Minding the gaps of both time and space
MR F and I enjoyed a trip to The National Theatre for our wedding anniversary – a production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Though it sounds like a Carry On film, it was actually a play based on a real blues singer with definitely no place for any Kenneth Williams innuendo.
It was a poignant study – without being ‘worthy’ – of the frustrations of black people in a white world in the 1920s.
Afterwards we enjoyed a drink overlooking the Thames, while scooping guacamole, sour cream and salsa on to large tortilla chips.
We thought it funny how tastes have changed.
When we first met it would have been a pint of bitter and a packet of crisps at The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping.
A couple of days later, still in nostalgic mood, I packed for York to meet three female former college mates, while Mr F gleefully geared up for a few day’s peace.
We celebrated our reunion at the renowned Betty’s tearooms where our waiter Henry, a theology student at York University, waxed lyrical over every cucumber slice, pumpkin seed and scone he presented to us, while we tried to remember how to use a cup and saucer, never mind a tea strainer.
Henry pandered to all our disparate needs, from veggie sandwiches to no-chocolate cakes, and never winced once – at least to our faces.
Back at Kings Cross, I was weary after walking miles with a case and a couple of bags, as the Met line was closed between Aldgate and Baker Street.
When a train arrived I was desperate for a seat and, as only two people were stepping off, I decided to slip into a gap on the left of a man before his feet finally touched the platform. Bad move.
Roaring a sarcastic ‘THANK YOU’ the man shoved me hard on my shoulder so that, because I was weighed down by luggage, I started to fall backwards and was in imminent danger of not ‘minding the gap’.
The woman behind me acted quickly. She put her hand hard on my back to support me and pushed me back on the train, where she confirmed I had been deliberately pushed. I hope she reads this, as I really can’t thank her enough.
I’d also like to leave a message for the man who assaulted me … but this is a family newspaper.