S: Patrick and Martin July 17th 2010
FC: Middlethorpe Hall July 17th 2010
4: "I take you to be my partner. I promise to love, cherish and be faithful to you always; to honour and comfort you and to stand by you in times of sorrow or joy. You are my closest friend and I will never allow anything to destroy the special feeling that we share for each other".
5: "I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and affection. May it remind us of this special moment and the commitment I have made to you".
6: Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow. The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
7: The Rose Bette Midler Some say love, it is a river That drowns the tender reed. Some say love, it is a razor That leaves your soul to bleed. Some say love, it is a hunger, An endless aching need. I say love, it is a flower, And you it's only seed. | It's the heart, afraid of breaking, That never learns to dance. It's the dream, afraid of waking, That never takes a chance. It's the one who won't be taken, Who cannot seem to give. And the soul, afraid of dyin', That never learns to live. | When the night has been too lonely, And the road has been too long, And you think that love is only For the lucky and the strong, Just remember in the winter Far beneath the bitter snows, Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, In the spring becomes the rose.
25: Patrick and Martin's Celebratory Luncheon
26: Belle Vue, Prague Ann Defusto Kevin Partington Alan Hare Sue Dowsett Andrew Severn Jane Rigg Ian Hirst Sandra Partington Chris Rigg Goe Defusto Arthur's Landing, New York Angela Smith Marc Chapman Mark Baldwin Marian Baldwin Quinton Armitage James Baldwin Val Armitage David Skelly | Kastros, Mykonos Patrick Hibbin Martin Chesman Eve Masters Russell Masters Eileen Chesman Dominic Hibbin Finley Swan Isla Hibbin Melanie Hemblys Becky Hibbin The Orient Express Hilary Jones David Colbeck Jan Symonds Brian Munnoch Jenny Woodward Dave Symonds Janine Sibson Mike Woodward Sheila Munnoch Richard Howe | American Hotel, Amsterdaam Enid Chesman Steve Marsden Cherril Leach Huw Roberts Stewart Chesman Miriam Marsden Ian Brand Hilary Goldsmith John Leech The Perninsula, Hong Kong Alison Rhodes David Morgan-Rees Dawn Hodge Roy Slater Caroline Hobday Ralph Kidner Andrew Hobday Liza Kidner Paul Goode
27: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Demi-Sec Champagne Menetou-Salon Domaine Jean-Jaques Teiller, 2008 Malbec Bodega Ruca Malen, Mendoza, Argentina, 2006 Coteaux du Layton Domaine La Tomaze, 2009 | Speeches - - - Whiped Goat's Cheese pickled beetroot, apple, dandelion leaves, rape seed vinaigrette Roast Goosnargh Duck Breast fondant potato, red cabbage, roasted balsamic carrots Mascarpone Mousse marinated raspberries, lemon tuille 'Ethically-sourced' Coffee & Home-made Fudge
50: Eve's Speech I was both flattered and surprised when Dad asked me to do a short speech today. Flattered that they would think of me and surprised that my Dad would be stupid enough to give me free rein to talk about him in front of his nearest and dearest. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I soon discovered that it’s a pretty tough gig though. After leaving it a little too late (hmmm you can see whose daughter I am already can’t you!) I scoured the internet to discover that there just aren’t many daughter of one of the groom speeches that you can rip off – even in this modern day! More than most I feel very lucky to be here today. Back in April Russ and myself had some problems that we were not sure we would be able to resolve in time for today. We had squatters! When we moved to Hong Kong we offered a genuine invite to any friends and family who wanted to come and visit and we were delighted when people took us up on the offer. That is until guests started outstaying their welcome. This year, after some dubious excuses about a small volcano in Iceland my Dad and Patrick extended their stay for a further 8 days in Hong Kong. The markets surged as people invested in HK bars, gin companies and wine importers while Russell gritted his teeth and worked overtime! It truly is Chinese karma as he waved off his father-in-law and future step father-in-law at the station, punching the air and whooping only to find 3 hours later them back in our flat unpacking! But we had a great time with them and as always they provided great fun and entertainment. Luckily it was resolved with an expensive economy flight rather than the ultimately funnier option of having them rescued by a Naval ship and Patrick even managed an interview with the local paper – always the opportunist!
