Wednesday, November 04, 2009

In a Cafe in Rhydypennau

I know most of the good cafes on the way from Tenby to Leeds. On the way back from Tenby we were sitting in the Pennau Crafts and Coffee Shop which has lots of interesting things to look at and delicious home-made food.

I bought some Bara Brith (a kind of delicious Welsh fruit loaf) which enabled me to greet our Welsh actor on Monday and offer him some of it with a short burst of Welsh: "Bore da! Bara Brith?"

(Bore da is Good Day. Very educational, this blog. Unless you're Gareth's mum, who is a fluent Welsh speaker and might well be reading this!)

In one of those strange mixtures of English and Welsh, the cafe's address is Rhydypennau, Bow Street, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, North Wales. The "Bow Street" bit always seems very incongruous to me.

I noticed a couple come in and sit at the table next to ours.

I instantly recognised the woman, even though I haven't seen her since about 1983. I went to her wedding, in Norwich. She was marrying Stephen's brother David.

She's very distinctive-looking anyway - very small with long, dark hair - and I'm totally certain it was her.

I wondered whether to speak to her. I started thinking of the ways the conversation might go, and I didn't think I liked them.

David is now married to someone else and has two children: they live near Norwich but we haven't seen them for probably seven years. No rift, no row - - we just haven't. Stephen and his brother have never been close and we're never exactly passing through Norwich - is anyone?

So I thought - well, she's with this man, who could be a friend, or a partner, or a husband - - but he might not know that she was ever married to David.

The marriage ended, of course - - perhaps she might not want to be reminded of it.

I decided not to speak to her, though part of me wanted to. At the checkout we stood next to each other and there wasn't a glimmer of recognition when I stood right in front of her.

People always recognise me, even when they haven't seen me for years. Decades, sometimes. Because I've lived round here for most of my life, I've met many of the people in this part of Leeds at various times. They come up to me in the street. "Ah, hello Daphne," they say, as if we've met very recently "how's your mum? Kenneth really enjoyed being in her class."

I generally haven't the heart to say "which Kenneth?" I just keep listening and after a while they work out that they last saw me on the day that Kenneth got his new bike when we got the results of the eleven-plus examination.

Slightly worrying really - is it that I look incredibly young for my age? Or is it that I looked about fifty when I was eleven? Either way, people do recognise me.

But this woman in the cafe didn't. Or, perhaps, like me, she had thought of the ways that the conversation might go and was just doing a good job of pretending.


Blogger Grumpy Old Ken said...

Was this kenneth in your mum's class. I can't remember!

8:07 pm  
Blogger Von said...

Funny that! You get it occassionally even in small communities where most people speak even if not good friends but sometimes one person will never speak..short-sighter,depressed,grumpy, unsociable?

1:02 am  
Anonymous Milo said...

I was born in Aberystwyth!

Strange but true. Not something I've ever been minded to shout from the rooftops, mind you.

7:53 pm  

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