My best friend is getting married, to a sailor no less. All the nice girls love a sailor and you, my bezzie, are certainly a nice girl, a freaking great woman in fact.
We met over 21 years ago, in freshers week at Leeds Uni. You mentioned you had just been in Brazil and I had recently returned from Africa - thinking ourselves worldly-wise we clicked over foreign lands and cows intestines. We smoked fags outside our long science practicals, ate chips in the refectory and chose Mars bars for breakfast. We were inseparable, me the Hippy Chick and you the Samba Queen. We danced the night away in 'Up yer Ronson', snogged dodgy fellow students and waited for dawn, eating cold pizza. We did get a degree, a pretty good one too, leaving behind the revolting shared house with its peeling kitchen surface, mouldy peach bathroom and carbon monoxide emitting gas fires.
I joined you in Brazil one summer. We rode with the cowboys all day, raced down the mall - me on Bakhana and you on Bonito. We rode one handed, smoking Lucky Strikes in the other - avoiding the armadillo holes and the rattlesnakes. And we giggled about your rat in your bedroom, the toads on the walls and the unidentifiable, crusty insect that stayed on the shower curtain for the whole 3 months.
I came to see you in Holland. A crazy glass-smashing fraternity experience. I think I puked that weekend.
I visited you in Switzerland, three countries in one day and trotti biking down the mountains. You came to see me on the organic farm where we made risotto on top of the wood burner polishing off a fair few bottles of red. You are the reason I live in Sussex, Gardeners Cottage always a welcoming place after the smog of Brixton.
And most recently I joined you for the best riding of my life - in Kenya, amongst the giraffes and the elephants. Gin and tonics at sunset after the fast canter across the savannah, huddling under a maasai blanket with my bezzie - it doesn't get much better than that.
I can't imagine a nicer person for you than your sailor - you deserve him so very much. I feel privileged to be following you down the aisle this summer and celebrating the next part of your journey.