Roger Gales

One of the great things about my life is the way I never know how the next day will pan out. So to plan a week ahead is impossible, this last weekend although planned was enhanced in a thoroughly unexpected way with the arrival of our old friend Roger.

It all started a week ago; we have been planning our Christmas milonga for some time now so when I got an email from Roger we of course had to invite him. We met Roger in 2006 in a milonga in Buenos Aires with, his then, girlfriend (now his wife).  We hit it off immediately and like all great friends we can go for months with little or no contact and then meet up as if we have never been apart.

Now his wife is back in Cordoba (Argentina) looking after her mother and Roger is readying a house for their use in Birmingham. Great news for us and when he accepted out invite for the milonga we were overjoyed.

Well it was going to be busy whatever; our usual events could not be ignored so Wednesday night we attended our usual dance in Ewloe Social Club. On Thursday we had The Lache Afternoon Tea Dance that we help with, and then, just to relax again we were at Saltney Social Club for the evening dance.

Friday morning we had a complete technological break down. Mobile coverage is, at best, patchy in Gresford, but today it was nonexistent. My internet connection was also on the blink, but it got worse: My new amplifier, bought especially for tonight started screaming at me and my attempts to phone the dealer made me realize that the phone lines were also dead.

We had shopping to do for the evening so I just left it all for later and we went out. Rushing around town Friday morning, I finally managed to get in touch with Roger on the mobile phone. He said he would be arriving about five.

He arrived to much joyous hugging and we relaxed for a short while catching up on old times, we had a lesson booked at six so we could not linger too long. We had a light snack and got ourselves ready, then Roger disappeared upstairs while we had our lesson. At the end of the class I joked that we could let Roger out now “Is he a dog” I was asked, well that became the joke of the weekend. I said “Yes I can’t keep him in there too long as he chews the bottom of the door” then I called “come on Roger, come on” to which he came panting down the stairs like a dog. As you can see we share the same sense of humor, this weekend was going to be fun.

Well the amplifier decided to work (just for the duration of the milonga but no longer) and the playlist was complete, all we needed now were the dancers. Well soon they came, more and more of them, this had the makings of our best night ever.

Just when we thought that everyone was here more arrived; Jan who could not find our address had tried to phone, but of course, the phone was down, so she was late. Ralph and Kim arrived, but not realizing there was food on, they had eaten first.

Everyone brought more food and everyone danced, the buzz of the evening just got better as the night went on. Eventually when the wine had run low and people got tired they all drifted off, leaving us on too much of a high to go to bed so we sat there talking and drinking until the wee small hours.

Roger had agreed to stay with us until the Stafford milonga on Sunday, so we had a day together on Saturday.

We rearranged a midday class for later on and set out to show him some of our local tourist sites, ending up for lunch at the Telford Inn. We elected to have the steak pie which left us stuffed for the afternoon and in no great condition for the class to come. Still we managed a great class and even re used the Roger in the attic joke.

The evening was now free for us to attend another event from ■Salsa Wales. Although there is some tango this is mainly ballroom and sequence dancing, so Roger was not expecting to have to do too much. How wrong he was, and he was game for everything. Before long he was burning the floor with some improvised ball room moves that he remembered from long ago. We got him up for a few of the easier sequences and he was up salsaing and tangoing at every opportunity.

By the time we got home he was as knackered as we were. I had the feeling he would not be up early the next morning. Still we were up in time for a light brunch (party leftovers) and showers before setting off for Stafford.

Now, Viv and I have never done any Canyengue classes although Roger has, but none of us are used to taking classes these days. We have got so used to improvising tango that any sort of routine would be difficult. Also Roger was not booked in so we were not sure if he would be able to participate. Fortunately some leaders had dropped out so Roger joined us in the class.

Geoff gave an excellent class and answered some of the questions that I had on canyengue. I have watched it danced in Buenos Aires and even attempted a bit on my own, but without explanation it can be a bit hard to grasp the basics. I think though, at the end, we will need a bit more practice.

Tango Stafford, as always put on a great milonga. The empanadas were awesome, how Geoff manages to get that genuine Buenos Aires taste is amazing. Shame he could not give us a recipe, I will just have to put in an order for some. The range of food was, if anything, bigger than ours, and my diet has now crashed.

At a little after seven, so did I. I had hit the wall, there was alternative music playing (which tends to dull my dance drive anyway) my feet were aching and I had thoughts of having to rise at five the next morning. So with an hour and a half drive ahead I had had enough. Even a request from, possibly the most awesomely beautiful woman I know for a dance would not get me up.  Maybe if it had been D’Arienzo or DiSarli and not Piazzola I could have got motivated but no, I was not for moving. I hated to leave her disappointed, but maybe if she reads this she will understand.

I drove home and was in bed by nine thirty and asleep before my head hit the pillow. Still I was exhausted all the next shift, but it was all worth it.

There is just time to wish Geoff and Pauline bon voyage and hope they enjoy their trip to Buenos Aires, without too much jealousy (although a little) as we will, no doubt be there again in May, and my time of retirement is not that far off now. Then I too can spend that long over there (petulant lip sticking out at this point).

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo to all my readers.  See you again in the New Year.



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