Diary 6th February

The last fortnight has been busy again. I have done four days supply teaching – one of which was positive heaven. It was in my daughter’s school and I would like to think that the school was as good then as it appears to be now. The change of head and of uniform seems to have done it a world of good and I had the loveliest possible day. Just one example. I asked my first class, year 7 French, what I should do at the beginning of the day. One little girl piped up: “Well, first you say ‘Good morning’ to us and then we say ‘good morning’ to you and then you set the work and then we do it.” And that is exactly what happened. Delightful.

But, as the agent said, they rarely have need of supply teachers.

The other three days varied in delightfulness – one school indeed was such that it is on my never again list. But even so, I met some lovely new people, so nothing is all bad.

More interesting though have been my evening activities, I think. The Troubadour is a cafe/bar,, which I used to go to when I was very young. It was (and is) a couple of doors down from where my mother used to work in Earls Court and a nice place to go to for ice cream when I was a child and for poetry readings when I was a teenager.

Now to my delight it does a lot of music, but I had forgotten, when I arranged to meet a friend for dinner there last week. I was lucky to get a table with a direct line to the toilets (in themselves well worth seeing) as they had a blues band playing that night. We had great fun, ate some delicious coq au vin and washed it down with some more vin sans coq. Very good indeed. Nostalgic, but comfortable. We weren’t the oldest there, but not the youngest either.

On Saturday night Cinderella – hundreds of them, in fact, went to the Polish Ball at the Hilton, Mayfair. The culmination of many hours of work by the committee and the sub committee (Me) on preparing the programme, we finally arrived exhausted. But the band, as far as I was concerned, made up for everything – we danced to the music of the London Swing and Soul Band, much to my daughter’s disgruntlement, who had been working very hard selling lottery tickets (It was a charity ball, after all). Thsi was the first time that we actually danced at the Polish Ball – so success!.

But there’s always a little fly in the ointment. I had given my credit cards to Marysia to look after, and then promptly forgot about them . She took them to work with her on Monday so I had to go to Liverpool Street to collect them. But every cloud has a silver lining and we decided to use one of them on sharing a portion of fish and chips at the English Restaurant. What a wonderful find in Spitalfields. They even gave us two plates. That was fun.

Then yesterday, another great evening at the Wigmore Hall. Ages ago my son had given me a cd by Max Raabe for a birthday. I said thank you nicely and wondered how I was going to listen to it as our cd player was out of action. So I put it away and unfortunately forgot about it. But last December I was given a little cd player and have been catching up on a lot of musical presents since. But not yet this one. And after yesterday’s fabulous performance I really regret not having listened to him sooner.

A German crooner who sings songs from the 20s and 30s and also composes himself. I don’t speak any German, but his singing and performance was so witty, and his introductions so funny and apt that it really didn’t matter. The Wigmore Hall wasn’t exactly packed, but the people who were there really enjoyed themselves. They managed to persuade Max Raabe and his accompanist Christoph Israel to perform three encores. A great gig!

I really like that sort of music – in fact, Michael Law of the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, and even Daniel Benisty of the London Swing and soul Band are part of a common theme as far as pre war music goes. Look them all up!

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