Bath Festival

I had my first taste of avocado in Bath.


When I was about 15 or 16, a gentleman benefactor offered to take two students to a couple of concerts during the annual Bath festival. For some reason, possibly because I was studying ‘O-level’ music and working towards my Grade V piano exam, Nigel and I were invited.

It was a glamorous day out for me, all dolled up in my Sunday best. One year I sported a very ‘60s floral trouser suit, and walking in front of Nigel and the gentleman, I distinctly heard him ask Nigel why I had word my pyjamas.

Strolling around Bath I noticed the golden soft sandstone architecture seemed to reflect the warmth of the sunlight. In summer the pedestrian precincts were lined with colourful hanging baskets. There were tourists and buskers, barges on the canal, ducks on the river, and a diverse assortment of people; older ladies who still wore hats and gloves to go out for morning tea; long-haired ‘travellers’ en route for Glastonbury Tor, where they might trog up the hill to talk to Gwyn ap Nudd, king of the fairies, and business men in suits and bowler hats mingling with shoppers in clothes from Oxfam.

Bath alley of flowers

I rather think the music at the Festival concerts was way over my head at that stage, but the outing always included a good lunch in a smart restaurant, which reinforced the theory that there is a direct connection between a full tummy and the weight of the eyelids. The afternoon concerts were always a yawn-suppressing exercise, no matter how exciting the programme. I always hoped for Mozart or Chopin, but usually got Kodaly or Rimsky-Korsakov. Nigel did better than me with both the lunch and the concert.

Being brought up to have good manners, I chewed my way through my avocado vinaigrette, unable to appear ungrateful, although Nigel had done good justice to his. It was many years before I tried avo again, but by that time my taste buds had matured and I discovered how really yummy they are.


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