Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday Morning

This morning, lying in bed reading the Sunday papers and listening to the radio, I heard a track that always moves me beyond words. It's Gavin Bryars' "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" and you can read the story of how he came to compose it here.
This was a version I hadn't heard before, with Tom Waits "duetting" with the tramp. Beautiful. I won't describe it, you can hear it for yourself.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The search for the perfect man (Part Two)

After VS exited stage left (well, was pushed off stage left, continuing to try & sneak back on), I decided I had to take an active decision to find someone else for fear of drifting back into something with Mr F-M. So, I joined an online dating site. Of course, all my friends thought I was completely insane - having already met two clearly unsuitable men online, there could only be axe-murderers waiting in line for me, but ever being the optimist...

I trawled through the profiles and made a shortlist, contacted some of them and found myself with a dinner date. Judging him by his profile he was very good-looking, had his own business, didn't live too far from me, and wasn't too recently separated, so not too much baggage. However, he turned out to be the foulest-mouthed, most racist, good-looking businessman I have ever come across. I can only imagine it was my immaculate good manners that prevented me from walking out of the date there & then. That and disbelief at the stuff spouting from his mouth. Things like how women of a certain ethnic minority are absolutely gorgeous to look at, but get anywhere near them and they stink. Lovely. He said he'd love to see me again, and we are both adults aren't we? You see, a born romantic too.

Oh well, back to the short-list.

And next on the list was R. His photo was a rather good shot of him leaning nonchantly against a cottage wall, wearing a white linen shirt, his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He looked gorgeous. Slightly older than I was looking for, and living quite a lot further away from me than was practical, but otherwise the profile was ideal. We progressed rather quickly from emails, via MSN to phonecalls, and he had a gorgeous voice too. We soon slipped into a routine of talking every evening until we could fix up a Saturday lunchtime meet.

It was, I have to say, the best date I've probably ever been on. He was utterly charming. The first thing he said to me when I walked towards him was "Darling, your photos don't do you justice". I was lost. Fifteen years of being told "Yeh, you look fine. Can we just go now" disappeared instantly. We drove to a pretty Cotswold pub for lunch, then went for a walk round the village. The conversation was still flowing and the chemistry was buzzing. And I hadn't planned beyond that. He suggested we drive down to London to take in a show. So we did, with me texting friends to say I was ok & wouldn't be back home quite yet. We saw a play, had a meal in Chinatown, took a cycle rickshaw back to his car (all the way to Marble Arch), and only then did he kiss me. So, we got in his car and he drove me back to my house, afraid that I was going to expect him to drive the two and a half hour trip back to his own house. Which of course I didn't. And as I was drifting off to sleep he whispered that tomorrow he would wake me up and make love to me all over again, all morning.

We spent the next three months speaking on the phone every night, spending the weekends together either at his or at mine. He charmed my children and my friends, he introduced me to his family who were all lovely, we spent a wonderful, romantic weekend in Florence, he told me life was good again for him because of me.

"So what went wrong?" I hear you ask. One evening he didn't ring. I knew something had happened. The something was his ex-girlfriend of a year before turning up on his doorstep out of the blue, offering to leave her husband for him. I wanted to talk about it straight away but he wouldn't see me for two weeks, by which time he'd made up his mind. Apparently someone had taken photos of them making love in a field some eighteen months before, recently posted them on the internet and sent copies to her husband. Because of this he felt they were bound together in some way. You can't fight that, can you? It all came as a bolt out of the blue for me. Cliched phrase, but the only one to describe it.

He said he wanted to remain friends and maybe I'd be in touch if I felt like it in a few months time. Of course that was a load of old bullshit, and when I did phone him six months later and feeling fine, he was rather terse because (it turned out) she was with him & he felt awkward talking to me in her presence. I could ring him at his office if I wanted. I didn't want. But I suppose it did prove I could fall in love & forget Mr F-M, if only for a while.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Musings on a New Year

There was a time when I loved New Years Eve, probably more than Christmas in many ways. I loved the partying, the feeling that I was casting off the old year and setting off into something new. Don't get me wrong, I was never one to religiously make New Year's Resolutions. Well, apart from the one I made some years ago, that I would never make a New Year's Resolution again, and I have stuck to that without fail.
But New Year always somehow feels different now. I can hear my maternal grandmother saying (as she did to most aired niggles) "It's your age", a comment I always felt indignant about and still would now. Of course I have the usual pos-Christmas good intentions (eat less, drink less, get more excercise) but the old feeling of a new start just isn't there any more. And it's been replaced with a feeling of having to continually face the same old problems as I did the year before.
This probably sounds rather depressive, but it isn't at all. The "same old problems" are there because they're part of an ongoing process, things that I know aren't just going to be resolved overnight because the date has a new number in it. And the big advantage to viewing it all as an ongoing process is being able to relax and enjoy the unexpected events and people that appear in my life. Just think of all the wonderful bonuses I would have missed if I'd had my head down, intent on following a set route!
So, I hadn't made plans for New Year's Eve at all. Most of my friends were away, some of them on the other side of the world. One of my cousins was free and we found ourselves invited to friends of mine for a dinner party, where we shared good food, good wine and good company, and I did tarot card readings for everyone.
I woke up very early yesterday to a killer hangover, but still managed to get dinner on the table for the children and some friends. (For the foodies out there - home made gnocchi with creamy radicchio sauce, roast duck with potato stuffing, mashed celeriac & fennel, steamed savoy cabbage, roast potatoes, marsala gravy, followed by Collins Street Bakery World Famous Fruitcake served with a half-bottle of Tokaii - not a bad feat considering the state of my head!) What was most enjoyable was that I was sharing the day with my daughters (most important of all), a couple of well-established friends and a couple of friends who I've got to know really over the last year. The two couples hadn't met before but got on really well (I just love it when that happens, introducing friends to each other and seeing them hit it off), so we had a slow relaxing meal with easy-flowing conversation. It sort of represented what I like about my life - my children, my friends and the new people who are becoming part of my life. What better start to a new year?
I am, as ever, aware that I do miss having a partner, but life is pretty good anyway.