It’s not quite what you expect – no eerie intro, no Joan Collins bouffant hairdo, no suspended terror…just a quite serious proposal of marriage from a large shouldered, vaguely attractive Viking propping up the bar in the French House (fine Soho institution).
It’s late. I’m half cut. But boy have I had a nice birthday. An excellent night with the Hub: the French…Bocca di Lupo…Ronnie Scott’s bar (apart from the rather nice gin and the spectacular dreads of the cloakroom chap, very forgettable)..back to the French and voila….
A marriage proposal.
He was a bit squiffed but terribly earnest…and quite unsure of himself. He has a beautiful girlfriend. Lovely cheekbones. But she has a temper, apparently. I told him to find someone who will be kind to him when he’s old and who will make him laugh. I think it struck a chord. Anyhow, he did offer marriage. I had to turn him down. He’ll get over it.
I’m married. But I’ve never been proposed to.
I got fed up of waiting and, pissed under a grand piano in 1996 in a Worcestershire farmhouse, I popped the question. We sort of agreed and passed out.
So, it came as quite a nice 45th birthday treat, to have my first proposal. And he’s only 32. Can you even start to imagine someone being even vaguely within radar who was born when you were in Lr IV?
I love stories of love and proposals…tell me how yours happened?
I’m in my favourite day. Christmas cake day. And thanks to Nigella, it’s a pain free totally guaranteed to work day. The only thing that can go wrong is that I’ll have one too many glugs of the brandy bottle and forget to pick up the Boy from school. Will that get me onto the front page of the Sun? Or do I have to up the anti and shove some of the powdery stuff up my nostrils for that to happen? I think if I had a dead mother, a dead sister, a dead husband and a shit of a second one I’d’ve resorted to hard drugs too. Occasionally. I’ve only got one out of the four so I’ve stopped at alcohol.
If you fancy it, it’s the Easy-Action Christmas Cake, Nigella Lawson’s ‘Feast’, p92.
And it is easy and it is lovely.
You know what it’s like. When your head draws a blank.
I’ve been kidding myself that I’ve been much too busy to write anything. Too busy clearing leaves from an otherwise trouble free garden. Too busy shovelling horse dung into borders. Too busy tying Quality Street (only the ones they like) onto the brass hoops on the advent ‘calendar’. Too busy Spurfing (that’s Spotify surfing. Nostalgia tripping. Time wasting).
I’ve just been lazy. If I don’t read poetry than I can’t write it and I haven’t read anything for weeks. Not a single verse. Until yesterday. So thanks to Elaine Feinstein and the solidly reliable Elizabeth Bishop for kicking my backside….(And thanks, Spotify for Everything But the Girl. It’s been a long time…)
feint smudged pencil ticks
in the margins
purposeful to the tick tail end.
Glasses slipped, apron flour bleached
and tied where that scoop of flesh met hip.
Gathering raisins, sultanas, almonds, hard crusted peel
lemons, oranges and
too old, oil-skinned Bramleys.
And suet, curded on the chopping board
severed from shining kidney clots, neat in a hand.
And sliding jars to find last year’s spice and
the half grated nutmeg
and the dark muscovado set hard in its bag.
I open her book.
And her pencil marks bring that momentary heave,
that rounded heavy gap.
I make my ticks next to hers.