With regard to the world of celebrity culture I often find myself somewhat clueless in the face of others’ enthusiasm, just as when I was a child kindly adults would point out things of note – buzzards, badgers and so on – I was never quick enough to spot them, even if I had known what I was looking for which I usually didn’t: and so it is for me with famous faces.
My powers of recognition being poor I am very likely to have no idea who I am taking to and so have made many clanging social gaffs: most embarrassingly once asking an Ex Prime Minister (Ted Heath) what he did for a living! It is, however, almost worse when I do recognise someone as the tendency is then to presume actual acquaintanceship. When living in London I was convinced that I must be as well-known to Trevor MacDonald and Andrew Marr as they were to me so would wave with cheerful exuberance only to be greeted with the politely blank smiles of men who think they may well about to be assaulted by a loony.
Living now in the wilds of rural-shire I have fewer such moments of shamed realisation but, nonetheless, recently managed to recapture some lost form. On going up to the Big City on a Little Expedition – to listen to a Lecture by an eminent writer, Lunch with Working Husband and Dine with an old school friend – I was a little over-excited by such an unusually mud and child free programme of loveliness.
Having planned my outfit carefully, so as to preclude the moth-eaten, muddy and biscuit-crumbed look that is the height of fashion in my neck of the woods and wrestled my feet into actual shoes rather than my beloved boots, I was ready to do battle with the Metropolis. Meeting various ladies of my acquaintance at the station produced a rather carnival atmosphere on the platform and led to our being eyed with acute dislike and suspicion by the commuting public. Toting a bag full to bursting with magazines and catalogues that I had saved especially for the journey I was selfishly eager to lose my chums once on board, so headed for the Carriage of Trappist Silence vaguely citing ‘letters to write’ as my excuse and sinking into my solitary seat with the ecstatic sigh of a woman utterly delighted to be alone.
By the time I arrived the Lecture hall was heaving with smart people all looking about expectantly. I, on the other hand, was slightly travel-worn and hobbled by my pretty, but by now excruciatingly painful and hated, shoes – all this rather colluded in my downfall. Clutching a glass of wine I attempted to find a seat but progress was slow and a bit tricky: just as I had spotted an empty chair and was heading towards it disaster struck. Catching my high heel in the floor grating and then tripping forward over a large and elegant handbag I pitched directly into the lap of a very stylish and well-known Celebrity Psychologist (whom I have always rather admired). Landing prostrate at her feet was not the best of introductions and the only thing I could think of to say? ‘A Handbag!’ – in the manner of a slightly drunk and dishevelled Lady Bracknell. It was not my finest Hour. I comfort myself with the knowledge that at least she is well used to Loons!