On December 2nd 1994 Fiona and I went to see the film Four Weddings and a Funeral at the National Film Theatre in London.
Her friend, Margaret Sherrin, who worked there, had given her two free tickets.
There is only one day in the whole film on which a wedding or funeral does not take place, and that is when the central character, Charles, played by Hugh Grant, is buying a wedding gift for the woman he loves, played by Andie MacDowell. She is betrothed to another man.
Whilst shopping he bumps into her, and they go off for coffee. In the midst of it he recalls that he has an appointment with his brother.
He dashes off to meet him.
It turns out that the appointment is to see a film at the National Film Theatre!
Charles feels that he must tell the lady of his true feelings. As she walks away along the bank of the Thames, and past the Royal Festival Hall, he runs back to her and professes his love.
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In February 1994 I had asked a waitress called Charlotte at the Blue Bridge Café in Camden to give me her phone number.
I knew that she was an actress and I gave the pretext that I might be able to get her employment as a telephone salesperson, since I knew that actor’s voices often come across well in that profession.
Although that was partly my intention, I also had more direct designs. Subsequent calls elicited the response that she would like to go out on a date.
But then she kept leaving her answer machine on and not replying to my messages.
A few days after my first call I saw her on TV in the highly acclaimed drama Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranges_Are_Not_the_Only_Fruit
When I next spoke to her by phone she said that she had done some acting, including her own sitcom with Anne Bancroft.
I asked what had been her last role and she said that it was in a film that would soon be released called Four Weddings and A Funeral.
"Oh I’ve heard of it!" I replied, having heard the actress Kristin Scott-Thomas speak of it not long before on a brief chat show appearance.
She remained unconvinced.
In what became for a while the most successful British film ever, Charlotte Coleman played Scarlett, the woman who lives with Hugh Grant.
Yet their relationship seems platonic. Grant’s character, Charles, falls in love with the character played by Andie MacDowell, but makes her insist that they never, ever marry.
In November 2001, Charlotte Coleman suffered an asthma attack and was found dead at her London home. She was thirty-three, as was I when I asked her out.
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For further blending of fact and fiction consider, e.g. the naming of first born sons in Entry 128, Entry 139, where Constable Corkhill gets duffed up by the villains that he has gone to apprehend and thus is prevented from attending his TV wedding, from where Dr Watson makes his entrance in Entry 142 and also Entry 110: their Christmas issue.