I was on my way to meet Terje, Ingrid and Marta and enjoyed a late lunch in a small, charming Italian restaurant near Royal Geographical Society. The meeting with Dervla Murphy was still what filled my mind.
The door to the restaurant opened and in walked two elderly ladies. Both with walking sticks, the first one came in and headed for a corner table close to mine. The other bent almost double, could hardly walk. From the door there was a tiny little step up to the main floor, and the lady was unable to climb it. Trying a couple of times without luck, she looked up at me with a smile, blinking her left eye as she reached out the hand without the stick, calling for the young Italian waiter. He came running, helped her and led her over to the table where her friend already sat studying the menu.
I had finished my lunch, Terje and the girls were waiting, but I still sat for a few moments, reluctant to leave the two old ladies, listening to their conversation with the waiter about what to order from the menu.........we come right from church, we need a real meal, no plain bread but alot of garlic please, and pasta with alot of chilli.........yes please, two big glasses of wine........
"Certain interludes seem quite separate from the rest of one's life. They have the simple perfection of a Tang lyric, a Chopin étude, an Inuit carving. And they do not drift away, becoming blurred by time; mysteriously they continue to give sustenance. For me that first day of our trek was one such interlude. I experienced pure happiness - something quite different from the everyday underlying contentment which is my fortunate lot"
The first lines of chapter 3 in Dervla Murphy's Cameroon with Egbert.
The morning with Dervla Murphy was a highlight, a dream coming true, something I never will forget. The few minutes with the two elderly ladies was an interlude, the simple perfection of a Chopin étude, something which will not drift away but giving colour to every corner of my heart, telling me not to fear. When I turn 100 I want to be like them, still globetrotting the world - east of the sun, west of the moon, or from an armchair or a bed in some home for elderly people.
- thank you Dervla for your words which follow me every day, one of your books is always on my bedstand or on my studio desk
- thank you dear, old ladies of South Kensington
- thank you Kelly for the comment you left at Greetings from London yesterday. I can't tell how much I am looking forward to hear about your ferry ride and about Anderson Island.
Photos from Portobello Market. The same musician as I met last year was still there when I came there with Terje and the girls.