Anyway, get on kit, grab map and a rude message to be read out from last night's guests, and bomb down the motorway. The wedding is in a castle in deepest, darkest Kent, all log fires, coats of arms and suckling pigs - a real Four Weddings job. I walk up the long pathway to a big old wooden door. It is bolted, so I have to scramble into a flower bed and knock on a leaded light to attract attention. Eventually the door creaks open about an inch. In fact, scrub Four Weddings, enter The Rocky Horror Show. The wizened old retainer thankfully does not say "come up to the lab and see what's on the slab". Instead, somewhat more bizarrely, she smiles. "Ah, you must be the bride, my dear." Now, how she thinks this I do not know - I am wearing a black velvet suit, black stockings and Cruella-cruel heels. I am, in fact, the ultimate anti-bride.
I am led to a room that has a dead bird nailed to a beam, and I think about the groom. There were once three girls who lived in a flat in Edinburgh. The fourth flatmate was "Sherfilth". Now there he is, looking into her eyes and saying his vows with such sincerity that we three girls stare up at the hammer-beam ceiling trying to keep the tears from our mascara. Then, as he is agreeing to have her and hold her, I have a flashback. It is 10 years ago. He and I are in the kitchen at 3am having toast and Marmite, and he says that if he is not married by 30, he will marry me. We shake on it. I nudge Helen, sitting in the pew next to me, and tell her of this (semi-drunken) promise. She too, it seems, was made the same promise, but over a lamb kebab. Vanessa's pact was sealed over a shared Creme Egg in that same Edinburgh kitchen.
It was his 30th birthday two days ago - the cad. When the question "if anyone knows any just impediment ..." is raised, we are ready to stand up - until we remember that we are all married.
He makes his speech: "I love her to bits", "She is the most beautiful woman in the world". These are the self-same lips that used to utter: "hurry up, I need a dump!" every morning. The man known as "Sherfilth" is wearing a silk brocade waistcoat. After years of being SINBAD (Single Income No Bird Absolutely Desperate) he has, as he puts it, come out of the Gobi desert. We decide what he has become: Double Income Lovely Doris and OK.
A happy ending.Reuse content