The view from Lickpenny Lane, Ashover this morning. Riber Castle is visible just above the driver’s side front wheel. I remember it as a regular school and cub-scout trip destination in the 1970s. In those days, the ruins of John Smedley’s former home was home to a rather depressing zoo. The zoo closed at the turn of the millennium. More recently, Riber Castle has been the subject of a long running redevelopment project to convert it into apartments.
As is traditional, I delivered the fourth best speech of the day. Here’s (approximately) what I said.
Marriages, like births, signal new beginnings.
When Emily was born, one of my most vivid memories (apart from being useless in the delivery room) was collecting her and Jane from the hospital, driving them home, and wondering how good at parenting we were going to be. It felt a little overwhelming.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry too much, because despite my many shortcomings as a parent, Emily and I were both fortunate to have Jane in charge.
Today is another new beginning. I hope that Emily and Ben aren’t feeling too overwhelmed by it all!
I’m proud to call Emily my daughter. She has many, many excellent qualities.
One of these is her geekiness. Her love of science fiction, her Tardis themed 21st birthday cake and of all things Buffy for example. Her plays “wot she wrote” about being marooned in space, the perils of social media and her latest play, coming to a theatre near you soon, about the computing pioneer Ada Lovelace.
And even, yes even, Pokemon. (sigh) She shares this “interest” with Ben of course. I trust that this is a good thing? I still remember taking Emily and her sister to watch “Pokemon the Movie” at the cinema some years ago. It’s a morning of my life that I’ll *never* get back.
But I think the quality that stands out for me most is her determination. It was evident at an early age – her catchphrase as a small child was, of course, “My do it!”
This determination stayed with her throughout school, university and continues to serve her well today. Emily is not afraid to challenge the status quo and call things out when they’re wrong or an injustice is being committed. I hope that she continues to do this – it’s an incredible strength.
And what can I say about Ben?
Well, it’s been a genuine privilege to get to know him. Especially over this summer, when he lodged with us for a couple of months – while he was claiming to be a time-travelling gardener at Chatsworth House, no less. I understand that he was able to offer some good advice to the Duke and Duchess, even if the location of our lawnmower remained a permanent mystery to him throughout his stay.
Seriously though, it was good to have you staying with us and both Jane and I know that you and Emily will continue to make a great team together. We’ll both be there to offer our love and support along the way.
Thank you all for coming to take part in this special day.
I’d like to especially thank everyone who has helped to make this day possible and for your individual contributions of time and resources. It’s been great to meet your family and friends, Ben, as well as catching up with ours. It genuinely means a lot to Jane and me to see everyone here.
I have one duty left to perform. If you could all please stand for the toast …
Emily and Ben, I wish you both health and happiness for the future.