Well, we have Mother’s’ Day, Father’s Day, Pancake Day, Groundhog Day, Hogmanay, many Saint Days, Grandparents’ Day and now we have another National Day…..Silver Sunday to celebrate older people……and one need not have children to qualify for this one! It’s the first time I have heard about this so I am contributing a blog to mark the occasion. I had difficulty in finding a silver scarf so have had to come up with a smart grey gentleman’s kerchief which is the nearest thing to silver I could find. Unisex fashion is all around us. We girls have pinched waistcoats and trousers from the guys and it seems every Scotsman getting married these days wants to wear a pleated tartan skirt! Some football supporters north of the border also seem to enjoy the kilt’s windy freedom from waist down! So I will happily wear my man’s silk hankie. Folded in two, with the triangle at the front, it ties neatly at the back of my neck. It’s quite posh by Charles Tyrwhitt who made a fortune selling equally posh men’s shirts on line and then opened smart shops, his wife being equally successful with her own White Company. Wow! Two online and store entrepreneurs in one family!
There will be Silver Sunday events all over Britain today from the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, St.Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Hampton Court Palace and even a cream tea in Marble Hill House near my home. Shall I take a short bus ride there or will I go off on one of my special memory trips on the magic carpet? The latter, I think, so where to go?
The first thought in my head when I heard about Silver Sunday was Silverado. So where is this? We’ll have to do a transatlantic trip then travel across America to reach the Napa Valley in California. I don’t know how it is today but in the early Eighties, this country club was one of our favourite places to have Sunday Brunch, a swim or a game of golf. In these days, my now shortish silver hair was long and golden. The silver-haired old lady we took to brunch was my elderly mother in law visiting from England. The brunch was buffet-style and she could not believe the variety of desserts on offer. We watched in amazement as she polished off about six of these temptations. She did travel with a bottle of indigestion medication which was swigged back like the Advocaat and Whites lemonade she would favour at Christmas. A wonderful old lady, who had never flown in her life until she was well into her seventies when she took her maiden flight to South Africa on her own to attend a wedding. She would go there again, and also make two trips to Hong Kong and two to San Francisco. A true silver traveller. When we returned from our years abroad, we took her to Ibiza. No, she didn’t go clubbing in her nineties but she might have been up for it. Yet she did feel lonely in her latter years. She used to say all her friends had died. Yes, I approve of Silver Sunday if it helps to connect older folks and introduce new interests in their lives.
I loved these Sundays in California…..so many silver memories in that golden state. There was our Silver Wedding at the Alta Mira Hotel. If you walked your dog with the owner’s wife, Mrs Wachter, there was always a table available as a ‘local’ to enjoy Eggs Benedict with a Ramos Fizz at this historic place a few minutes walk from our house. It had a wonderful verandah overlooking the Bay beyond Alcatraz to San Francisco. We certainly were well catered for at our Silver Wedding dinner. Then what luck that one of our dear neighbour guests, formerly a dancer in Ivor Novello shows on Broadway, who reputedly had a fling with the said composer/actor/impresario, took to the piano and give an impromptu entertainment. Can’t truly say that ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again’ is my cup of tea and ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ didn’t seem to have much significance in balmy California.
We much preferred our other musical treats on Sunday adventures in Napa and Sonoma when we would visit some of the many wineries. From the unscheduled Ivor Novello melodies in 1980 at our silver wedding, the following year we would listen to Dave Brubeck playing Take Five at the Mondavi Winery. Some of the world’s greatest jazz with a glass of excellent wine in the open air. It doesn’t get much better. Oh yes, it did. Ella Fitzgerald the next year, same venue. A Sunday brunch, then listening to first class artists in beautiful surroundings, were we not privileged? Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, San Francisco. Which artist would not want to perform there? We listened to Frank Sinatra, George Shearing (lovely chat with this great blind jazz pianist who was so pleased to find a fellow Londoner, my husband, in the Paul Masson winery audience) Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, etc. Sometimes these performances would be at a winery, others in a hotel, casino or concert hall, the most enjoyable certainly in the open air in the gentle vine-clad Napa Valley hills.
So, what now?
As I said, my long golden hair is now a shorter bob, definitely more silver than gold; the Silverado Country Club and many of the vineyards were affected by the terrible wildfires of recent years; most of these performers are dead; the Alta Mira Hotel such a fashionable place steeped in history, even featuring as the crime site in the TV series STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO with Michael Douglas, is now an expensive rehab centre for drugs, booze…..whatever. It is now securely gated. I wonder if I might find that old series on catch up TV or Netflix? Another thing on the ‘To Do’ list!
I will quickly store away my flying carpet for this week, see that my Charles Tyrwhitt scarf is still neatly in place, add some dangly silver earrings, catch the bus for three or four stops and enjoy that cream tea event at Marble Hill House, the refurbished 18th century villa of the mistress of King George the Second. Fortunately, I am not lonely and I will make a point of chatting to someone who may be. I hope SILVER SUNDAY goes from strength to strength.
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 65.