Thursday, May 12, 2011

When I lived in London I used to run what was referred to as a 'salon' every Tuesday night in my Ladbroke grove flat. That may sound a little pretentious and frightening but it was not, far from it. We had a lot of fun and often played silly games that we invented; there was events or music now and then: once a lady operasinger whose name now escapes me performed a one woman opera she had composed herself; there was wine tasting,(and much wine drinking...)there was a talk entitled 'How to grow sweet peas in the confines of a London flat' which had everyone actually planting some there and then in little pots and lots of earth spilled on the parquet flooring; David, my most frequent comment writer once gave a fascinating talk about Madam Butterfly.

There was a large impossibly difficult jigsaw puzzle worked on by some people while others chatted. The puzzle lived under my bed for the rest of the week. Finally we got fed up with it and one Tuesday we decided to finish it by cutting up the last pieces and banging them in any old way.

I remember a magic Tuesday- it was one of the last ones- when we started talking about Happiness. It was decided that every new person that walked in through the door had to give their definition of Happiness, and they all did, amazingly. I cannot remember what they said, only that each and every one seemed to sparkle that night somehow, and that finally one girl said: ' Happiness is to be here with you all tonight'.
I never had any idea who would turn up. Anyone could come and bring people. Sometimes there were twenty people, sometimes just three. I served soup and bread at ten o'clock.
There was only one rule: if there was ever a Tuesday when noone came, that would spell the end. That Tuesday finally came. It would of course have been possible to continue and not to tell anyone. But I felt compelled to follow the rules I had made: the magic had been broken and I believed it was over.

A few months later several of the former 'salonistas' went to Mali together. On the picture above Lucy in orange next to me (in the middle), and Andrew in cream jacket standing behind me were part of the Mali Journey Christmas and New Year 2005-2006without which there would not be a Hotel Djenne Djenno...

Last Tuesday there was a very jolly reunion of 'Sophie's salonistas' courtesy of Edward and of Zsusza, two of my most faithful Tuesday visitors. Since my flat is now let, Edward lent us his lovely Notting Hill flat. George was sadly missed, having also been a frequent Tuesday member.


Blogger jm.herraiz said...

Dear Sophie,
Here you can see the short documentary I made about Djenneba. Maybe it can help.
I appreciate your quick reply!!
Best regards
José Manuel

10:36 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Jose,
I wrote a reply the other day but it was wiped off! I was worried I had lost you. About your friend,
the answer is no, I am afraid, I don't know Djenneba. I think if she was there I would know of her. I will make enquiries tonight about what has happened to her and get back to you
All the best

6:36 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Jose,
the documentary is ravishing! I recommend anyone who reads this to check out the link
I think I have located Djenneba for you. She is in Bamako.I have her phone no but will not post it here. Please contact me on

7:44 PM  

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