My Mazamet

Life at № 42

So – Sarah Porter – What can I say?

Sarah’s terrace and view in Gaucín

It’s true that the day after you get bad news is a little bit easier. Just a little, though.

Memories have been flashing in my mind all day yesterday and today. I was a mess when I first met Sarah. To be fair, so was she, and so was Mike. We were a merry mess. Those were the days. We drank like fish and smoked like chimneys. In fact the idea drunk driving was a problem hadn’t quite reached Southern Spain (and certainly not us) yet. So we drunkenly drove down her mountains after long lunches and she drunkenly drove away from our coast after long lunches. Long lunches were our thing. And roads were very much empty then as we all lived in splendid isolation.

Sarah was coming out of a relationship that had soured, and Mike and I were (in our first entire year) at war with each other – and the world. But life was fairly simple. The Euro was a novelty and we still counted in pesetas. A three course lunch at the old Venta Garcia (now the modern Venta Garcia) was 2000 pesetas (12 new Euros) and included a little pitcher of Rioja each. We always had more than a pitcher each and lunch always ended with the owner, Jesus, at our table. As in Garcia, not of Nazareth. Although in Spain, you never know, he could also be of Nazareth. Everyone said he had a crush on me. I was cute then, so that was a normal thing. Everyone had a crush on me 😀 I also wore dramatic things like the Hussard jacket by Roberto Cavalli. The only other person I know who had that was Michael Jackson. He gave his to charity.

A Young Agendist

Let’s see, let’s see. What are the highlights?

In later years Sarah told me I was appalling in the early days (meaning my early 20’s). One of my first gifts to her was a cookbook. I thought I was being nice, but apparently giving someone a cookbook with limited calorie diet recipes can be perceived as insulting. I suppose that means our German neighbours must have also been insulted when I gave them Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette.

One of my favourite Sarah moments was in a restaurant. A father at a table next to us was really picking on his son of about 9 or 10 years old. This went on and on. By the time our main courses arrived Sarah had had enough. She turned to the boy and said “Your father is a wanker. No one should speak to you this way and everyone here is thinking the same thing as me.” The child let out a little burst of laughter and the father was so shocked he just sat there in silence for the rest of the meal.

Another moment came circa 2009, also at a restaurant. She was already ill and had a little portable oxygen tank – which fell over and made incredible noises. Like a bomb was about to go off. People were starting to stand up and panic. She stood up, put her hands in the air and said “Calm down everyone, I’m English.”

Of course I can’t leave out the big one which was when the financial crash happened. We were heavily invested in real-estate and had poured a ton of money into Villa Trianon expecting Villa l’Africaine would sell and we’d be able to pay our debts… The Spanish property market froze. Our financial investments lost approximately half their value and part of the money used on VT had been a mortgage we took out on VA. Anyway, Sarah invited us to lunch on her terrace and told us she had a six figure amount sitting in a bank account getting very little interest. If we could match that interest, we could have it with no payback date. However long it took was fine. And even if she died before we could pay it back we were simply to make a donation in her name to her theatre which was the Bristol Old Vic.

That was the most amazing thing anyone (apart from Mike) has ever done for me – ever. And we managed the whole thing beautifully. When she wanted a new car we found a way to get her a new car and so forth. Never a moment of awkwardness or distrust.

Anita sent us a gorgeous picture of a young Sarah this morning:

And now back to processing my thoughts.

 

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23 comments on “So – Sarah Porter – What can I say?

  1. Carmen
    August 15, 2018

    I am shaking my head, Mr. M. Thanks for the glimpse into a life which is very different than mine; it really is supremely interesting. (We thought hubby’s uncle was extremely generous in 1978 to lend us $15,000 (no interest) towards the purchase of our house – which cost $32,500). I know it’s a sad day, losing your friend, but I’m willing to bet that you enriched her life despite the cook book episode. (Who KNEW?). 😉
    I am smiling.

    Liked by 6 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 15, 2018

      It was an amazing gesture, first because she wasn’t wealthy, and second because considering the way the world looked at that point it was a monumental risk. She was basically saying she was prepared to give up much of her savings to make sure we could stay in our home.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Kris Jennings
    August 15, 2018

    She sounds absolutely fantastic and, you, an absolutely fantastic piece of work (then and now).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Helen Devries
    August 15, 2018

    So kind a friend….clearly she had long forgiven you the cookbook….
    I have candidates for the book of etiquette…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Arkenaten
    August 15, 2018

    What marvelous memories. This is what you must recall every time you think of her.
    Friends such as she was are as rare as hen’s teeth.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. acflory
    August 16, 2018

    People my generation would say ‘What a character!’ I love that bit where she explains all by saying ‘I’m English’.

    I don’t think any of us believe in an afterlife, but these anecdotes have given Sarah Porter a kind of immortality because she will be remembered by people who never knew her at all. Keep remembering, Pinky. -hugs-

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 17, 2018

      I wish there was more about her out there. She was once married to a famous director who died a while back and she couldn’t believe none of the obituaries mentioned her existence in his life…

      Like

      • acflory
        August 18, 2018

        You remember her, you and Mike. That’s what counts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Viktor Lindeboom
        October 27, 2018

        Hi, another picture from Sarah in her young(er) years, somewhere in 1979/1980, what’s your email address? In that time, also the time of her divorce from Jim, I was her part-time companion, VL

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        October 28, 2018

        What a wonderful picture! My email is pink.agendist at yahoo.com

        Like

  6. Bela Johnson
    August 16, 2018

    Crazy times. I had them as well. Mostly with my beautiful gay male friends. Happy to have outgrown most of it, but when we get together as older people, we’re just as bad. Just not 20 and hot anymore. 😝

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 17, 2018

      I’m not sure I’m happy to have outgrown it. There was something special about being lost in that way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Esme upon the Cloud
    August 17, 2018

    “Calm down everyone, I’m English.” – Ha! She was very funny as well as wild and generous then – a truly perfect tribute is this Mr Pink, I’m sure she’s laughing away at it on her own Cloud as I have been. Picking out the joys is how to keep someone alive in yourself and the universe, and you clearly do that dear. ❤

    This –

    'I suppose that means our German neighbours must have also been insulted when I gave them Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette.' – Good lord. Fantastic though.

    'I was cute then, so that was a normal thing. Everyone had a crush on me' – Hahahaha. You're hardly Brian Blessed now! The crush part, was that until you opened your mouth? *falls about*

    – Esme Cloud x
    .

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 17, 2018

      Interestingly enough… I was looking at old pictures and found one of my straight (clubbing) friend of that period. He didn’t let anyone with a crush anywhere near me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Osyth
    August 17, 2018

    Losing true friends is the hardest thing. They are the family we chose, the family we surround ourselves with because they are our fit. Go softly whilst you process your thoughts and know that by writing such a buoyant and effervescent piece, Sarah is alive and well and living in your heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. theoccasionalman
    August 19, 2018

    I’m so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. karenjane
    August 21, 2018

    Reading this several days late….but Sarah sounds the most wonderful person, sensible, very kind and she has left you with many treasured memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 21, 2018

      Not least of which was that she was responsible for us getting our last Irish Wolfhound, Tara 🙂 She called us in a panic at 1am because she’d heard some people in Ronda were going to put down wolfhound puppies and we had to *do something*…

      Liked by 1 person

      • karenjane
        August 22, 2018

        She sounds even more lovely hearing that.

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 15, 2018 by in thinking aloud and tagged , , .
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