I receive an email from lifelong friend Bruce, This is what he says: “ I caught up with your blog. I had no idea about the teeth, the dentists and the seizures. Is there ever any end to the dimensions of your life? No wonder you need to write. And, remember, with that blog, you are doing it mostly for yourself. If what you write pleases others and attracts fandom, all that is a bonus. But it is not the real thing, which is you yourself.” Is that not profound? But it is not the real thing, which is you yourself. I email back and threaten to begin my blog with his statement and he acquiesces “Yes, quote away.” I did. Yesterday was a very strange day. It began with me being very depressed and Chris, my computer guru emailed: “I am sorry to hear you are down but it is not surprising given the way Dolphin Square have treated you.. Stay strong sister!” But then at 3 pm (or 1500) Dolphin Square treated me very, very well. I made an appointment with the Lettings Manager and decided that I was going to tell her that I know what will happen. I will work my very, very best to get the place perfect but they will nickel and dime (or pence and pence) me out of money so I will just not attempt any of the onerous tasks because I am too tired and all of this is too much with me being on my own with no one to help me. But she was so kind and gracious and helpful and will arrange for a cleaning service for me and everything. It is truly wonderful. Then i accidentally stole her coat, but I took it back before she had to leave. That is the truth.
Just before the meeting with the Letting Manager I ate at the Dolphin Square Bar and Grill Restaurant. There is a new menu and they have the best onion soup now. The day before yesterday I had it for the first time and told the French chef that it was the best onion soup I ever had in my whole life but that it made me mad because it was better than even mine. Yesterday i had the soup again but had an idea, put a little brown sauce in the concoction and sent the chef a note telling him that the brown sauce improved the soup. The chef came out of the kitchen and said that it made him weep, that the brown sauce ruined his wonderful creation. The French waiter told me that in France they party, party, party and then about five in the morning they feast on French onion soup. I said to the chef that when I get married for the fourth time I will throw a really big party and end it all with French onion soup. I will hire him to come and make it. Number 4 is going to have to be really rich to afford all of this but it cannot be bad to think big. I left Victoria, a waitress at the restaurant one of my Tate books with this message: “You are so young. I am so old. You have your whole life ahead of you. I wish you the very, very best. But the best means that have to take risks and chances and sometimes they do not work out. But then something else will. I weep as I write. But I know that you will do this because you already have. You are here, you have left your native land. You are brave. That is what it takes. I have it, you have it. With profound affection, Alexis” She said: “Thank you Alexis” with such respect that it makes me cry as I write. I have got to go and drink water. I am getting so dehydrated with all of this weeping.
CONTINUATION OF YESTERDAY’S GRANDPARENTS STORY
But I think this last incident of the day was one of the most profound. I went to hear carols at the nearby Pimlico library where South Westminster Community Choir was singing. There was this little brat sitting beside me and generally being rotten and misbehaved. So I did what I did around kids that are misbehaving. I smilingly told him to shush and then I invited him to sit on my knee. He eventually did and I bounced him up and down but he manically ran away and began his horribly disruptive behavior all over again. One of the carolers, a woman with a Rudolph nose (don’t feel sorry for her, it was a Christmas decoration). picked him and held him for a few minutes. I thought how sweet of her but it did not help much. Back he was squirming, yelling and running about. I finally said to the mother who was sitting next to me that she needed to take him out. She became more than a little angry at me and called me rude and said that he was only two. I told her that if she could not control him at two what would he be like at twelve. She stalked off, the carols were over. Over the mince pies and juice that followed I spoke with the woman with a Rudolph nose. It ends up she was the grandmother of the little brat. (Oops) She provided factual information. The brat was the youngest child of the daughter. The mother had four children – 20, 18, 11, and this one, 2. “It was a surprise” said the grandmother. But avoidable I suggested. The dad’s vasectomy leaked or something. That was way too much information. But I suggested abortion might have been an option. By this time the grandmother and I are on Lupas Street talking away. “No, we are Catholics.” Then grandmother told me this. Her daughter was going to give up the brat but found out that the child would be living in two foster homes BEFORE being adopted. I was appalled, so was the grandmother and so was the mother. So I do not know if there is a moral to his story or not but it was because of a slipped up vasectomy, the Catholic church’s stupid intrusion on a woman’s body and the horrifyingly awful policies of the so-called care system in the UK. that I was not able to enjoy carols in peace and equanimity. Thanks all!
But this story does sort of have a happy ending. I told grandmother to apologize to her daughter from me and I do think I am going to join South Westminster Community Choir, they meet on Mondays at 6:30 at a church nearby. Well, maybe not so happy for the choir, but to a man or woman they said it does not matter that I cannot sing. They have no idea how bad I really am but I could just do what I did in junior choir – mouth the words. I liked this grandmother, I liked the choir members and I want to know them all better. A happy ending except for the poor choir.
So, and I cry when I write this, you can loose eight grandchildren but in one day gain get a ten year old, a little boy to play with, a little humanity and humility and a place in a choir. Not bad for a girl from Saskatchewan.
By the way, all of this is true. I do have to check with my friend Beth but I am sure that I was forced to just mouth the words in junior choir. I have no real memory of my childhood.
UPDATE OF GRANDPARENT’S STORY
Life then turned upside down. Giuseppe’s father died and so my moments of going and sitting in the reception area and writing when he was there ended because he was gone from Dolphin Square for weeks. Then I got evicted from Dolphin Square and thoughts of the joining the choir therefore disappeared. I actually did not ask Beth if I just mouthed the words. It is irrelevant at this point.
But my rather strange with children continues. Last night I went to the pool at Dolphin Square to float and go to the steam room. A totally darling little boy of 7 was in the ladies locker room with his mother and we struck up a conversation. Right now I cannot remember what we were talking about. Then he and his mother left but he came back and said: “I am back” and then went to the loo. I stood outside the door and we chatted. I told him that I was so impressed with his impeccable manners and he must continue to exercise them because that would hold him in good stead all of his life. His mother reappeared. (Please let the record reflect that I was on the other side of the door, I was not in the loo with him) I congratulated her on her excellent,parenting. I asked if Adam had brothers and sisters. She responded that he was he was an only child. I probably will never see him again, but I will always remember him always. Now I cry.
So many other things happened yesterday but this is enough for today’s blog.Tomorrow you will hear about a fascinating discussion about immigration with a man at Peter Jones (whose son was also called Adam) There is the strange tale of a woman who stole my towels at the gym and how I fought back with strange repercussions. I really funny incident involving a man who was painting at the grocery store. Then last, but not least, a funny conversation with Dr. Sandberg. Today is going to be a boring day with packing and getting ready to leave. But you never know with me, as Colette says: “Did it ever occur to you that you bring out the quirky in people?”