Friday, 6 September 2013

September's Siftings - Yestertime

Guess what!?

At the third attempt I KNOW where it begins!

I remembered! 

It was in a kitchen in an old terrace house that stands no more, in Rotherhithe, London. (see above)

Today there is just a corrugated iron fence around an empty and dusty lot, but at the time there was a kitchen, chickens in the yard, a recycled wooden work surface where we kept the compost that we boiled up with their feed and a woman called Helen.

The time was about a long, long time ago – she was probably 22 years old, and it would have been the late seventies.

I’m not in that kitchen in any way other than through memories, today I’m sitting near the steps that lead to Montmartre in Paris and I’m tucking into a late brunch of scrambled egg and salad dripping in the BESTEST salad dressing I’ve ever had – and I’ve had some fine, fine salad dressings in my time.

On the table in that kitchen of yestertime were a pile of albums that belonged to Helen and I was - am now too, memorically speaking – flicking through them as one did in the days of vinyl.

You could tell a lot about people that way.

“What’s this like?” I asked, holding up a white album sleeve illustrated with a black and white image of a fairly cool looking man.

“Brilliant,” she replied.

This evening I expect to confirm that opinion once again.

Three and a half hours ago, a full eight or nine hours before the advertised start I wandered over to the stadium to check out how to get there, and back to my car parked next to the canal over the iron swing bridge.

There was a small crowd sitting on the pavement in front of the entrance.

“Hi, are you French” I said, addressing a guy sitting to one side.

“Yes”, he replied looking up.

“Why are people sitting here already?” I asked, somewhat naively.

“Because we are stupid.”

This was the second time a French person had shown a fine touch of humour in my direction within the space of minutes.

Earlier I had turned into what looked like the official car park only to be stopped by the stadium security staff, resplendent in red uniform.

“Are you here for tonight’s concert? He inquired.

“Yes, is this the car park? I replied.

“I’m sorry sir, the event has been cancelled because of security reasons.”

I was shocked, though it would explain why all the surrounding streets were barricaded by police vehicles, I had just driven 600 kilometers, slept in a layby and had a similar toil to get home.

I was well shocked.


“I’m just joking sir”, he smiled, then laughed and directed me to the place over the canal where you can park for free, from where I bought a day ticket and took the metro to Abessses so that I could visit the je t’aime-wall (somewhere here), something I have been wanting to do ever since je t’aimait.

I came up out of the metro and BAM, I was in Paris; there was a guy playing the accordion, a flea market full of surprises and the smell of fresh baked bread, coffeee and Channel No 5.

Have a little faith, there’s magic in the night.

He’ll sing that later I suspect…..

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