Left country peace for the Hell that is Edinburgh these days (these years the work is so slow). Every where you try to go the roads are dug up and the traffic is jammed and chaotic because someone thinks a tram ( = ONE ) service would make the city look contemporary, People visit because it has age! New calm me more amused than annoyed.
We were there for the preview of the summer show at the National Gallery “ The discovery of Spain “. Julie had been slightly involved from her museum so had an invite to the meal after she got me added to the invite as hanger on!
A real mix of people from Spanish Ambassador, monied sponsors lenders and gallery folk from round the country to hangers on like me. At the preview I met a few not seen for some years and others never seen before but best of all was a performance of contemporary Flamenco dancing with guitar accompanist. The dancer was stunning raw passion expressed using every muscle in her body with grace, fluidity and precision you would be hard to find in any other activity. All this and beauty too in a costume designed to enhance every movement. Wish I could say that I was as impressed with the audience who obviously not involved enough to know the difference between a momentary pause and an end so desperate were they to clap! My niece visited the biennial of Flamenco in Seville last year and came back ecstatic wondering if we could manage to visit next September (2010).
Before we set off from home I had suggested we try and meet up with some old friends which we rarely seem to come across these days. I need no have worried the fates had intervened and while Julie was enjoying her high powered group on another table, even managing to practically organise and confirm a personal exhibition project for her retirement at the National Library in a couple of years time, no slouch her, I was placed between the two people I had wanted to see! One especially, Jo was very close in the period after I had been abandoned and needed a good close friend. We spent many long nights talking to the early hours in her bedsit in a fabulous decayed jute baron's old mansion house now long demolished. She taught me to drink ouzo and we dreamed dreams together there or on long walks on deserted beaches. As I was getting over the shock of my old life vanishing she was offered her then dream job in another city a considerable distance away, the timing could not have been worse for me just when I thought we could have more than a sisterly relationship she was gone. We had managed to remain closer than I am with others even through our separation and her subsequent marriage.
We did our duty and chatted with those around us including the spanish civil servant from the culture ministry in Madrid who first go the funding request and remembered two months of his student days in Edinburgh pubs one winter! Pay back! Chat with Jo ranged far and wide, now, future and past. Reminiscing on the past and memories recently revisited they were obviously not thought about for years either. Numerous episodes just had an eye widening effect as it dawned that we could so easily have had a completely history. Our lives can so easily turn on saying or not saying something at the right moment.
If we had not both found lasting happiness there would have been some real regret at this near miss but I do sometimes what might have been…
The corporate establishment types were happy in their drab suits, little evidence of exquisite tailoring, some of the hangers on looked somewhat uncomfortable having to wear their cheap suits but I was very comfortable as the only pale suited, Chanel drenched, totally ambiguous creature which I have become. Most of the people who knew me have seen some evolution I my appearance for some years now and I seem to be totally accepted. This part of the experiment will end soon since when julie retires these smarter invites which julie enjoys, will cease.
Sadly the weather today when the Spanish fair by the Gallery was to start is atrocious like a monsoon, streets running with water. No trouble keeping the reservoirs topped up this “summer”. We visited a few other exhibitions in the city then headed home via friends.
Conclusion, if you want to go out pick a large city, nobody will notice!