Since I last mentioned the moment I actually met my Muse, and discovered she had a six-month-old baby, I have not gone back to that period, well not until yesterday when I commented on that eventful year 1973.
It is not because there were any bad memories from that event, or even that year. In fact 1973 sticks in my mind as the best of the times. The trouble is that the following year led me to the worst of times.
Let’s not dwell on that today, however.
Instead I will hark back to the Sunday morning after Jean and Jim’s party.
I was still euphoric in that I had met my Muse in the flesh rather than seeing her as a character on the stage. There, dressed in a long skirt and a loose blouse top, I had concentrated on the face and the dark hair which tumbled down her back almost to her waist.
In my dreams I had seen her face but the stage lights had prevented me from seeing their colour. At the party I had been far closer and even in the dim light I could see they were a soft, dark brown – eyes that you could lose your soul in.
Once the euphoria of having met her settled down I came back to the reality that my Muse was a young married woman with a six-month old baby and to make any advance without knowing her feelings would not only be unseemly but could also lead to never seeing her again.
I decided it would be better to become a friend and at least I would be able to see her again.
I didn’t expect to see her for a couple of weeks as the reading for the next play would not take place ’til then.
Instead I immersed myself in my work and my reading.
Monday to Thursday were busy with courts, council meetings and making my regular rounds of the emergency services to check on any action overnight. I think I had at least two evening meetings that week which kept my mind off other things.
Friday was publication day for the Standard Recorder and, as was my wont, I got myself a cup of coffee, a copy of the paper, put my feet up on the desk, fortunately without falling back on the chair, and smoked a couple of cigarettes as I drank my coffee and read the paper from front to back.
I even read the sports pages even though my only real sporting interests were Welsh rugby and darts (yes I do consider darts to be a sport no matter what some sports reporters say).
Being this thorough with our newspaper and with the evening paper out of our stable meant I knew almost everything that was going on in our patch.
Afterwards I headed to the Town Centre intending to have a stroll around on the offchance I might bump into someone with a story (that can really happen you know). I soon found myself in the market and heading for the secondhand book stall.
This was one of my favourite haunts. In those days these stalls, and secondhand bookshops, were common and as well as selling old books they would buy ones you had finished with.
I had already picked up a number of political works on the stall, including booklets by Marx, Engels and Lenin as well as items on the British labour movement and old copies of books from the Left Book Club.
I was browsing the politics section when I happened to look up and notice another browser where they displayed historical novels – guess who it was. You probably did guess and got it right. There was my Muse standing just a few feet away from me.
I walked over and as she turned to me I was struck by her eyes.
We said the usual “Hi” and “fancy meeting you here” and then my brain clicked into gear and I asked if she would like to go for a coffee.
She agreed, but said she couldn’t stay too long as she had left Sarah with her mother.
While we were sitting having a coffee I asked her if she had found anything of interest at the book stall and from there we began to talk about books in general – she said she liked historical novels, as long as they were factual; I told her I would read anything, even a sauce bottle label.
After about 20 minutes she said she had to go and we said our goodbyes and I said I would see her at the reading the following weekend. Then I went back to the office and back to work.
I suddenly realised that the wooing had begun. It was a very simple form of wooing, but I had set myself on a long-term journey to charm my Muse.
Wooing is a very old-fashioned word and it harks back to the days when if you wanted to win the love of a good woman you had to take it slowly and easily, You discover what she is interested in and where your interests coincide.
I wasn’t planning a short, sharp charm offensive – I was looking well ahead.
Meanwhile it was time to get more involved with my union, the National Union of Journalists, and find out when the next chapel meeting was scheduled to take place.