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A serendipitous evening

It’s fair comment that the Rust is pre-occupied with the difficulties of ageing in a confusing and confused world. It therefore gives me much delight to inform our readers that last night I invited a couple of 80 (Ron) and 76 years Jackie for a drink and light supper and they were outstanding company.

Ron is an ex-jazz drummer and session musician who over a career spanning 50 years has played with them all, his wife Jackie, an art expert, takes the course I attend.

Ron did admit to some falling memory but when it came to the topics of the moment he was remarkably well informed.

He said that drones could be operated from anywhere, hence the difficulty in finding the perpetrators but the technology existed to break down the transmission.

He knew and was offended by the compensation package for Jose Mourinho.

Jackie commented that, as with many handsome men, he was in fact a bore – the subject of his conversation rarely moving from himself. Jackie knew many musicians and artists of the same ilk.

Thereafter the conversation ebbed and flowed.

Ron – a Liverpudlian like his wife to whom he had been married since the fifties – mentioned in passing that he told Paul McCartney one night in the Cavern where Ron was drumming that he would never make it until he could read music.

One of the remarkable things about a remarkable couple is that they freely admitted to having made little money but they had travelled widely and lived the good life. In the day I bumped into someone I had seen, and also my neighbour (both in their eighties), who reeled off their various medical symptoms within seconds like a laundry list.

This couple seemed undefeated by age. Most of all their joie de vivre was intoxicating.

Jackie was looking forward to the arrival of her grandson today from France.

He would be spoiled rotten and he had sent in advance his wish list.

She was the sort of grandmother everyone would want; well informed, full of stories about the characters she met along the way and unconditional in her love.

When conversation turned to sport Ron asked if he would watch his beloved Liverpool play Wolves on the telly.

Of course I acceded to this request, enabling Jackie and I to talk about art.

We agreed that art is one of the few areas which is PC-free. Picasso was dreadful to his women but this does not seem to have affected his critical and popular appreciation.

However the growth area in modern art is female artists like Jenny Saville whose pictures fetch just short of £10m. Good news for Charles Saatchi, who bought her whole output when she was a prize winning student.

We concurred that the contemporary art world is about high finance.

The couple stayed till after 10. This meant that I had to clear up before I retired at 11, late for me. Nonetheless I was greatly warmed by the evening.

I served tapas as this meant less time in the kitchen cooking. Algy gave me some advice on wine and all was consumed.

I might just start a new Rust debate : dining out v dining in.

About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts