Ahhh, but did you get to eat hot chestnuts at night, while crossing the Thames to St Paul's?
By Dickens, this time of year, it has to be done
Nope, didn't do that, but I did see the Lamb and Flag where Dryden almost got killed in a fight and I was told that I saw Eric Clapton's little secret mews hideaway in London...I say I was told that I was because I can never tell if I'm having my leg pulled or not by the particular individual who told me that this very nondescript little house was Eric Clapton's...do you know if he has a place in London? I'm sure he does somewhere, but let's just say I'm not convinced that I wasn't being told that this particular one was it for the entertainment value of my gullible exciteability over the fact that I was actually seeing it and standing on his doorstep.
Anyway - procrastinating still- but this will be it. I wanted to share with you what was my favorite day of my holiday- Oxford and the Huckleberries:
I know you like Celtic music, as do I. These guys were great- really skilled and energetic. The little guy on the electric fiddle was amazing. If you ever get the chance, you should go to one of their gigs and check them out live.
Lunching with Justin
I arrived late to lunch the next day. Justin was sitting at what I considered to be my regular table. His customary glass of red wine raised halfway to his lips, he nodded at the empty chair and cup of steaming tea across from him. "I took the liberty of ordering your tea- I 'm glad you arrived before it'd gone cold. I was beginning to wonder..." He pushed the sweetner and pitcher of milk across the table to me.
"Busy day at work," I explained as I sat, gratefully warming my hands on the teacup. "I got a new student today...he's.."
"Yes, yes, I'm sure he's very interesting, but I was thinking about our conversation yesterday and there's something I'd like to ask you before I forget."
"Oh, okay." I mentally prepared myself as I sipped my tea.
"I was wondering if you play an instrument, and if you do, which one it might be."
I smiled. "I play the piano." I put the cup down in the saucer and looked him straight in the eyes. "Does that mean I'm gay?"
I watched his face closely, half expecting a frown or some other sign of irritation. Instead he smiled broadly back at me.
"Hmm...let me think about this...female....piano....no, no, you're definitely hetero..."
"Whew, that's a relief...I mean, it's what I've always thought about myself, but if you say it's so, then I know it must be true." He smiled again and I finished my tea.
As we were rising from our chairs to prepare to leave, an imposing dark-haired bearded man approached the table and introduced himself as Nicholas _______. Justin shook his hand annd when the man turned to nod at me, I offered him mine. He smiled charmingly as he told me gently, in heavily accented English, "In my country, men do not grasp the hand of a married woman."
I stood silent, gathering my wits to respond, but before I could speak, Justin interceded explaining, "We're not married. Alas, she can only wish that were so...."
I turned to look at him in utter amazement as he continued, "This is my sister, Redempta....I mean Rebecca."
I shook with silent but barely concealed laughter as the man looked earnestly into my eyes and said , "I could not help but notice that you used sweetner in your tea. You would do well to use honey, pure honey, nothing artificial. It will aid your digestion. Also, every morning a small breakfast of yogurt and handful of almonds- you will notice improvement almost immediately in condition of hair and skin."
Grinning widely and by now inwardly quaking with laughter and unable to speak, I simply nodded. He turned back to Justin who said, "Thanks mate...I've been trying to help her with that for years."
As Nicholas left, I turned back to Justin. He simply looked at me, eyes widely innocent and asked, "What do you think that was about?"
"What, his behavior or yours?" I asked.
"Well, I know what my behavior was about- just a bit of fun," he answered. "But our friend Nicholas, he was quite an imposing and impressive bloke, don't you think? What do you think he does for a living?"
"I don't know..maybe some kind of business man. He appeared fairly prosperous."
"I was ready to say that I thought he might be some sort of an academic...almost but not quite. He just didn't seem quite switched on enough..."he trailed off, clearly musing the puzzle over in his head.
"Speaking of being switched on...and back to my new student...
He's a delightful young man, but very educationally needy. He's from a traveling family and has never been able to attend school. He doesn't know his alphabet or even how to tell time. I simply won't be able to devote the one to one time he will need in order for him to progress," I stopped speaking as I noticed him looking at me skeptically.
I dipped my head as I continued, "I was thinking...someone as literate and articulate as you are, and a teacher to boot could really make a difference to him as a volunteer tutor in my classroom. Is that something you might consider doing one or two mornings a week?"
He snorted. "I can't think of anything I'd find more tedious. And besides, it sounds entirely too charitable...what would be in it for me?"
I smiled, "Well, you'd have three hours at a time and an audience in front of which you could ridicule me mercilessly on a daily basis." I waited hopefully.
Finally he said, "Well, you do know how to tempt a fellow...I'll let you know tomorrow."