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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Evening at Ritz Cinema: Part 5

People don't wait in the street
until Ritz Cinema opens any more.

In All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot comes off as a fairly easygoing person.  I get the sense that, even if they didn’t show the promised movie about the Hebrides, he might have enjoyed his evening more at Ritz Cinema, had it not offered up such a wealth of distractions. 

As he and Helen sat up in the balcony, or the “courting seats” as Maggie, the blacksmith’s daughter called them, her giggles, constant glances at Helen, and knowing expression for James proved the least of the evening’s annoyances.  

Although the “tender love story” wasn’t the movie he had come to see, he mentions that it might have been fine had not the boys in the stalls below not accompanied each kiss with a chorus of long, drawn out sucking noises, interspersed with the occasional blown raspberry.  

Nor did the farmer sitting in front of him help matters.  James visited so many farms during his first years in Thirsk, that I can understand his forgetting the man’s face, let alone his name.  I can also understand his annoyance at the man constantly turning around, both before the first film, and during the intermission, and delivering continuous comments about the cow that had died due to Herriot’s faulty diagnosis and treatment.  Of course, he had known best how to treat the animal.  Why hadn’t the young veterinarian listened to him?

And all the time, the cinema, already like a “tropical jungle” when he and Helen arrived, grew hotter.

If one distraction kept us from fully immersing ourselves in “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” it was the ice cream we had purchased at the start of the evening.  As anyone who knows me can tell you, my eyes light up the moment ice cream is mentioned, and it was a delicacy I had gone without my first week in England.  The promised half-time came and went, and as my gaze flicked between the clock and the screen, I almost regretted having ordered it. 

Well into the second half of the movie, probably about thirty minutes before the end of the movie, the double doors to our right opened.  Instead of giggling Maggie, it was the attentive woman who had ventured outside to hand me a movie schedule ten minutes before the doors were due to open.  Like Maggie, on that night so long ago, she carried a tray at her waist, secured by a strap around her neck, and delivered a little carton of ice cream to all who had ordered one.  Unlike James and Helen, who had to buy their chocolate ice creams during the intermission to endure the sweltering heat, my wife and I savored our ice cream in perfect comfort. 

Of all the hundreds, if not thousands of times I’ve gone to the cinema, this was the first time I’ve enjoyed ice cream during a movie.  My wife got chocolate.  Unusually for me, I got Strawberry.  Mmmmmmmmmm…  What is it about England that makes me constantly try new things?

The long-anticipated treat added to our enjoyment of “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” and was the perfect way to top off our evening at Ritz Cinema.

Savoring our night at the Ritz,
Dragon Dave

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