one do have to agree with him having seen both.
Amongst all this were his singing lessons and teaching music at school. Music as I said, was a big part of Graham’s life, both through work and socially. There was always a piano in his house. *** One of Graham’s party tricks was playing the piano in his living room whilst wearing nothing but a pair of socks on his feet. (Why he bothered with the socks I’m not quite sure!) I understand there were several evenings when Graham liked to play the part of the naked concert pianist. Thank goodness it was a piano he had in his lounge and not an organ!
And I’ve lost count of the ‘theme parties’ Graham hosted. The ‘themes’ I’ll leave to your imagination! He certainly enjoyed playing host, even if sometimes he was not
in the house, but out in the garage! No ... not showing off his latest handyman project or tinkering on a car!
Gardening — another passion of Graham’s. His garden in Invercargill was a delight. I still remember his excitement of planting many new rhodos down his drive and we all had to come and duly inspect. Reference to Chelsea Garden Show this week — maybe
Decorating! Again we were often summoned to inspect I give opinion on the latest colour painted in his lounge; the kitchen renovations with cupboards painted to match the new Roman blind. The loaned art works of good friend Owen Gerrard gracing his walls that Graham loved and most others loathed! Then the wrench of selling and packing up his home! However the mixed emotions of that ‘selling I packing’ time all seem to be a world away now, especially when being here in the trendy home he and Richard have made here.
Turn to Graham
Graham you are intelligent, supporting, caring ... sorry I can’t read your writing — what does the rest say’ (leaning towards G)
Over the years you Graham, as one of my friends, have helped teach me the valuable lesson, that friendship is the most important thing next to family and we have supported each other through good times and bad; triumphs and tragedies and scary new beginnings!
You will still have good times and bad, triumphs and sadly, tragedies, but your partnership with Richard today isn’t a scary new beginning. You have each other, and I am delighted that Richard has come into your life for you to ‘grow old with’ as my reading said. I don’t ever imagine that your lives together ahead will ever be ‘beige’, but more like your past gardens and decorating, full of colour!
So, please raise your glasses to ... Graham and Richard!
I won’t be speaking for too long as I feel that I have already spoken for long enough after that poem earlier. However I think that the poem I read earlier does ask a very important question although it doesn’t necessarily answer it.
<o:p> I have known Richard for quite some time- we met when he came to work with me at Blackwell’s and we circled each other wearily for a while, after sometime and me bestowing the nickname of CB on him due to his wearing of quite tight chinos we became friends.
<o:p> I have always valued Richard’s friendship although we are very different we do have a great deal that we share – I don’t like Opera and he does but we both enjoyed Avenue Q – Wicked we are still divided about.
<o:p> Richard will never join the Diplomatic Service and sometimes his frank opinions can make life uncomfortable but I rejoice in the fact that he feels it is okay to voice them (hope you got that pun!).
<o:p> In knowing what love is, I think that both Richard and Graham have enough common ground to harvest the seeds of love they have sown for each other, when that harvest is collected they may disagree about which sort of peeler is best to use but they have enough thoughts and care for each other to let each other choose the one best suited to themselves.
<o:p>Graham I have known for slightly less time, however I can say that he came to lunch the morning after Richard and he met and so I feel that my roast potatoes put the seal on their first meeting.
In closing I would like to wish them both all good luck for the future and a lifetime supply of happiness, understanding, forbearance and love, whatever that is !
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, Neighbours, welcome.
I would like, obviously, to reiterate the thanks that have already been given, and also to give my warmest and most heartfelt thanks both to Barbara, who gave us such a lovely toast, and to whom, as my former English Teacher and dear friend, you should turn for explanation of any grammatical errors and non-sequitors in this brief oration.
Thanks should also go to my, no our Dear, dear friend, Rebecca, who has been the best girlfriend a boy could have, and to her son, Peter, who as ever has proven that impeccable manners are not necessarily the preserve of those over thirty.
I thought long and hard about what I should say to an audience composed almost entirely of retired teacher, current teacher, and who knows, perhaps teachers yet to be. Then it came to me. Perhaps a little test, so, teachers and non-teachers alike, if you would like to have a go, see if you can answer the following questions.
No slackers at the back please, and try to keep up. Just the three questions.
According to the Independent Newspaper, April 26’ 2007Manchester
United Ticket Prices are set to rise next season from £665 to £722, with a
top price of £836.
What is the average percentage price rise of seats.
Hawai’i’s fresh papaya sales fell to an estimated 2.1 million pounds in
February, according to the American National Agricultural Statistics
Service. February’s production also was down 8 percent from one year
Cumulative sales for the first two months of 2007 were down 13 percent from the same period in 2006.
Papaya growers are expected to receive an estimated 41 cents per pound for fresh fruit in February 2007, which was up 8 percent or 3 cents from last month, 5 cents from a year ago.
What is the percentage fall in January 2007?
According to the New York Globe of May 1 4t11 2007, moderate drinking can increase the average persons salary. A study by Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University. “Social drinkers are networking, building relationships and adding contacts to their BlackBerrys that result in bigger paycheques.”
What was the average percentage rise in salary experienced by drinkers over non-drinkers?
Answers in? Well let's see.
Question one, the answer was 14%
Question 2, the answer was, 14%
Question three the answer was. . .14%
14% is also coincidentally the proportion of the British population who don’t like cheese. Given that we have a cheese wedding cake, might I suggest you thank your luck stars you don’t support Manchester United, be grateful that you’re not a Hawiian Papaya farmer, and raise a glass to yourselves, in the sure and certain knowledge that not only are having a good time, but also raising your chanced of a pay increase.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you yourselves. Thank you for coming.