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Monday, 25 January 2010

Ring a ring a poesy.



"There is something my partner and I have wanted to ask you for several years now,” said the Eagle after we had finished the chocolate and Cointreau mousse I had made her for supper.
“You don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to. If you feel we’re being too intrusive for example.”
By now I was intrigued to know precisely what the question would be.
“Is that a wedding ring on your hand.?” enquired the Eagle
I looked at the simple gold band on the ring finger of my left hand. It might at first glance resemble a simple wedding band, but it is in fact a love token or poesy ring dating from the 1660s. Inside are inscribed the words: “The Love is all” and the goldsmith’s mark.
“Where did it come from?” asked the Eagle in tones of genuine curiosity.
“I bought it at an antique’s fair in Covent Garden and before that it was probably  ripped from off the hand of a plague victim,” I replied solemnly.

The Eagle’s remarks brought back memories of the film “Poltergeist” which I had watched at a friend’s house. The plot concerns the unsettling consequences for a family, who have inadvertently bought a house atop a former Indian burial site. Only after we had watched the film did my friend explain that her house had been built on top of a 17th century plague pit. I slept rather badly that night as I imagined the shades of 17th century plague victims, still dressed in their rotting shrouds, trying to get in. Thank Heavens, I did not own my antique ring at the time. It would have been my misfortune to have the original owner tap the glass of the bedroom window, whilst exclaiming indignantly: ”You do realise that’s my ring you’re wearing!”
 
My poesy ring has rescued me from potentially awkward romantic situations on more than one occasion. One night I was on my way home from the gym when a young man stopped me in the street.
“Do you know Sarah? he asked. “I am sure I saw you at a party with Sarah.”
“I don’t know anybody called Sarah,” I replied in genuine puzzlement.
“Really? I was sure I had seen you before. So,” he hesitated before continuing,” would you like to go out with me?”
It dawned on me that Sarah didn’t exist. Well if the young man had made use of an imaginary woman to strike up a conversation, I would make use of an imaginary man to end it.
“That’s very kind of you, “ I simpered. “But,” I said raising my be-ringed left hand to my neck, “I don’t think my husband would approve.”
“He is a very lucky man,” came the reply.
“Thank-you”, I said. I silently agreed that my imaginary husband was lucky to have me for a wife, just as the imaginary Sarah was extremely lucky to have me as a friend.

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