Do listen….he had wonderful diction.As did Kathleen Ferrier. Music bringing back memories of times past.
Before Covid, we had planned to go to Mexico, to explore the old silver mining towns. Even with Leo in a wheelchair, we had thought that we could do it….after all, if he could survive the Cresta Run which is the state of the disabled walkways and slopes of our little town, Mexico should be no problem.
Then came Covid and the world shut down- except for those who could spray their bugs willy nilly by paying a fine for travelling without vaccination.
A bug that recognises money is indeed a bug which knows how to discriminate. A bug for our time.
By the time the world opened up again to the hoi polloi Leo’s health had deteriorated to the extent that travel was out of the question and our physical world had shut down. Not just in terms of foreign travel, but even in terms of long shopping trips to the national fish market, the San Jose main markets or the best garden centres. Frustrating.
But we could still travel in the mind…memories abound of crawling through a ditch to see the sunrise at Karnak, the canopic jars which spoke to us in the Luxor museum, the astounding feeling of connection with the neolithic era tablets from Catalhuyek…the fluid beauty of the mosaics in the Bardo museum in Tunis……and the workmens’ caffs in Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt where we had such good food and good company.
So many of our friends have died…but they still live for us in our memories of them….being taken on a hot August afternoon in the Loire valley to be shown how to play boules de fort and to kiss Fanny’s backside…..long lunches under the cherry tree…….counting the votes in a presidential election….I can still hear Madeleine’s voice greeting us as we entered the back door of her house. ‘Pardi, you’ll never guess what Chirac has done now!’
These days, one of us is tethered to an oxygen cylinder and the other has knees which are no longer fit for purpose – a pair of old crocks – but the minds can still travel the world. We might be sitting on the balcony watching the toucans, but in our heads we are like the grocer’s daughter in ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’, bouncing round the room to Lottie Collins singing ‘Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay’ – though without the flashes of garter and naked thigh you will be relieved to hear.
Which brings to mind a vignette from the nineteen fifties, of my mother’s staid mother, high on the Christmas trifle, stacking the crockery and singing
‘Lottie Collins got no drawers
Won’t you kindly lend her yours…’
As she too travelled back in time…to the eighteen nineties and the gaiety of the music halls.