Monday, 8 July 2013

Chasing The Dream

The subject of domestic violence has been given a lot of attention in the media recently.  We have this issue currently in the cave of Demetrius.  Both of us rush about with weapons of mass destruction.  It's just behind you cries one, oh no it isn't cries the other, oh yes it is cries the one again. 

It is the season for bluebottles and ours are all too active.  They are very stupid creatures, hold the window open and they fly away from it.  Ask them nicely to leave and all they do is buzz.

We live in fear of a person from the council turning up and telling us we will be up before the judge as the local species of bluebottle is rare and protected and we are obliged to make special arrangements to house them once in.  Cheap mince will not do, it will have to be fillet steak.  Then there is the Bluebottle Liberation Front, or is it the Front For the Liberation of Bluebottles, its more extreme rival?

In respect of the Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi matter, it is better not to comment.  All I can say is that I would not like her coming at me with a rolling pin.  The other case is that of Roberto Alagna, the tenor, and Angela Gheorghiu, the soprano.  A whole canon of opera is about the tensions between tenors and sopranos and the media reaction to this latest one is mixed. 

At present the question in my mind is whether Angela might be related to John (do you dress to the Left or Right, Sir?) Bercow, currently appearing as Speaker of the House of Commons in a revised version of the old 1967-1971 ITV series "Never Mind The Quality, Feel The Width".  Both are of Romanian extraction. 

His paternal family moved to London to become classic East End tailors. Perhaps  they needed to get away from all that noisy singing.  When the surge of expected Romanian and other Balkan people arrive next year will he be with Boris Johnson, another with family from the Bosphorus, at Dover Docks handing out the Social Security advice and contact details of letting agents, on commission of course?

Angela is the only one of all these to whom we have been adjacent a couple of times as well as seeing her in performance.  A couple of years ago in the Floral Hall at Covent Garden she took up position close to us with TV and other cameras and an entourage to do a video and photo-call in full stage kit.

In this case it triggered one of those lurches in the memory to the time when the Floral Hall really was floral as part of the Covent Garden market.  Almost in the same spot where Angela was standing flashing her gleaming white gnashers at the cameras was once the preserve of Big Winnie The Teeth who tended her floral exotics for sale.  

Winnie was roughly contemporary with the fictional Eliza Doolittle of "My Fair Lady" based on the G.B. Shaw play "Pygmalion".  A bright and able young lady she had the luck to be able to develop a specialism in the market which meant she dealt with buyers from the top grade shops and was respected for her work.

But like many people of the period before the NHS when her teeth began to go at a young age it affected her health and well being.  So some of the buyers clubbed together to send her to a good dentist to get a set of dentures. 

Their generosity was such that she had a top of the range set.  Those were the days when the difference in quality and origin of the false teeth in the dentures was all too evident and indeed not many at all could afford a full set, even at the lowest price levels.

So when Winnie talked and had begun to smile again people and especially the porters noticed.  Winnie lasted until the Floral Hall closed and moved on for a while to another spot. She made it into her 70's and was given a good funeral.  Unusually, for those days, her teeth went with her and were not numbered among the valuables of her limited estate.

There was no domestic violence for Winnie.  Her husband, one of the hard men amongst the porters who rose to be a Foreman, knew better than to start or continue a row.  He did as he was told.

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