Sunday, September 16, 2007


As I stood on the steps by the fountain a feeling of utter loneliness washed over me like the Atlantic over Kate Winslett's life raft. It was September. The children had gone off to wherever it is they go off to at this time of year and soon my husband would leave me too. I lit a cigarette as a figure appeared at the French windows with a suitcase.

‘What are you doing out here Rilly’ asked my husband
‘Oh, just imagining I was Keira Knightly
‘Well, you certainly could be her in the right light darling, oh, no, hang on, you just slightly raised your right eyebrow, damn, that’s just too much like acting to be Keira’
‘Are you leaving me then darling? Must you go to London, Must you?
‘Yes darling, I must’
‘Yes, I suppose you must. At least we’ll always have our last night together watching Atonement
'Yes, even if it was spoiled by all those Redcar people talking during the film about how much the film crew improved the sea front when they turned it into Dunkirk'
'Yes, sigh'
‘And to think they said it couldn’t be filmed’
‘Yes, who would have thought Allo Allo would work as a feature film’.
‘I say, isn’t it actually an Ian Mcewan novel darling?’
‘Oh, yes, of course. It’s about time someone did a send up of one of his books. He really does go on doesn't he?’
‘I don’t think it was meant to be a parody darling’
‘You mean all those daft misunderstandings and hammy accents were meant to be serious?’
‘Yes dear’
‘Gosh, well, that explains why the fallen madonna with the big boobies wasn't in it but if that’s how Hollywood treats highbrow literature these days then I really must be careful when I sell the film rights to Strife in the North.'
‘Strife in the what, darling?
‘Oh, nothing darling’
‘well, I must be going’
‘Yes, you must be going, goodbye darling'
'Goodbye darling'

With that he disappeared into the car and the sound of the tyres on the gravel drive faded into the distance. I didn’t know when I would see him again. How much older would I be when next I was with him? One thing I had learnt from Atonement, at least if I kept the same hair cut then no matter how much I had aged at least he'd still know it was me. The night grew cool. I should go in. I thought once more how terrible it was to pretend that something was true when it was all really just made up and went inside.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

miracle on sauchiehall street

I was still in standard class and rather hoping for one of the poor people to do something faintly amusing for the blog when the announcement came that the train was arriving in Glasgow so I rushed back to my husband in proper civilised people’s class. My husband was busy asking the guard where the train company got the doilies they put on the backs of the seats when I found him and we both peered reluctantly out of the window. I glanced down to the reviews on the back of my so called ‘classic’ guidebook to Scotland and compared my recollection of its descriptions to the view outside the window. As soon as I got back these Boswell and Johnson chaps were going to be hearing from my solicitor demanding my £7.99 back, that was for certain. My husband looked at his watch. ‘We’ll have to go straight to the concert darling’, he frowned, ‘Oh don’t be silly’ I said, ‘he’s bound to start late’. My husband looked up towards the sky. ‘Forgive her; she knows not what she says’ he said, to a suitcase. ‘Mere mortal men may be not always on time’ he explained. ‘But Van Morrison doesn't do late’.

The lights dimmed, the music began. The audience it seemed had apparently stayed on from some kind of white revivalist church meeting that preceded it. ‘I wish I was black’, sighed my husband, as that Belfast soul wafted across the auditorium. ‘I wish you were black too darling’, I said, by way of reassuring him and sharing the experience. The band eventually began on a song that seemed to involve spelling a woman's name. The religious fervour finally became overwhelming for some people in the audience. ‘I can walk! I am saved!’ cryed a man, leaping from his seat and throwing down his zimmer frame. ‘I can see!’ hallelujah!’, cried my husband, jumping to his feet and taking out his contacts. I felt a little uneasy but as I didn’t want to draw attention to myself I too leapt up. ‘I can hear!’ I called out, taking the cotton wool out of my ears. ‘It’s a miracle!’

Well, soon after that it came to the part of the evening when my husband and I found ourselves back out in the street, the warm evening air disappointingly providing no stereotypical Scottish weather to write about at all. ‘It was awfully nice of those two burly chaps in tuxedos to show us out by the fire exit’, I said. ‘Isn’t it great to miss the crowds’? My husband looked at me. ‘Yes dear’ he said. ‘And leaving half an hour before the end also helps with that of course’, he sighed. ‘I think I need a drink’, I said and we found an Irish theme pub so the evening wouldn’t be a complete wash out. We both looked sullenly into our guinness as the chap on the stool in the corner with the guitar playing covers launched into an oh so familiar number. ‘Sha la la la la la la’ said my husband by way of accompaniement. I gave him a long hard stare and we walked back to the hotel without speaking

Saturday morning arrived. It was my husband that suggested we took the metro back to the station. ‘The metro?’ I queried, ‘so you mean....?’ my husband looked puzzled. ‘Yes, like the tube’, He clarified. It would be like going home. Now I did believe in miracles. It was a little later when my husband tentatively said to me, ‘darling?’ I looked up at him innocently. ‘Do you think you might let go of the seat now, we really need to get off you know.’ ‘Why need to get off?’ I asked. ‘because we’ve been through the last station twelve times and one more might be unlucky’, he explained. I shook my head. ‘But it's like back home’, I said, clinging to the seat. ‘But darling’, said my husband, ‘you’re not in London!’ I shook my head. ‘Underground train’ I said pointing to carriage around me, ‘London!’. My husband sighed. ‘big muddy old river; London!’ I continued, and, indicating the other passengers, ‘loads of Scottish people; London!’. ‘But darling’, argued my husband, ‘we really do have to get off!’ ‘why get off?!’ I snapped. ‘because Rangers are at home today and you’re wearing your my friend went to Lourdes and all I got was this lousy t-shirt t-shirt dear’, he explained. ‘why get off?!’ I said. ‘Because we need to go back down south to the north darling’ explained my husband. I shook my head. ‘But its grim down south up north!’ I protested. ‘Won’t even a large G&T pursuade you dear?’ asked my husband. I stood up. ‘make that two'. My husband smiled, straightening his new Charles Rennie mackintosh cravat and we set off south for the north.