We drank a nice meal at Brasserie Blanc. Three excellent courses and a couple of bottles of red wine or was it the other way round? Anyway I can recommend the roast barbary duck with blackberry sauce. The mussels were good too and I’m sure we had two desserts including a huge baked Alaska for two! A long evening which did get a bit hazy and finished with me being poured into a taxi. Shazza was staying next door at the elegant Queens Hotel. Where else would she stay!
However, it was a chance to catch up, chew the fat and put the world to rights. And catch up we did, though I didn’t get to hear the full story of how Shazz had come to be at the airport in a fur coat and little else.
“Pet, you just wouldn’t believe me. And it’s probably better you don’t know the full story, Italian politics being what they are.”
No, she wouldn’t elaborate further.
“So what was going on when I heard your raised voice this afternoon, Shazz?”
“Raised voice. That’s a polite way of putting it. I know I can be kinda loud sometimes.” She sighed and continued. “I’ll tell yers. I’m sick of it. Heartily so. Aye, really pissed off. I’ll explain. I’m lucky and travel a lot, too much sometimes. Round the country, over to Europe, even the US and Canada on occasions. So, is it just me, but here in this country people’s manners and behaviour’s gone right down the pan. No one seems to have any consideration for anyone or anything. Just attitude towards you. I bawled them two lads out for being plain obnoxious, vile behaviour, their lewd language. I went too far. I should’nt have hit the guy with the tray, but I was so angry. There’s no need for it, no place in our society.”
She stopped and refilled our glasses. I had’nt heard Shazz talk this way before. Quiet and earnest.
“Take the other day and what happened to a good friend of mine. He was knocked to the ground and kicked senseless, when he came to he was in hospital. And why? All because he saw some guy with his hands round a lass’s neck, effing and blinding like a trooper. Middle of the day, the high street and in broad daylight. So he went across to say something, to remonstrate, to help the young lass. He got as far as saying ‘Hey….’ Like I said he woke up in hospital. So much for trying to be public spirited. Well it’s time it stopped. Yes I know times are hard. I’ve seen hard times too. Growing up in Gateshead wasn’t exactly a bed of roses. I left school at 16 with little education and I haven’t always been an angel, but I didn’t run around like some feral misfit blaming others. No, I like to think I have done something about it. Improved myself so I can give something back to society. Yes, there’s a lot wrong today, has been for a while. Do I sound as if I’m on a crusade, getting on my soapbox?”
“Sounds like you’re stepping up there, Shazz.”
She picked up her glass, swilled the wine round and round, watching it rise and fall. She put it down on the table and put both hands over the base as if holding it down. She stared long and hard into her glass before she spoke again, refocusing and locking her blue eyes onto mine.
“Don’t laugh, Pet, and I know there’s a lot that will, but I am determined to do something about it. I’m going to stand for Parliament. So, tell me, who are you hoping to see at the Festival this year?”
To be continued…