Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (29) Love at a Canter (Part 06)
The Tivoli theatre was an old cinema originally built in the nineteen twenties.
At that time it was the only cinema for twenty miles in any direction so Abbottsford was the envy of the district, by the late seventies however films had gone out of fashion and the theatre was closed.
It was in disuse for more than ten years, it was however spared the indignity of becoming a bingo hall as many a fine picture house had when the cinema revival happened, Chris Bourne, a local man made good, who like many, had fond memories of the Tivoli, mainly associated with courting, restored the theatre to its former glory with the help and support of the Mornington Estate.
Ironically it was the advent of satellite television and video rental, supposed to give us all so much choice of home viewing, which seemed to spark the revival.
It was feared for a while that the renovations would be in vain as a new multiplex cinema was opened in the new Phoenix shopping center development.
But Chris Bourne was unperturbed and decided that the Tivoli should specialize in classic movies and retrospectives.
As a result people traveled from miles around, from all over Downshire and beyond, as they did in the twenties and thirties.
The theatre was located in the older part of town in what used to be the high street.
There were no longer any shops of note in the high street, they had long since moved into the Phoenix center and when the Abbottsford ring road was opened the High street was pedestrianized and this action inadvertently created a sort of leisure haven.
Where once the road had run were now benches, planters, ornamental lights and even a fountain.
The vacant shops had for some time been occupied by a collection of restaurants, fast food outlet's, bars, café’s and wine bars.
The only premises not connected to food or drink were charity shops, craft shops, second hand book shops, two art galleries and of course the Tivoli Theatre.
Hayley was early, which wasn’t like her at all, but it was worse than that she was twenty minutes early on that occasion but as she walked past the fountain she spotted Luke, who was also early.
“He’s keen” she thought to herself “that’s quite cute”
But after discovering her date was also early she hid behind the fountain because although she liked the fact that he was keen she didn’t want to give him the impression that she was.
From the safety of her hiding place she watched him sit at one of the outside tables at Luigi’s Café just opposite the Tivoli.
He ordered a drink and took out a newspaper but in the ten minutes she watched him sitting there it appeared he was struggling to concentrate because he kept folding and putting it down on the table the picking it up again, and he repeated that several times.
“That really is sweet” she thought and giggled.
Then a young woman walked up to him, an attractive brunette and they hugged, and it was a long hug then Luke gestured to an empty chair and she woman sat and then they chatted for a few minutes which was when she decided she didn’t care what kind of impression she gave him she was going over now to rescue him from the interloper.
So she walked around the long way, approaching him on his blind side and stopped in his peripheral vision almost immediately he turned around and seemed surprised to see her.
“Hi.” She said smiling broadly “You’re early.”
He stood up.
“Hi” Luke said and gazed at her speechless as if transfixed, and then he suddenly realized he was staring.
“It would appear Julie did a good job” she thought to herself
“Um this is Katie” He said snapping out of his trance “My sister”
Luke ordered drinks for Hayley and his sister and they laughed and joked for the next ten minutes until Luke suggested that he went to buy the tickets while Hayley finished her drink.
“That’s a good idea” She said and while he was gone Katie said
“You’ve made a big impression on him”
“Yes, he’s talked of little else all week” Katie
“I hope I can live up to the billing” Hayley said nervously
“Don’t worry” she replied “if the look on his face was anything to go by you already have”
When Luke returned Katie said her goodbyes and as they watched her walk away Hayley boldly slipped her hand into his and they turned their gaze upon each other smiled and made their way across to the theatre.