Just spent a quiet day with Della today. She slept in till lunchtime then joined me to check her laptop and emails.
I said I would make her some coffee but she pushed me back gently into the chair, and said she would make us both some, as she wanted to go into the kitchen to wash and clean her teeth. So I thought it best just to let her get on with it. at her leisure. I offered t make her some breakfast, but she said she wasn’t really hungry – although she was sure she would be later. I told her I would have to leave her in the flat while I went out to get some food in for when we decided to eat. She said she would go with me, as she would really like to cook something to eat for later, as she was ‘fed up’ with hotel food, and besides, she added, that way she could be sure I had something wholesome to eat. Anyway, she enjoyed cooking, she said; and who was I to argue with beauty?!
But it was still only early (maybe not yet 2) and she became fascinated by a load of pictures I had been sorting out for my new autobiography. Many of these were just lying a round at random (mostly little-before seen 1970 b/w pictures) and she asked me if I’d mind if she had a look. I told her I’d let her read the whole manuscript that evening, but I the meantime I’d have to give her a verbal chapter synopsis as we went along, as I didn’t think it fair to expect her to read some 280 pages of the written manuscript. I said she could take that to bed with her later.
She laughed, but still spent time reading large parts of it in between comparing corresponding photographs. She was a great help, and time seemed to fly by while we just concentrated on the book.
It was about quarter to five and still light, when she suggested we walk up the road and stock up dinner for later. On the way out, she showed me some pieces from the car which she had brought back, ‘signature pieces’ she called them. We decided that really they would be safer in the house so we brought them in first. She held my arm for the 10 walk up the road. I think she was a little worried about my weak foot, although I told her it was only on ice and snow that I had any trouble in walking. I wasn’t joking (about the ice and snow) but she then said a rather unexpected thing. Squeezing my arm, she said . . . “Don’t you worry, you’re safe with me”. I knew she meant it, though didn’t question her further.
We came back with a load of fresh food, and I noticed she had brought some fresh smoked haddock, new potatoes, other vegetables and an uncut loaf of wholemeal bread. She carried the bag, which made me feel a bit helpless, but somehow not in the least uncomfortable.
It was almost dark when we got back, but she made some more coffee and said she’d start cooking the food in a little while. She said she’d prefer to eat by candlelight, and she then produced a bottle of special whisky that she’s brought back from Paris.
Her meal took about an hour. And everything about it was cooked perfectly. We sat sipping the whisky, and we talked about what she had got up to in Paris.
She said she had been pretty lonely in the evenings, and had been re-reading Dante’s Vita Nuova and parts of the Divine Comedy. She told me about some of her favourite passages, one about Dante’s dream of the allegory of Love forcing Beatrice to consume Dante’s flaming heart. Apparently Anthony Hopkins gives a good reading of part of the sonnet that Dante writes about his dream, in one of his films. He has a new one coming out which Della wants to go and see, about a possessed priest. Usually I would give that a miss but Hopkins is a fine actor after all and it has been a long time since I have been to the cinema. She had also been re-reading the story of Paolo and Francesca, which she said is about two adulterous lovers who, having been slain for their crime, find themselves floating through the flames of hell for eternity. ‘It’s all frightfully romantic’, she said. Della really does find the most morbid and tragic things romantic. And she does have a funny way of putting things sometimes. What can sound like a simple statement often means she is thinking so much more but saving her words.
We also spent more time going through photos for the new book; there are so many to choose from and we have now almost narrowed it down. Della helped me out with a few administrative bits and pieces as well. She joked that she should be my part time secretary as she practically is in all but title, and has a much better grip on some of my business propositions than I do. But I said she has far too much of her own work to get through as it is. How serious she was only time will tell, but it useful to have her help, especially as the subject matter is so sensitive and complicated, and I know I can trust her. She also told me about several ‘mystical dreams, she’d had of late, but that, of course, involved things private to her, which I wouldn’t think of mentioning without her permission.
Dell also talked about a place in Kent she has been keen to visit for a while, for various reasons. She had mentioned it to me before but this time we went into a bit more detail about its relevance to various matters which we inextricably have in common, and unfortunately always will. So when it warms up a bit, or even if we get a day without rain in the next few weeks, we may go over and have a look around, maybe stay over and see if we can get talking to any of the locals in the surrounding villages.
So we talked, and talked again. I felt a strange empathy with her, but nothing I could attempt to put into words. Lets just say she was very beautiful person who somehow felt fated to find me; or more accurately, me her. I never question Fate, and am not going to start now.
She has gone to bed now, and is probably asleep. Though I did give her my new manuscript to read, so she might still be reading that. I just wanted to put this Blog down while it is still fresh and vivid in my mind. It is now about 40 minutes later and I just knocked to make sure she was all right. One reason I was concerned was because the wind has now changed to the North East and the cold air is hitting the window next door. She was not asleep, and she was warm enough.
She looked at me with her deep brown eyes, and said . . . “Are you alright? Is there anything you want?”.
“Just this”, I said. And I kissed her gently. She responded, but I didn’t intend to keep her awake. So I just came back into the other room, and am left to think about a beautiful evening.