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Patsy's groom is the one wearing white

AND so the big day, that Patsy thought would never happen, finally arrived. I rang her that morning to wish her all the best, hoping her nerves had settled and that she had stopped crying.

"I'm fine," she promised. "Jose, however, is in bits."

She wasn't exaggerating. When we arrived at the hotel, we met Jose padding up and down the foyer like a trapped lion. His normal sun-kissed Spanish tan had deserted him and he looked like a corpse. In fact, he looked so bad his sister whipped out her foundation and gave him a quick make-over.

"I so neervous, my leg it shakes. It shakes so hard it hurting me," he declared.

"My leg would be shaking too at the thought of marrying Patsy," I joked with him. He didn't laugh. I thought he was going to be sick.

We bundled him into the room where the civil ceremony was to be held and placed him on his chair. After a delay of 15 minutes, Patsy arrived resplendent in a champagne-coloured Roman toga. She was the cat who was about to get the cream. Jose, on the other hand, looked like he was about to fall off his chair.

A couple of us were convinced he was about to do a runner. Instead, when Patsy reached him, he clutched her hand as if he would never let it go.

Patsy's sister-in-law sang Fields of Gold and soon we were all crying -- none louder than the Spanish rellies, who bawled like babies.

The registrar got down to the details.

"Jose, do you Jose take Patsy as your lawful, wedded wife?" Jose swallowed hard as beads of sweat ran down his pale face. He struggled to get his tongue around the unfamiliar English. Patsy gave him a nudge with her elbow and mouthed the 'I do' at him.

"I . . . I . . . I do. I do," he spluttered before adding, "I take you Patsy as my . . . my . . . my . . . 'awful wedded wife."

The congregation burst out laughing.

When the registrar eventually declared them man and wife, Jose slumped forward into Patsy's arms and she had to practically carry him down the aisle.

After his dinner and a couple of brandies his colour came back and he made a lovely speech. Patsy, too, said a few words and signed herself off as Senora Molina.

Maggie, Josie and I raised our glasses and wished the Senor the best of luck. He's really going to need it . . .