Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A Fine Romance (part two)

The story so far...

Our wheelchair bound hero has met the pretty, bobbed haired nursery nurse come actress Polly, on an Improvisation course in Hammersmith, West London. Said bobbed haired, smiley person has inadvertently broken our hero's wheelchair controller but her ability to find 20 uses for a traffic cone has begun to win his heart. Now read on as. . .

Polly drops a bombshell.

After the Improv course I met up with Polly on and off at a discussion group held on Sunday evenings at the Methodist church in Wimbledon where we debated how many angels could stand on the point of a pin and whether it made a difference if they wore trainers. Polly was attending the Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theatre and I was still touring with Stripes Theatre Co. This meant we could go several weeks at a time with out seeing each other but when we did we found ourselves sitting next to each other and chatting happily. And. then she told me she was going to move to Romania and work in an orphanage.

I blame Anneka Rice. On Christmas day, 1989, the dictatorial leader of Romania, Nicolae Ceau┼čescu and his wife, Elena were executed for crimes that included genocide and the illegal gathering of personal wealth. Please note – Anneka was not responsible for the overthrow of a communist dictator. But she was responsible for the TV programme Challenge Anneka where she and a team of volunteers took it upon themselves to fix up an orphanage in Bucharest with only a few cans of paint and some sticky back plastic. It made great television; very emotional and inspiring and it helped bring the plight of the orphans to the attention of the world. And then the world moved on. Except Polly and a few others.

Now you are in a difficult position if you are the would be paramour of someone who is going to save the little baby orphans with no mummies or daddies. You can hardly say don't go, my need is greater than theirs. I just had to let her go. I didn't care, she could go if she wanted to. No skin off my nose. It wasn't as if we were going out or anything. I promised I'd write.

A little while later a local group were collecting bits and pieces to fill a lorry to send to Bucharest. There were lots of teddy bears and knitted cardigans packed in to shoe boxes to be handed out to cute little orphans. As it turned out most of the boxes were “distributed' to members of the underpaid orphanage staff. I took the opportunity to send a letter and a Dundee cake in a tin to Polly. You can't go wrong with a bit of fruit cake. A week or so later I received a letter back, which was funny and to be honest a bit flirty. I replied in kind.

By Christmas we were writing to each other two or three times a week. The letters were increasingly intimate but we were in that 'not quite sure` where we stood with each other stage. And then I got a letter signed 'With love from Polly and Bob`. Crack – that was the sound of a heart breaking. I'd faffed about for too long and she had met some orphan loving do-gooder who probably wore sandals and knitted his own muesli. I wrote back and casually inquired after Bob. She wrote back and said he was well. Bugger.

On February 12th 1992 Polly rang me from Romania, almost exactly a year after we first met. She had had enough. She told me she had something to say and she didn't expect me to say anything back but that she'd been thinking about it a lot and she thought she was in love with me. Cue twittering bird song, angel choir and fireworks. Hang on, what about Bob. Bob, it turned out was a cat she had adopted.

Over the next five months we wrote and rang each other frequently. Since it was almost impossible to get a phone line out of Romania I mostly rang her. It is 1300 miles to Romania, the same as the number of pounds my phone bill was. Worth every penny.

Polly came home in July 1992 and we were married in the September of the following year. There you are Laura, I hope that satisfies your curiosity. One day I will tell you about our honeymoon. We only used two out of three of the emergency services.


  1. "You can't go wrong with a bit of fruit cake." Wow. Here in the States, fruit cake is the gift that says, "You are someone I know and to whom I am socially obligated." A Dundee cake must be on an entirely different level if it put you on the road to getting the woman of your dreams.

    I look forward to finding out which two emergency services were required on your honeymoon. In the meantime, tell me, what happened to Bob?

  2. Bob was virtually feral and spent most of his day devising ways to bite the hand that fed him. He took particular pleasure in ambushing passing peoples ankles as they walked past chairs. He went to work for the Securitate. (Alternatively he went to live on a farm. No, honestly he did. At least that's what they told Polly.)


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