Monday, 21 September 2015

La Boheme

Mrs FB tried to avoid the subject for most of the year.  As the cricket season approached its end, many friends have asked innocently, 'Isn't it your birthday soon?' only to be met with a stare that would do credit to Medusa. Friends have got the message and discreetly changed the subject.

FB is aware of the full facts. Mrs FB's sensitivity on this matter should be understood.  It was a special birthday.  She was 39 again.  And why not?  It seems to have suited her well for a number of years.

But such a special birthday presented challenges to FB's limited imagination. Would another handbag be in order?  FB was sure it might be welcome, but then self interest entered the equation. Mrs FB's world famous handbag collection is rapidly restricting storage space in their modest apartments. Any additions would restrict the space available for the winter storage of FB's cricket kit.

His inamorata may have jibed as FB returned from the final match of the season foot-back-knee-shoulder-sore, 'Surely you won't be needing all that rubbish again.'  But FB knew that for heritage purposes if nothing else, it had to command priority in the remaining storage space.  There was no room for additional handbags.  An alternative had therefore to be found.

Many long nights were spent in research and planning.  The pieces fell into place. Proudly he told his loved one, 'I've got you something special for your birthday - a mystery trip.'  He was unprepared for the look of panic on Mrs FB's face.  'If you think I'm going to see the final matches of the English cricket season, think again.'

Such an enticing project had never crossed FB's mind.  Instead, some weeks later, as Yorkshire put the coup de grace to their splendid season,  the happy couple were on their way to the airport.  Mrs FB was still in the dark, 'You're promising me that there's no cricket involved in this?' she said for the twentieth time that morning as they got in the taxi.

Finally FB came clean and revealed the tickets for a performance of La Boheme at Teatro Alla Scala, Milan. Mrs FB is not one to squeal with delight, but FB is sure she squealed inwardly with delight for, if Mrs FB has a favourite opera it is La Boheme.  FB has a sentimental fondness for it too, despite its lack of cricketing content.

Interior of La Scala Milan
The next night they took their seats in the stalls of the famous opera house and Rudolpho and Mimi began their doomed romance.  'Che gelida manina,' he sings (You're tiny hand is an ice cream.....). She replies, 'Mi chiamano Mimì, il perché non so. Sola, mi fo il pranzo da me stessa.'  (They call me Mimi, I don't know why, I make lunch for myself.)  They sing about looking forward to the coming of spring, not mentioning that the cricket season must be on its way.

Mrs FB had barely time to dry her eyes, when her excitement was taken to a new level in Act 2.  First a cute donkey made its way across the stage.  It was shortly followed by a full size white horse.  Both were only in non singing parts, but were still large as life. An opera with a horse in it.  FB felt the warm glow of Mrs FB's approval.  He felt securely in her good books.  Surely she won't complain so stentoriously when she trips over his cricket kit.

But perhaps the adventure has set Mrs FB planning?  Might she now be looking for a similar tribute to FB?  Is she combing the programmes of the world's leading opera houses to find a production of the Ring Cycle with the Valkyries represented as leg spin bowlers.


  1. ...or in tribute to another recent milestone, Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand (and 13) Posts?

  2. FB has clearly earned bonus points from this happy outcome but one suspects that a night at La Scala would be high on his to-do list in any case. A win-win situation all round then :-)