March 7th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Costa Rican postcard

Mum’s birthday today, so it was our intention to call her up as a surprise – pleasant, I hope.  England is 6 hours on from Costa Rica, so by the time we’d arisen + consumed a very tasty breakfast in one of the Market eateries, Mum would, we hoped, be enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon at home.  She wasn’t however – there was no reply – so we returned to our hotel room for a spot of reading + some cards (“Still life with woodpecker” + “Julian” for the first; probably German whist, Casino + Hokus Pokus for the second, those being our favourites.)  Back to the telephone shop at 1 o’clock (7 in Hatfield) – by now, Mum would be putting her feet up after afternoon tea.  She wasn’t, or at least not in 29 Batterdale – no reply again.

We trotted off to the National Museum to while away the afternoon.  Some of it – the part devoted to pre-Columbian art + artefacts – was good, being very attractively laid out.  This is very important for us, since we are far more likely to be impressed by the beauty rather than the historical significance.  They had one section devoted to religious art, but I am afraid I find it to be neither.  The best is simplistic, the worst simply gruesome, with realistic-looking blood pouring from realistic-looking gaping wounds. 

We strolled back into town + indulged ourselves with a couple of large banana splits, + then at 5 o’clock we gave Mother what was positively her last chance.  After our 2 earlier disappointments, it was almost a shock when the guy told me to go into one of their cubicles.  Mum’s first question was, “Who is this?” (+ after I’d said “Hello mum” – how many sons has she got?), her second, “Where are you?”  (I think she was half-expecting “Heathrow” or something), her third, “Is anything wrong?” (she knows me too well.)  Of course, it wasn’t a satisfactory call – telephone calls rarely are, being both too little + too much, but it was pleasing to hear her (she’d been to Norfolk for the day.)  We celebrated afterwards with fried chicken, followed by a donut, + then “Some like it hot” – maybe my favourite comedy film ever, + the first time I’d ever seen it in a cinema.  Out of this world.

You will have read before of the problems of making telephone calls in those days, so apologies for repetition, but it is remarkable to think of where we are now.  And hardly surprising that my mother should have been flustered; receiving phone calls at that time of night was by no means usual.

The real highlight of the day though (with apologies to Mum) was seeing Some Like It Hot in a very classy cinema – huge staircase, plush seating, and – still – a classic movie.  We have a regular film club at home, running throughout the pandemic, and saw it as part of that.

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