Mind­ing the gaps of both time and space

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

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.

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