Market meeting was a real bonus

Meeting my Muse at the market in March 1973 was a bonus as I thought it would be two weeks after the party before I saw her again. That half an hour with her made all the difference.

If you are thinking of a long-term relationship then you should base it on each of you having an understanding of the other, and sharing some common interests, rather than basing it all on physical attraction.

How many marriages have been broken because it was only after the ceremony (anything from a year to seven years) the people involved realised their only compatibility was in bed.

Our first proper meeting, although not lengthy, gave me some early insights into her interests. Reading and history as strong passions were certainly a good start in my book. I could only hope that my interest in both had come across.

Meanwhile it was back to work and in my spare time delving deeper into the origins of socialism and the Labour Party, although I should say labour movement because that movement really came about in the 19th century long before the party itself was born.

When it came to the readings before the next play was cast I was looking forward to an evening with my Muse – and the dozen or so others who would be there of course.

The group had decided on The Importance of Being Earnest by that brilliant Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, an interesting choice for an amateur drama group which clearly had a limited number of members.

When I arrived others were already there, including my Muse, once again sans baby. She also appeared to be sans hubby. Since the party I had gone over faces from that night and realised that the somewhat older chap with a balding head, who had played a small part in The Servant of Two Masters, was almost certainly the prime suspect.

While waiting for others to arrive I chatted to a couple of people who I remembered from the party, and then said hello to the subject of my desire.

I commented that she appeared to be on her own and she told me her husband was looking after the baby as he had decided he was not really that bothered with amateur dramatics.

This is when I also discovered that she was not intending to go on stage anymore herself but was going to be stage manager for shows in future and would also be the prompt.

I had a good knowledge of these reading evenings where everyone would get a chance to read for any of the parts, which means I also knew that certain roles would already have been cast.

As a newcomer I wasn’t expecting much, even though I was asked to read Algernon and Merriman. My final reading of the evening was for Canon Chasuble. If I wasn’t offered a part this time I would have been content to help backstage but I was very pleased to be asked to play the canon.

After the readings, everyone chatted for a while over a cup of tea and I had a further chance to chat to my lady. This time we talked about plays and our likes and dislikes.

Now it is good to have the same interests but it would probably be unlikely, and possibly even undesirable to have the same taste in everything. That night I discovered the first difference between us – she was NOT a fan of Shakespeare.

It was only a minor setback, after all I wouldn’t expect her to be a dedicated fan of Welsh rugby, or a devotee of Sherlock Holmes.

She got a lift home with another couple. I hadn’t offered to give her a lift myself as it would have been too forward of me and I had deduced someone must have given her a lift to the meeting, unless she lived close to the house where the readings had been held.

The next few weeks were a combination of work, including evening meetings and theatrical shows for review; evening rehearsals for the Wilde production; an occasional NUJ chapel meeting; and “accidental” meetings in the town centre with my Muse.

Things were looking good. I saw her at least one evening a week and we got into the habit of going for a coffee on Friday or Saturday mornings after having a browse at the market bookstall.

Work was just as good and my Friday morning absences were no problem because I was getting my fair share of stories for the paper and was even given the occasional bit of subbing to do – something which stood me in good stead in my future journalistic life.

There were to be quite a few ups and downs before I stepped up to that level.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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