Archive for November, 2012

Another step backwards

Friday, November 30th, 2012

These retrospective posts won’t go on forever. Well, duh! they couldn’t really, could they? But now I’m taking you back to New York at the end of October, when I was trying to ignore the rising tone of hysteria about Hurricane Sandy.

The thing is – my excuse for this piece of foolishness on my part – is that I know about hurricanes. I lived through days of prep for Hurricane Michelle in Key West in 2001, when I discovered what ‘mandatory evacuation’ really means (the police drove around the streets of Key West shouting that phrase into megaphones, and here’s the translation: ‘don’t call 911: we won’t answer the phone’). I am hurricane-experienced. And Michelle blew right on past Key West in 2001, so all that prep was as naught. (Throwing the pool furniture into the swimming pool was the most fun. Getting it out again? Not so much.)

So anyway, I ‘knew’ not to believe the 24/7 alerts in New York. Oh please! I was heard to say: hurricanes don’t hit New York! And I kept right on saying that, right up to the last Sunday morning when we realised that the entire subway and bus systems, and oh dearie me also Amtrack, were all closing down that very afternoon, a full day before we were due to travel down to Washington DC by train.


So Bruce made a mercy dash to Penn Station and changed our tickets to the very last train out of New York on Sunday night, and we regretfully left a wonderful restaurant in the middle of a delicious dinner to be driven to Penn Station.

I can’t believe that anyone who reads my blog hasn’t seen ‘Casablanca’. (You all have, haven’t you? Maybe not as often as I have, but still…) So you’ll remember that scene when Humphrey Bogart is waiting to catch the last train out of Paris – waiting for Ingrid Bergman, who never arrives?

That’s exactly what Penn Station looked like!

Lovers’ Knot

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

I’m going backwards, remember? (Do try to keep up …)

My last post was about my pilgrimage to Rosa’s Cantina in El Paso at the beginning of November, but I still have quite a few earlier backwards catching-up to do. So here goes.

The wedding, which was our whole reason for being in El Paso, was a joy. I love and admire both Ashley and Glenn, and I’m delighted at their good fortune in finding each other: it just shows what can happen in the One Star State.

I’m told (by Glenn, so it must be true) that Ashley asked for only two specific details of the celebrations. She wanted a pre-wedding party at her mother’s place, so that everyone from both sides could meet before the ceremony, in the house where she grew up. Oh – and she asked for bubbles at the wedding breakfast.

I don’t have any photos of the pre-wedding party so you’ll have to rely on the simple evidence of my words: it was an outstanding and entirely memorable success. And for the wedding bubbles I offer pictorial evidence of the pleasure and sheer fun of it.

Why aren’t there always bubbles to blow at weddings?

So here are the bubbles:

And again:

And this was all happening against the joyous background of a great mariachi band: no photos but here’s a clip of what I think is the Real Thing in mariachi music:

So you won’t be surprised to see that I got up and danced!

Here are Ashley and Glenn:

And here’s a lovely wedding poem to round it all off.

LOVERS’ KNOT, by Rachael Boast

From this day forwards
we’ll push the boat out, let it body us,
take us to a place as much mine as yours,
past the double oxbow
where the blossoms fall, and together
we’ll learn the ropes: how to pull you in,

how to let you go; let you be as you are,
and break the wave of my known world.
In a covenant of above and below,
may we be confluent with each changing tide;
our partnership both the anchor and the flow
for all the days of our lives.

Out in the west Texas town …

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting recently: we’ve been away. Before that I had carpal tunnel syndrome and couldn’t key stuff in very much. But I’m back home now and I have lots to talk about: perversely, I’m going to go backwards and post about the last thing first, which was El Paso in west Texas.

I have always loved story songs, and for that matter story poems too. I remember singing ‘The Golden Vanity’ at school; I also remember my mother reciting the whole of ‘The Lady of Shalott’ (with gestures) which she had learned at school. Both tragic, as story poems and songs so often are – or at any rate, the ones I have loved so often seem to be.

So it should be no surprise to anyone, least of all to me, that I have always had a very soft spot for Marty Robbins’ song, ‘El Paso’. I know all the words and sing them with enthusiasm, always taking great pleasure in the verse that goes: Out of the back door of Rosa’s I ran/ Out where the horses were tied/ I caught a good one/It looked like it could run …/ (Which must be a strong candidate for an unusual rhyming competition, I’d think.)

But if you don’t know the song then you’ll not know that Rosa’s Cantina is the focus of the tragedy that the song records – and recently I also discovered that Rosa’s Cantina is a real place! And it’s in El Paso! And Marty Robbins wrote the song about that very place! So when I knew we were going to El Paso (for a family wedding, this last weekend) I also knew that nothing could keep me from visiting it. And now that I have, I recommend it unreservedly.

We went there straight after the formality of the wedding which accounts for the clothes that Bruce and I are wearing in this photo: Cheryl, who came with us, probably looks this delightfully smart and pulled-together all the time. And I can assure you: the regular customers were deeply impressed. It didn’t stop ‘em from rolling up to our side of the bar to offer a range of greetings, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of those greetings. Best of all, the juke box plays ‘El Paso’ on a five-song repeat, and after one of my new best friends had fiddled with it a bit it played ‘El Paso’ non-stop, no matter what other songs had been entered into its memory. One of the less effusive customers grew maddened by the song and left, or perhaps he just passed out and crumpled to the floor, I can’t be sure. It was dark in there.

We had a ball, heard some fine stories, and left in good order: not much more can be asked or expected of any bar.

So here are we, outside the pilgrimage site.

And here is Marty Robbins singing the song. My mum would have sung it with more gestures, but you can’t have everything.