Isn’t waking up on a Sunday morning blissful? A whole day stretching ahead with no demands on my time or appointments to keep. Right now I am still tucked up in bed, laptop resting on knees, dog curled at my feet, (his peaceful snoring is somehow mediative) and a cup of herbal tea within reach.
Mr D cooked all day yesterday, while the sun shone brightly, his culinary efforts for us to wander off and picnic down by the river today. While the sun has to penetrate the grey clouds, we are resolute to but perhaps in the shelter of the car!
Last week I spent a heavenly long weekend in the Cotswolds – the weather was glorious and Broadway was teeming with tourists! Spring is not far away! It’s good to get away from the flat and work for a while; the dog enjoys the walled garden of our little cottage and his freedom to meander in and out without being escorted at all times!
We travelled further to Birmingham to visit friends on the Saturday and I had the pleasure of wandering the rag market where I bought some fantabulous lace and trimmings – the jewelled colours suggestive of Indian origins. There was a hodgepodge of jostling stalls selling fabric, jewellery, hosiery, bags, clothing and kitchenware it was a cacophony of bustle and banter.
Mr D revelled in the food market, while I took in the sights of a busy ethnic emporium: huge calf feet, chickens that still resembled the original creature heads and and feet intact, ( I admit to a certain horrific fascination!) as well as authentic Chinese food, packchoi, noodles and odd looking crackers. I loved the bustle and hustle of the shouts from the traders as they offered their wares. How much richer is this experience than our supermarket isles. The fish counter was a sight to behold! Glassy eyes and open mouthed fish, their scales sparkling among the beds of ice, prepared and ready for cooking. Mr D bought two Tuna fish steaks, served to him quickly and efficiently – delicious the next day still tasting of the sea!
We satisfied the hunger all the food has created, in a nearby noodle bar. I felt as if we had travelled to a distant country; this was not familiar Chinese take away food or the elegance of a Chinese Restaurant, rather the flavour of street food, steamy bowls of soup, floating wonton noodles and scalding green tea in plastic beakers. The place was packed – with lots of Chinese – enhancing the sense of authenticity, while the tiny waitresses weaved efficiently between the tables, balancing huge steaming bowls of food in deep reds, pale yellows and fluffy white. I ate a whole dish of pack choi – glazed in salty oyster sauce, it feels like soul food, and sublimely delicious.
I have been to the theatre three times in 10 days! My dear friend N and I went to see the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas at Chichester Festival Theatre. The Book was so cleverly written – a perspective of the holocaust from a naive ten year old boy, has enabled school children everywhere to understand a little of this dark period in history. It is called a fable – a tale to include a warning – an apt description.
I was intrigued to see how the play would retain the strength of the boy’s narrative on the stage; it was very well done. The bleakness of the location was creatively accomplished – the clack of typewritten script introducing various elements of the story together with black and white projections of trains, and ghettos.
The genius of Boyne’s writing remained in the stage play, the boy referred to an important man called ‘The Fury’ and the bleak home was in a place called ‘Out with’ The book itself never confirms what it is all about, rather allows the reader to make their own conclusions.
The two young actors were outstanding, the main character in particular was on stage throughout the whole play, (to maintain the story form his perspective) – he never faltered. The brilliantly played adults slow unravelling at being in such a difficult position was at the periphery of the story, as it would be in the eyes of child.
A sad, multi layered bleak tale – one that did leave me a little tearful. A fable indeed, the hope that we will tear down the walls we build – to protect us from … the muslims, immigrants, you name it. (its all too easy.) The stark warning at the end of the fable “surely this would never happen again’ tolls a loud in my ears. When I taught this book in schools we only had to look at a few newspaper headlines to see how fences and walls are well and truly tall and rigid today.
I went to see A Night of Dirty Dancing at the Regent Theatre Thursday last, which was an entirely different matter! The young performers put so much energy into the story of Baby and Johnny’s romance. Comic performances and tremendous singing combined to have us laughing and tapping our feet in no time. There was quite a lot of ‘suggestive’ dancing, bare chest and six pack exposure that had my heart racing a little – until horror of horrors I realised they were the same age as my son! (at that point I did feel approximately 100 years old!) Thankfully the upbeat music, and the dancing soon had me tapping my feet again and we both left the Theatre with beaming smiles!
As we chatted amiably about this and that in the carpark, we watched the actors loading up their van and heading off to the next town. I have to admire these young performers, it must be an arduous and lonely life.
Mr D and I enjoyed an evening with Bertie Wooster as he told the tale – The Code of the Woosters.
Jeeves is giving us his version of events at Totleigh Towers, when he was despatched to steal a cow-shaped silver jug. The problem is that Bertie has only two actors at his disposal. This leads to a sustained send-up of theatrical conventions with joke props, a bicycle used to propel the revolving stage and lightning costume-changes. The fun reaches its high point when Matthew Macfadyen, who starts as the imperturbable Jeeves, is asked simultaneously to impersonate an overbearing old buffer, Sir Watkyn Bassett, and the unequivocally feminine Stiffy Byng. With equal resourcefulness, Mark Hadfield is required to switch from the imposing Aunt Dahlia to the incipient dictator, Roderick Spode, who comes equipped with a Hitlerian moustache and an extendable fascist mac. (see full review here)
It was hilarious, the comic capers as the two butlers try their best to play a host of characters while at the same time producing great stage setting had me giggling at the off.
Bertie tells his tale, while the story comes to a halt now and then as the limits of the casting gives a moments hesitation and the resulting overcoming of these obstacles are achieved rapidly – I think my favourite was a scene where one actor plays two roles having an argument. It is achieved by him wearing a dress on his right and a suit on his left!
If any of these come on tour near you, they are well worth seeing.
Is that a shaft of sunlight peeping through the bedroom curtains?
…. ttfn x