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…..family 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)