Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(104) Grandmasters meeting Fiona Pitt-Kethley

I bought an Evening Standard on February 25th 1994 and saw a letter from bawdy poet, Fiona Pitt-Kethley. I had heard this woman speak in Bedford five years earlier, and decided that I would like to meet her.

So that evening I rang her, saying I would like to obtain some signed copies of her works. We arranged to meet at her Hastings home on the afternoon of Sunday 27th.
But things did not run smoothly.

I left home in Luton and asked for the times of trains to Hastings from London Victoria to arive circa 2:30 p.m.
But upon arrival at Victoria I found out that I had been incorrectly given the time of a train which only left on weekdays, not weekends.

I rang Fiona. She had told me that she would be going out at around 3:30. But the train that I did catch stopped just one minute out of Victoria, and after several minutes we heard the announcement that there had been a derailment and we would therefore be returning to the station.
I rang her again to explain, and we made an appointment to meet the next Saturday.

On 28th February 1994 I bought the Evening Standard and to my surprise saw that it contained a full page interview with Fiona with accompanying photo.

It said that the promiscuous poet had fallen in love, for the first time, if her uninvolved infatuation with poet Hugo Williams were discounted.
The object of her amour, it was stated, was a German chessplayer whom she had recently met at the annual end of year Hastings congress.

I had taken part in this event for each of the previous ten years, but on this occasion I had declined the invite.

Later Fiona told me that this guy had claimed that he was a Grandmaster.
He was not.

Then on March 17th 1994 I had arranged to meet her at London St Pancras station. She was due to arrive in London at 3:45 and then make her way to St Pancras. I had to leave work, near Oxford Circus, at 4:p.m. and then travel there.

I anticipated arriving there to find her awaiting me, but as I mounted some steps at St Pancras I bumped into someone on my right.

We apologised to each other... and then I saw that it was Fiona herself.

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