A day and a half it was. To start with the buses were on diversion so good that it was fine and dandy, weather-wise. My first adventure was taking part in a community hub’s seniors’ fashion parade under the title International Day. I’d cooked jollof rice and black-eye bean fritters as an offering and my plantain ‘dodo’ had been gobbled up by my family before I’d opened the plastic containers in which to transport it. So what. They come first and before any group of strangers.
I suspect that a mostly very white audience and a ninety-nine per cent white staff were starting a journey through a little bit of tokenism as they clapped along to efnik music tracks and watched the smattering of foreigners amongst the membership strut their national costumes on a catwalk. I think someone said that the glaring evidence of non-diversity amongst the membership was not solved and so the lid was opened and out popped multi-culturalism in all its 1980 thrills of international food, exotic patterns and nods to cultural facts.
Quietly spoken women became lionesses when walking past silent other women, those in the community hub audience. They had home dresses to wear and show. They used dance moves to fill their one minute and forty five seconds of showing off and having fun. They were from all different parts of the world. They engaged with the audience.
Whatever the motives, there was a togetherness. The organisation was supreme.
The choice of MC was very good. The camera flashing was perpetual.
I changed into my civvy clothes and rushed onto any bus to get me eastward and after a Mars Bar to help me work, rest and play reached Chef’s Corner although it’s known as something else too. This is a Leytonstone eaterie on a corner next to traffic fumes and noise. Twelve of we seniors were going as “Ladies Who Jerky” to munch the night away á la Caribbean fare. I’d already primed the owner with hand-written clear lists of names and menu choices and even place-cards exposing the choices of food for all to see. Well. that was a waste of time as the waiting staff and chef hadn’t a clue. The service was poor. The curry goat was delicious. The rice ‘n’ peas was stale. The fish was spice-less and over-cooked. The macaroni-cheese was tepid, badly presented and mostly hard. Nothing was glorious.
We paid our money and left.
Lo and behold, there was an end-of-day bus diversion as something had happened on a major highway. Either a gunning, a knifeing, a road traffic accident or a mains water-burst. We’ll know tomorrow.
And to top it all, no Corrie today because of football.
Most people don’t know how to complain in a restaurant. I do but I didn’t because the state was beyond saving. I never wanted confrontation at any point in the evening either. Only I left a tip out of custom and pity.
Tomorrow it’s breakfast at Tiffany’s, I mean Lamb’s Café to thrash out how seniors can be a presence in community radio.
I’d painted some of our Ladies Who Jerky and presented their pictures. One lady forgot to appear tonight so never received her portrait.
Clouds, silver linings. Rainbows, pots of gold. Life.