Monday 30 April 2007

Patriotic colours of spring

I didn't realise until I was walking the dog with my mate Deb yesterday, how patriotic spring is. Wild garlic is seething in a pungent mass of pungent white, Campion is peeking up in dots of pinky red, and the bluebells cover the ground in a haze of blue. Everywhere is the sweet smell of spring - or it was on our walk yesterday, round the Maen valley. Mollie met a 15 week old JR puppy also called Mollie and they had a wonderful chase together until my Mollie was distracted by a large pile of horse shit which, to her delight, she rolled in stank us out for the rest of the walk.
We were going to do a long walk over at Helford but as my energies are low and I had a long technical dress rehearsal for Oliver that evening, we opted for a shorter one which was just as good and meant I wasn't completely on my knees before the rehearsal started. Just as well as we started an hour late and I got home six hours later. I don't know how the children are going to cope with this week, but I'm shattered already.
Husband is coping well with being left, night after night, or at least is uncomplaining. He's not coming until the last night, but I think he's only coming along then so he can say he's actually seen me on our wedding anniversary. (We have a matinee as well on Sat so we will have to celebrate another day.)
He's off to have an allergy test tomorrow, as he is convinced he's allergic to something, as he has all the symptoms (he's beenGoogling) - runny nose, itchy eyes, stiff joints - oh, and he farts a lot as well. So far he's given up wheat for - er - five days and gave up coffee for 4 days. He doesnt have much tolerance for giving up things, though, and when I mentioned (rather meanly) that he might be allergic to alcohol, he went Rather Quiet. I saw he's written a note of things he might be allergic to and among them are grapes and yeast. Not until the bottom, written in very small letters, is alcohol. (So it's nothing to do with grapes or yeast, then.)
But enough of this. Must send off two articles to a magazine that requested further information (fingers crossed) and get outside. Time to walk the dog and get ready for technical dress rehearsal with make up tonight - first night tomorrow.

Saturday 28 April 2007

Coffee and Cakes with an Octagenerian

We took our elderly friend, James, out this morning (Sat) for coffee. He likes going to a very Bohemian café in Penryn called Miss Peapods where they have excellent coffee and home made cakes, and despite the fact that he finds it very difficult to talk (he’s had several strokes), he loves going out and having a chat. We’ve been very worried about him because he shouldn’t be living on his own as he’s had several bad falls, so several months ago, at his request, I rang round all the residential homes in the area and we took him to see one that we all liked very much. Very pleasant staff, lovely atmosphere, good food, all the residents (18 of them) seem to love it, and a wonderful view of the sea in lovely gardens. They can come and go when they want and have friends in and take their own belongings there, and we spent several hours there with him.

After that, of course, nothing happened. James's daughter lives in London and seems to be in charge of finances, but he was worried that the home would be too expensive and she wouldn’t want to pay that money, but today he said he’s been offered a room there and has decided to accept it. He doesn’t want to go in just yet as he’d like to have the summer at home with the family (despite the fact that said daughter apparently wants to have nothing to do with him – his words). But it’s such a relief to know that he can go there whenever he wants. He was very concerned to know what we thought about his decision to go to this home, and delighted when we said we thought he'd done the right thing.

It really makes you think about Getting Older. He is very upset because, he said, 'I think my daughter's given up on me.' Apparently she puts down the phone when he rings. Why? How could she do this? And then I think - what's her story? It seems so sad when he’s such a lovely man, but there’s obviously a good reason. Makes you wonder though – he’s such a gentleman in all the best senses of the word and I feel very honoured to know him. But he finds it so frustrating when he knows what he wants to say and can’t get the words out. He can’t write things down because his arthritis is too bad to hold a pen, so we’re looking into a dictaphone for him.

So a productive morning. A good outlook for James, who was in good spirits having made his decision, and the coffee and flapjack were good. I’m afraid to say that lying in bed this morning, knackered from all these rehearsals, I wasn’t looking forward to taking James out – it can be very difficult when he’s trying to talk and can’t. Chatting with him today over coffee, I felt very Small. What’s life worth, if you can’t help someone like him?

Friday 27 April 2007

Sofa moving, writing meetings and death threats

This morning Pip set out before breakfast with his water pistol. Apparently Jimmy (the female cat who I am convinced is a witch) was trespassing, so Pip gave him a squirt and he/she went off, hissing curses. (Believe me - you meet Jimmy, that's what she does.) Pip disappeared afterward breakfast, as well, and returned still clutching the water pistol, explaining that he just wanted to make sure Jimmy was off the premises. I looked at our indolent son, lying fatly on the dresser, not moving save the odd twitch of a whisker. ‘Ever been had?’

I was still laughing over this as we walked Mollie round the castle before work. We are fortunate in having a mediaeval castle with moat and a large grassy area where a lot of us dog walkers go as it's safe to let the dogs off and have a good run. I told Pip that a friend of mine had volunteered to do my make up one day and give me a makeover. She'd also decided that straightening my (very curly) hair would be good for a laugh. Particularly to see Pip's face. he didn't laugh when I told him this, but strode forth, breathing heavily before he eventually spoke. 'Anyone who touches your curls is dead.'

There are some things you don't argue with.

I'd just got home and was in the middle of our Friday morning writing meeting when Chris from the top flat appeared to warn me that he was having a sofa delivered and he might have to remove his front door and/or the glass in the porch to get it into the flat. I told Pip when he got back from the workshop and he trotted upstairs to see Chris and volunteered to help. By about 1.30 Chris was struggling to remove the window so Pip went up with his toolbox. They were joined by Chris's brother, then Joe from the middle flat was hanging out his washing and said he’d help. It brought to mind ‘how many Irishmen does it take to change a lightbulb,’ but as Joe’s Irish I thought I’d better keep my mouth shut.

On that note, I really had better get on with some work.

Wednesday 25 April 2007

Singing and Dancing Flowerpots

This is the week before our production of Oliver which will be on stage next week. Rehearsals are hotting up and I have the songs permanently running through my head like a soundtrack. Small wonder, perhaps, that I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on editing an article! I’m also very tired but given the last few months of toothache and all that mayhem, this is possibly a very normal reaction. Not very good timing, but I do love the rehearsals and wish I’d got into the theatre company earlier.

The whole experience is proving a fascinating education. Not only does a musical such as Oliver include parts for all ages – I don’t know the exact ages but the children in Fagin’s Den must be aged 9 or 10, there are several teenagers, a group of girls in their early twenties and also parts for the older performer – Fagin, Mr Bumble, the Bedwins and that other couple whose name has gone straight from my head – see the state of my brain?

The after stage party is being held a week later, to accommodate the children as well as those of us who are older, in the Gylly Beach Café, a lovely spot on the main beach at Falmouth. As a newbie I have made friends with other newbies of similar age and it’s been a wonderful experience - and that's before we get on stage! The time and dedication of those producing the musical is incredible, particularly given that the producer and director are both in their late 70s and one is just recovering from a hip operation.

And now I must get back to work. I've been told on good authority that publishers aren't keen on theatrical backgrounds? Why not?