Sunday, 7 August 2022

The Plaster For Most ills


Tim with Sitges friend 2018

Like most families, mine can be slightly unpredictable when arranging a meet. 
Someone is distracted and is late, someone wants to eat early, someone forgot the time, someone( like me) is invariably early. 
I’ve learned to go with the flow. 
We generally all get together when we need to.
Last night was my brother in laws birthday. We all arranged to meet at our usual table for 8.30 pm so I donned my second best I love Sheffield  T shirt and went out to a gay bar around the corner from La Santa Maria for an early drink beforehand .

Minutes later I was talking to Greta, a rather shopworn and heavily made up German lady in her seventies.
She was sat at the bar reading a Spanish magazine.

Initially I thought she was in drag but as it turned out darlings she was indeed a elderly Austrian former Opera Singer from Barcelona. 
All this information I gleaned moments after she referred to my T shirt 
Sheffield…I sang there in the 1980s, It was a beautiful city as I recall” she sang out 

Now Sheffield, in the 1980s as anyone from the iron city would tell you , wasn’t very pretty at all and after a bit of banter I actually found out that Greta had in fact sang at the Grand Theatre in Leeds and had been a chorus singer on stage for over thirty years, most of it at the Opera houses in Barcelona and Valencia.

I was never disciplined enough to be a good performer “ Greta confided “ Too much good living” 
She tapped her glass and I bought her a beer
“ it’s too hot for anything stronger” she confided and she waved amiably at a group of gay men who were getting up to leave their table all of whom waved back and blew her kisses.
“ The Gays love Opera! “ she explained. 

She chatted about Montserrat Caballé, who she said was always delightful to the “chorus folk” and talked fondly of her funeral which she said was supported by the Spanish Royals indeed.

I found her an absolutely delightful character and would have stayed longer if I hadn’t somewhere to go
When I stood to leave she asked me if I was meeting a young man and I told her I had family to catch up with
“ Ah family” she emoted wistfully, the bangles on her thin arms jangling loudly

“ The Plaster for most ills” 

And she waved me goodbye

I go back home tonight. 
It’s been a lovely 72 hours or so….and Greta was right… is the plaster for most ills in the world 

In the restaurant , The die hards proved that last night when we drank the last drinks of a honest evening
Sharing stories, until then untold, around the safe dinner table 
( written 0022 Monday 8th)


  1. Anonymous10:32 pm

    Truly family is the plaster for all ills. Just found out today I'm going be a Grandma. Feels a bit strange. I don't know how to be a grandma. Glad you had a lovely time with your family.

    1. You will need grey hair tied up at the back in a bun, gold-rimmed spectacles and a chunky beige cardigan. Congratulations!

    2. Congratulations! Being a Nana (in my case) is wonderful. I just wish I lived nearer, but I'm able to top up my cuddle-o-meter fairly regularly! x

    3. I love being 'Mum', but being 'Nan' is the greatest joy I can imagine!
      It's a whole new lease of life, and as we live just two miles apart, and his parents both work full time, in careers with great responsibility, we're playing a big role in raising another child, it's wonderful!
      We're a very small family, but the love is immense! X

  2. Greta sounds like a real card indeed!

  3. Yes they are - I was in a bit of a tizzy the other day when my cousin visited-I mentioned the heating bills to come - He said "Just wear a coat" and also my worry is not being to buy dog food if there is a shortage-"Feed them something else"- I love my family x

  4. Since when was Sheffield an "iron city"? It's this kingdom's "steel city". Sorry to be so nit-picking. Glad to hear you have had a happy break in Sitges.

  5. Can there be such a thing as “ Too much good living”

  6. You've had a very good time in Sitges. Your chance meeting with Greta was a bonus. She's lived life to the utmost, has talent and brings lots of personality to the table. Good fun. I'm sure she enjoyed having a drink with you.

  7. I love meeting characters. It makes me sad to know I will never be one.

  8. She sounds like a character! I'd be happy to listen to anyone who knew Montserrat Caballe.

  9. I loved that story, John! Isn't it odd how we as humans try so hard to blend when it comes to ourselves, and yet it's the folks who are really being themselves that we love? I try to remind myself of this when I'm tempted to quash my weirdness to fit in.

  10. She just may be the only straight woman I ever did see with hair, eyelashes and eyeshadow that big, lol!!!!!

  11. I commented that my son in law was becoming bald, and his 20 year old daughter said Well, he IS AS OLD as mom! From my 20 year old granddaughter to her 80 year old grandmother. Perspective is everything.

  12. What a wonderful meeting. Everyone has a story to tell, but some are so much more interesting.

  13. Barbara Anne4:04 am

    What a wonderful encounter with a wonderful person!
    Safe j journey home!


  14. I think we need both - the excitement and interest of new encounters but also the safety and pleasure of the family.
    Great break!

  15. Maybe meeting you will become one of Greta's stories. She sounds like a great character. Sadly, during Covid, when we all needed the support of family, many were denied it. We need to treasure those we love the most. Hope the journey home is without incident. xx

  16. That lady was so interesting. It is a shame you couldn't meet her again. Characters are drawn to you John or maybe you, to them. :)

  17. Despite the hardships, there IS something charmed about your life. I think YOU'RE the charm.

  18. Anne Brew12:42 pm

    "I met a wonderful man from Leeds while I was in Sitges. It's known as The Iron City."

  19. What a wonderful post today and I am so happy that my computer is working this morning, at lest for a few hours till it shuts down.


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