Saturday, 15 May 2010

Na zdraví

Why is it that everything, but everything is suffused with memories? It feels as though I will never be free from them. Never be able to look at something without a whole flood of remembering being released.
Or if I get to that point when objects are merely neutral, will I be happy?

I went to a meeting this evening in the village hall. A propos nothing at all, someone said that there was a bottle of wine there that belonged to one of us. As I had no recollection of ever leaving a bottle there, I didn't even bother to look up.
And then it was thrust into my hands. A dusty bottle of Soviet Russian champagne that I had given to someone to use as a prop in the village panto a couple of years back - and with it came a whole wagon train of memories.

R and I did a short Eastern European road trip in March 1990, just five months after the Berlin Wall fell. We drove to Berlin along the spooky link motorway, headed via Dresden and Leipzig down into Czechoslovakia, and then back up through Germany to stay with a friend in Essen for a few days. Just writing those words I can't believe it was 20 years ago; it remains as vivid in my head as though it had happened only last month. It was one of those trips that will stay with me forever, for a whole host of reasons.

After we left Prague and headed for the German border, we happened to stop at a layby where there was a man selling Czech beer from the back of his car. R, being R, had to buy a crate from him, plus a couple of beautiful lead crystal beer glasses - and this bottle of champagne. Since Russian fizz tends to be very much on the sweet side, it was almost certainly undrinkable then. I don't think we ever intended to open it.

Well the beer didn't last very long after we returned home, and I broke the second of the glasses a couple of months after R died. So I am left with the now almost certainly poisonous champagne. It is sitting on the kitchen counter looking at me.

So what on earth shall I do with it?
I have enjoyed in a bittersweet sort of way the little trip through the memory banks it triggered. It hasn't been missed for the last however long it was, and I really don't want it, yet it is sitting there still.

Bah! I thought I had moved on from keeping things just because, but it seems that I am still being held down by 'stuff'.

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