July 10th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

Were fast asleep, but were in for a rude awakening when Danny came in at 5.30.  We quickly got dressed and climbed down to say hello.  Danny was, as expected, gay, but seemed amiable enough.  We went for coffee at a restaurant 2 or 3 shops away, and he told us he’d been educated in England, as he came from an Air Force family.  He’d been to Marlborough Grammar School (God knows how he’d got on there!)  Val and I went for a walk to a small park that Danny mentioned – we bought ourselves a map of SF on the way – a long overdue purchase, + immediately useful – we’d never have found the park without it.  The park was quite nice, but it smelt pretty bad, and there were dog turds everywhere.  It was only when we’d moved from the bank where we’d been lying that we discovered we’d been in the dog exercise area.  We started to read – I’d just bought John Fowles “Magus” + Val was reading “The Confidential Agent” by Greene.  At 11.30 or so, we picked ourselves up and went to collect our developed film.  Unfortunately, it was just as we suspected – the camera was buggered, and the film all but ruined.  We rushed back to the shop + picked up the camera, and took it downtown to a good camera shop, who in turn directed us to a small office, several blocks further on.  The guy there was helpful tho’, and not only did he fix our camera, he wouldn’t accept payment for it.  We caught the Bart to 16th, to go to the depot to collect our wages, and then took it again to Berkeley.  We spent a couple of hours looking at the university campus – really beautiful and superbly laid out, wandered down Telegraph Avenue, then ate, Val at a Chinese place, me at an American.  We wandered then out to College Ave, where the concert of Indian music was that we’d arranged to see with Bill and Meher, and then Val persuaded me to walk back for an ice cream.  We both had a big tub of coffee ice-cream, and I had a large coke.  It turned out to be not so much large as enormous, more than an English pint, I’d say.  Then we had to trot back quickly for the concert.  It was taking place in a modern Presbyterian church, very attractive tho’ too theatrical and not reverential enough for my taste.  The concert was very good indeed.  There were 3 instruments – a sitar, a tabla (2 drums) and another instrument I don’t know the name of – it was the least important.  The sitarist (a friend of Bill and Meher’s) was excellent, but it was the tabla player who excited me most – he had marvellous control, and excitement.  Val + I both thought (independently) that Pete would have enjoyed it.  We met Meher at half-time – she was helping to serve tea – and saw Bill at the end.  He had arrived very late, having had something to do with the kids.  I had enjoyed the concert very much, but found it difficult to keep my concentration.  Bill gave us a lift to Bart, which we caught back to SF, then walked back to shop, and bed.

Things were different then, so once again I beg forgiveness and plead naïve innocence at my expressed surprise that Danny should prove amiable despite being gay.  Other than that, a certain admiration for our younger selves, who seemed determined to fill every day.

Yet another reference to camera troubles, and the way in which they seemed to dominate our time.  But they, like the diary itself, were important to us, and it has been good to bring them back to life for this blog.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I know the Presbyterian church where you saw the concert–I got my doctorate at that same church in 1988. Sorry, we don’t have anything as old as what you have in England. Especially on the West Coast. But, did you go to Grace Cathedral in SF? It’s a pretty good attempt at “old.” Glad you finally got a map!

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