Thursday, 12 August 2010
Let Me Eat Cake........
I'm tired, I feel tired, I look tired, I'm wearing my bags for life.......I need a holiday but instead I'm going somewhere slightly colder and wetter than London. I'm going north to Edinburgh, for work and play, and a chance to claim another husband (......but that's a whole other story). So, in an attempt to gird my loins before a week of what I hope will be fun-filled-festival-frolic's, I've been staying in and watching telly and I've seen the future. It's not good. But, depicted through the eyes of Jo Brand and her able cohorts, Getting On, is brilliant...... and horribly funny; shinning a light on the rubber-gummed chaos that is the spoon-fed world of the geriatric ward. I don't want to go there, who does? Do we start stock-piling the meds now, should the day come when our dignity is forcibly removed by some bloke in a white coat prescribing the drugs, drips and round the clock care that will ensure we can't shuffle off this mortal coil? Or indeed shuffle of to Switzerland, where dispatching the elderly and infirm is beginning to rival Toblerone and the cuckoo clock as tourist attractions.
But, while we are still breathing the ageing process does, inevitably, roll on. As it does for our parents. Having lost several (real and step) I still have a mother. One who has said, since I was a child, 'if I ever end up like that, put a pillow over my head'. And there have been times, since I was a child, when the thought, 'where's that pillow?' has crossed my ungrateful-bad-daughter mind. However, I now think I've found the perfect answer to the minefield that is the day-out-with-mum date. Yes, wisdom is finally catching up with age. Art galleries. I love going to galleries: London, Edinburgh, Switzerland...if they've got a gallery I'm going. Four years at art college not wasted. And so I took her to see the extraordinarily haunting images by Leah Gordon at Riflemaker and then on to The Haunch Of Venison (yes I know ..... it sounds more like we were on an oak-beamed-inglenook pub crawl) where we walked through Joana Vasconcelos' ethereal, fluorescent fairy garden, before bracing ourselves for the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. Galleries by their very definition discourage prolonged conversation and therefore there is less chance of the caustic comments, criticisms and frustrations of a lifetime of misunderstood intentions and unfinished sentences, to bubble to the surface and overflow into an already swelled river of guilt, recrimination and self-doubt.
Having fed our souls it was time to feed our faces. So we went across the road to The Wolseley, a place of calm amidst the endless ebb and flow of mac-packed tourists: it looks beautiful, everyone treats you like something between a long lost friend and Dame Judi Dench and on a good day you might even see Rupert Everett. And they do a delicious tea. If the cinema is my place of comfort and the gallery is my place of worship, then the emporium of fine food is my spiritual home. And my Mum's. We shared moist, mouth-popping, apple & poppy-seed cake, chocolate eclairs and mini-macaroons of the French, rather than Thora Hird, variety, and drank endless cups of Earl Grey, poured from a silver teapot. Bliss. And you can't talk with your mouth full.
Top tip: Cake can solve almost anything, if not a family friend, take a friend out to tea.