Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Fantasy Bob supposes it is his own fault. He just didn't think it through. The unintended consequences. Long suffering readers may recall how he and Mrs FB enjoyed the opera at La Scala and how Mrs FB's enjoyment of the occasion was greatly enhanced by the appearance on stage of a horse and a donkey. 

For Mrs FB's equine obsession matches, and may well exceed,  FB's fondness for cricket.  For her, the appearance of a horse in any situation brightens the day and gives it new meaning.  Many times as FB negotiates a particularly tricky country road she will suddenly say from the passenger seat, 'Look at that lovely bay.' 

Early in their relationship this confused FB, for he seemed to be nowhere near the sea-side.  However little by little he gained an understanding.  'Look at that lovely bay, what a lovely boy.'  FB maintains a dignified silence; he knows what is coming next.

'Hello, lovely boy - what a lovely field of grass you have.'   FB admires Mrs FB's persistence in attempting to have a conversation with a horse from behind the closed window of a passing car.  He accepts no blame - the suggestion having been made that even this interaction is an improvement on his conversational skills has not been verified

So he is aware of his life partner's predilections. But he failed to take into account how they had been heightened by the experience at La Scala.

So when they made their way to Edinburgh's Festival Theatre for a performance by Scottish Opera of Carmen his researches had left him unprepared.  He had established beyond reasonable doubt that there is little of cricketing interest in the opera - it being written by a Frenchman was probably a sound indicator of that. So his expectations were not particularly high. 

But Mrs FB was on another tack, and as she perused the synopsis she said,  'Ah, Act I -  a square in Seville.   Now they should be able to get some horses into that.'

FB looked with a certain trepidation into her eyes.  She went on 'Remember we went to Seville and there were horses everywhere -  those lovely Andalusians.'  FB had to concede this point and she continued, 'Oh yes I am sure they'll use some Andalusians here.'

Her speculation was silenced as the lights went down and the orchestra started up.

As the curtain fell on the Act she said,  'Well that was disappointing - they could easily have a had a horse there.  Perhaps in the next Act.'

Sadly, for Mrs FB the next Act came and went, with no horsey interest.

She perked up over the interval prosecco, noting from the programme that the next Act would see the arrival of Escamillo the toreador.

'Now any bull fighter worth his salt will have a horse - I imagine he will enter on a beautiful white Analusian.'

FB did not wish to quell her enthusiasm as the lights darkened again.

'They must be saving the horse for the Final Act,' she said containing her disappointment at the horse free third act.  'After all, it is set at the bull ring.......'  She looked towards the stage eagerly. 

But there was no horse - not even a stray bull fight poster with a picture of a horsepeeling off the set. There was no bull either, for that matter.

Mrs FB spent the journey home questioning the artistic sensitivities of the Director. 'The whole thing was crying out for a horse,' she remarked several times.

FB might have responded by saying that he understood her pain.  He might have described the many times he had sat through a performance that could have been lifted to a new level by a simple cricketing reference.  He might have shared with her theatrical directors of international reputation had eschewed such artistic insight.  He might have shared how his hopes had been repeatedly dashed - even the trip to La Scala had not helped restore them for cricket had been ignored there too. He might have gone on, but she had that far away look in her eye - already she was imagining her next trip to La Scala orher next conversation through the car window with a passing horse. 

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