51: I’m very pleased to be officially becoming part of the family with Patrick. Patrick has been a part of my family now for almost as long as I can remember and he has certainly been a welcome addition. There are plenty of times when I’ve valued Patrick’s advice, both about career and life in general. He’s motivated and successful with a variety of interests ranging from amateur dramatics and the ballet to his care in the community work looking after my dad! I’m sure you’ll all agree that Patrick is great company – a good listener, socialiser and conversationalist with a great sense of humour and a contagious laugh. And it’s good to know that as my Dad gets older and dribblier there is someone else now to foot the bill. And then on to my Dad. Everyone who knows me knows that so much of my personality comes from my Dad – which is no doubt why I think he’s so great. We have the same humour and have had many misadventures trying to navigate London by tube, catch ferries in Greece and trains in London that have reduced us to tears of laughter and bottles of wine! All made ultimately funnier by my Dad’s failure to see that most of his misadventures start with the bottles of wine in the first place! And my Dad too can claim he is something of a life coach – he has certainly guided me and shaped my character, hobbies and interests. He taught me to shop, to drink and to have expensive tastes for which I’m sure Russell is eternally grateful! Above all both my Dad and Patrick are great parents. My Dad has supported me in everything I’ve done, taught me so much and provided so many life experiences. And that’s why not only myself, but Becky and Dominic and Patrick’s grandchildren Finley and Isla are here to wish you both well for the future and to celebrate with you today. And so I’d like to propose a toast from all of us to the groom and groom!
52: Patrick's Speech Thank you Eve. You are your father's daughter! Just one set of best wishes to add which arrived on, what for the writer, is a characteristic plain postcard: ‘When we went through the civil partnership four or five years ago it was utterly without ceremony, no cards, no music, no more (as my father would say) ‘splother’ than getting a driving license. So I wish you both well, but in a slightly northern way, not as it were, formally. All good wishes Alan Bennett’ I’m speaking now because Martin wanted the last word and I thought it best not to break the habit of a lifetime. A quote from that remarkable woman Helen Keller: ‘Choose Life, Only that and always and at whatever risk. To let life leak out, to let it wear away by the mere passage of time, to withhold giving it and spreading it is to choose nothing.’ In our early months together and before we moved in with each other there was our moment of choice when Martin and I paused to consider whether to continue our relationship. We asked ourselves a very serious question. Knowing the distress it would cause a number of people and that there was a real chance of losing everything - our homes and possessions and crucially what we held most dear, our children, our families and our friends – was it worth it? If we were left with nothing and we had just ourselves, would it be enough? It was a real test. But we both said immediately and unequivocally ‘Yes’. And there have been no regrets in those 15 years. Although as Martin has said he is not offering me the best years of his life. A statement confirmed last weekend when we were entertaining and he served four seasons cheese pasta sauce instead of creme fraiche on the strawberries.
53: Ours is a very passionate relationship and we are very different so there are times of tempestuous activity, but with Martin I have found great freedom, strength and growth. Martin is one of the most laid back people I know. Practically supine in fact! So much so I sometimes feel I want to say, as Lady Bracknell did: ‘Rise Sir from this semi-recumbent posture’. But I have learnt to chill out more, relax and enjoy being in the moment. Neither is Martin one of the most organised of individuals. Planning is not in his vocabulary. For example, an hour before going out somewhere special together I might enquire what he has decided to wear and his reply will be: ‘Oh are we going somewhere tonight?’ But I have learnt the joy of spontaneity and surprise. Apart from our children, Martin is the one person in this life who has taught me most about love: about going the extra mile; about truth, forgiveness and reconciliation; about trust and loyalty; about being myself; and above all, about being made to feel very special. When we were first together we both said that there were just a few other special people who would take precedence above us – Eve, Becky and Dominic. We love them dearly and we are incredibly proud of them. We are so grateful that they stayed with us on our journey and for the great support they are to us. We are acutely aware how difficult this has been for them at times and we both really appreciate what they have done to make our relationship much easier. As gay men we count ourselves so fortunate to have experienced the absolute delight of fatherhood and the enjoyment of our children’s company as good friends. The rings Martin and I gave each other today have four sapphires and three diamonds. The sapphires represent loyalty, sincerity, faithfulness – a pledge to be true and serve as a reminder of significant moments in our lives together – this special day being one of them. The three diamonds represent relationships filled with love and abundance in all areas of life and they signify our beautiful children. So please join me in a toast and raise your glasses to Eve, Becky and Dominic.
