It Was a Perfect Day

Monday 9th October 2017

So finally it came. On Sunday 1st October, in a simple Cretan Village House, I took 60 years. It was a great relief, after much dread, when it came. Cloudless Brahms did a special flower arrangement. He is one of Shoreditch’s leading flower arrangers, amongst many other things and no longer buys Designer Labels, although with finger brilliantly on the pulse of fashion. It was incredible. I felt more alive, not less, as logic would dictate.

Merle Barr suggested a gorge. ‘It’s your birthday,’ she said. ‘You must decide.’ Well, I was quite decided on the gorge. And what a coup it turned out to be. I took the wheel and only ladies accompanied, Merle herself and Fern, Angus’s sister. Both played brilliantly the role of ladies in a car being driven by a man. ‘You’re too close to the edge… I feel queasy… why have you slowed down?…. you’re going too slowly… you’re in the wrong gear… I feel queasy… go faster…’ At journey’s end, Fern said she was beginning to recover. I was not sure how we would get back, me having started out more or less able to drive. In the cement village before the gorge, Merle said, ‘There’s a tourist bus outside that restaurant.’ So we went to the other one, which was cement that had once been painted yellow ochre. There was a Cretan boy playing with a puppy and several fat men way off fitness’s peak having Sunday lunch, one also blotchy. A woman was on her feet and serving but spoke no English so the blotchy man had to be consulted, as well as the puppy boy, who howled ‘No’ very firmly in English when asked if he could speak English. Greek salad was agreed upon, despite absence of English, as well as water and beer. The woman appeared with a huge bowl of the salad which we set about dividing between us when she appeared with two more – one each. Then she loomed with beans of various kinds. I said, ‘She’s going to bring an uninvited rabbit next.’ Luckily she didn’t because we were facing a huge Angus Willis dinner (only one of Britain’s leading chefs) back at the Cretan Village House. But she did bring water melon and raki. There was talk as to what it would all cost. Merle and Fern betted on €12 – and they were right.

Then we went to the gorge. It was like Germany or Scotland rather than Crete. Dank and ferny although there were no ferns or conifers. I had high outfit satisfaction. I was buoyant enough on my 60th birthday for the Prada flower power t-shirt (I didn’t get the matching shorts from the Prada Factory shop in Montevarchi, Italy – regret. I could carry them off now, in my 60s. What an ensemble that would have been for the gorge!). Merle had mentioned suitable hiking wear but I had taken no notice. She had a rucksack. But it was just a muddy path, although very gorge-like with rock veering above. There was a little chapel with many icons. Val would have said it was a Chapel of Love, as, so he claims, Barbara Cartland proclaimed of many chapels that she saw with a particularly sincere and moving upward purr in her voice. But I wonder, in retrospect, whether it wasn’t a Last Chance to Be Spared in the Gorge Chapel. Further on we met a Polish couple from Harlesden. We wondered, out of earshot, whether he was Roma. Then suddenly they weren’t there. There were many interesting plants in the gorge, which at home are choice garden specimens. ‘We must climb down,’ said Merle. The whole tempo of the gorge suddenly changed, as if someone had changed the points on a railway line. Ladders, scree, precarious bridges. On a precipice some Spanish people wanted their photo taken. They were insistent as to angles. I had to stand near the edge and put my brief case/clutch bag by Lancel down. ‘Throw off that bag if you stumble,’ Merle commanded, thinking now of danger. ‘Save yourself, not the bag.’ As if…  a violent final push and we were at the bottom of the gorge.  It was like a river bed. But how to get out again? The path was not clear. To go back the way we had come would have been tedious, if we could find even that way. A cleft between boulders possibly had been trodden before, offered hope. To get to it an especially smooth rock slope had to be conquered, unlikely to be fatal, but tricky. With my Designer bag by Lancel (2nd hand from Vestiaire Collective), I was limited to one free hand so the only choice was to take a running leap. My new Zara slacks in honey beige made full contact but by a miracle weren’t marked. Paul Smith’s bootees slid and yapped with their own life. Only by my fingers, such as were not employed in keeping the bag by Lancel clear, did I cling on and without quite knowing how reach the top more or less horizontal. Then it was Merle’s turn. What a drama! It was more that we might not get out rather than die. On we forged, the clambering pathway continuing mercifully until a sign in Greek pointing the other way. But hope and excitement were mounting. How utterly thrilling to be at the bottom of a gorge without warning, in Crete, in an outfit, with a Designer bag, on my 60th birthday.

We got out and went to a particularly good Cretan village picked out by Merle. It was styled as tumbledown. In the cemetery Hitler had apparently been buried. Growing in the wall was a Marvel of Peru, as grown this year by the Gay Mother. Back at the Cretan village house we had a rabbit dinner by Angus Willis, outdoors with a big gale getting up and Miss Miracle, the daughter of Fern and niece of Angus, getting more than usually stained at the table. The last throws of summer and my birthday. It was a perfect day.

Cloudless Brahms - one of Shoreditch's Leading Flower Arrangers

Cloudless Brahms – one of Shoreditch’s Leading Flower Arrangers

The Cretan Birthday Gorge: Very Gorge-Like

The Cretan Birthday Gorge: Very Gorge-Like

The Gorge Chapel of Love

The Gorge Chapel of Love

My Bag by Lancel in the Gorge

My Bag by Lancel in the Gorge

Fern, Merle and Me, Adrian Edge, in Prada Flower Power, in the Gorge

Fern, Merle and Me, Adrian Edge, in Prada Flower Power, in the Gorge

The Village of Arani, Styled

The Village of Arani, Styled

HItler's Grave at Last? Buried in the Cemetery at Arani

HItler’s Grave at Last? Buried in the Cemetery at Arani

A Marvel of Peru Growing Wild at Arani

A Marvel of Peru Growing Wild at Arani

 

Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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2 comments

  1. Save yourself, not the bag!

    Wise words for life.

    Glorious photos including magnificent birthday Prada.

    Happy birthday sublime Adrian!

  2. Adrian Edge says:

    Thank you! Thank you!

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