54: Martin's Speech Hi – It’s really good to see you all! On behalf of my partner and myself I would like to say thank you to a number of people. Firstly, to Paul and Roy for taking the photos of you all for our guest book. Thank you both very much. I hope it didn’t cause you too much stress and you were able to enjoy the drinks reception. Can I just say that the guest book will be going around during lunch. Please can you try and make sure that you sign it before leaving today. And then Jane, who has been a friend to Patrick for more years than either of them would wish to say, and to us as a couple for 15 years. Thank you so much for reading today. I have known of Khalil Gibran since college days . Born in the Lebanon he was a Christian who wrote on a whole range of issues. The words are taken from his views on marriage but hopefully he wouldn’t mind us using them for a civil partnership. He describes being a couple whilst remaining as individuals – each having their own skills and talents, distinct from each other and yet together being a strong union. Patrick and I felt this was so apt for us. We are very different people, as you will no doubt have noticed. One of us is organised and efficient – never putting off till tomorrow what can be done today – remembering people’s birthdays and keeping in touch. And then there’s Patrick! What can I say. When we were growing up homosexuality was illegal! Until a year before we met it was classed as a mental illness. When we first got together – 15 yrs ago – civil partnerships were not legal and only became so in 2005. Next to Eve and Russ. Russ is my favourite son-in-law. In fact – he’s my only son-in-law. He very kindly agreed to take our formal, official photos for the day and we’re sure they will be brilliant. He is a total perfectionist and is totally self taught – at great expense according to Eve. I should let you know that he has recently had his first photo published in Time Out – remember you saw him here first. He is keen to do more of this so I’m sure he’s got his contact details to hand.
55: And Eve. It was nearly 3 years ago that I was asked to do the ‘father of the bride’ speech at hers and Russ wedding. It was a great privilege and thrill and it was wonderful, when planning today, to be able to say to her, ‘mmm Eve We wondered if you would be happy to say a few words’. Not that we weren’t both worried about what she might say – me in particular (which has turned out to be true!). We are very grateful to you both, not just for what you’ve done today but for all the love and support you’ve shown over the years. I also want to thank Patrick. First, for actually turning up today. There have been incidents in our past which, had he remembered them, might have left him inclined to give this a miss. The fact that I’ve slowly upped his medication over the last two weeks may have helped . Secondly for reminding me to turn up. I do rely on him for little things like that. But most of all, for being a great partner, whom I’ve learned to rely on over these past years, whom I’ve loved for all that time and whom I trust for the future. What has helped and sustained us is the love, care and support of each of you who are here today – our families and our friends. Without you, life would have been very difficult. When we considered how we wanted to celebrate our partnership there were a number of possible choices. But we each finally decided that we wanted this to be a public occasion – a time when, like other couples, we could celebrate our relationship with friends and family as witnesses and supporters And it was a way of saying thank you to you all. A way of recognising just how important you all are to us. We are delighted that you have chosen to be with us today. People have come from far and near. Ian and Andrew had sufficient notice to be able to walk – though I bet they haven’t. Lots of people from Huddersfield – our adopted home. My family from Lincolnshire. And those from London and surrounding areas. We are amazed though at how far some of you have come. Andy and Caro from Singapore (via Grantham!). Eve and Russ from Hong Kong. But perhaps the prize, if there was one, would go to Marc and David who have travelled all the way from New Zealand. It is so good to see each and every one of you, no matter how far you have travelled. And so I want to give you the toast – family and friends.
56: The Stags' Night