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There Will Now be A Short Intermission

Backson.  Bisy.  (Probably till early September.)

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The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

Good Grief

Just been into town with my father to help him collect his pension. When we got into Post Office a single cashier was working and serving a male customer. We arrived next and alone in queue.

A woman who had draped herself and her shopping over the two seats (for customers who need to sit) was now dancing back and forth shouting (I think in her head she was helping) at the man being served. She gave out some postcode to the cashier:

“H for Harry, T for tuberculosis…”

By the time the two of them had finished there was 11 people waiting in the queue behind us. I pay attention to detail.

My Dad had forgotten his reading glasses but put in his PIN by sight and touch memory. Once to get the balance, then you have to take out the card and put it back in again (putting in PIN again) a second time to draw out the money. Then repeat with my Mum’s card. Cashier counted out the money loudly which I then shoved in my wallet feeling twitchy at the amount and looking like a son stealing his father’s pension money.

Then I had to go and get a clock battery so left Dad sitting, as it was too far for him to walk, praying he wouldn’t get mugged while I was away. At this point I noticed my flies had been open the whole time.

Went to a jewellers.

I was buzzed through two doors.

I muttered something about not being able to find this battery in any other shop, to which the assistant sweetly commented she was surprised as it is the most common sort. The battery cost £3. I flitted out rapidly making hilarious jest of supposing that transaction made a change from the usual multi-million dollar ones (MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR?) they had. She laughed politely and said they get all sorts.

Yeah, me being one of the “all sorts”.

At least my flies were up.



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Hamlet Round 2

I saw this first at the Almeida  (see review here)  and was above the side of the stage so missed seeing all of the action.  So I decided to go again to its West End transfer as it is at the Harold Pinter which is a relatively small West End theatre.

I am astounded that once again I sat for 3 hours and 40 minutes utterly captivated.  I love Shakespeare but I never sit through a performance without my mind wandering at some points.  But here, no.  I listened to every word.  Time stopped and it was only the beginnings of leg cramp that brought me round at the first interval.  Juliet Stevenson has been replaced as Gertrude by Derbhle Crotty (Irish, like Scott), whom I though was even better.  More warmer and maternal, yet still a queen.  I was bowled over by Jessica Brown Findlay as Ophelia, and every time she was on stage interacting with Andrew Scott’s Hamlet my stomach clenched with suppressed emotion.

I rarely lose myself in anything.  I can always stand back from myself and objectively analyse my emotions (I’ll tell my therapist).  This was one of the rare instances when I could not separate my feelings from what I was watching.  I cannot say why this production of this play moves me so much; brings me to tears that I cannot explain.  But it does and I am glad of it.

Annoying People

Actually I could re-title that with a more colourful phrase.

On my way up to Yorkshire again – on train.  When I came back down last week I was watching a film on DVD on laptop and became aware of a voice behind me which never seemed to stop.  I listened and heard the word “drones” (the irony!) and thought he was talking about those flying cameras.  Oh no.  It was bees.  75 minutes without a break on bees.  Just one of the many topics covered was the recessive genes of Italian bee sub-species.  Yes, you can imagine how I was gripped. His voice was of such a pitch that I could hear it through my earphones (I lost my noise-cancelling ones recently damnit).  In the end I gave up on the film and looked around.  Middle aged man with pretty much silent male companion.  Just as I thought I could stand it no more, he got onto his divorce….

At end of journey I heard him say: “We better go back to our seats and get our luggage.”


Today I got on the train, walked to my booked window seat at a table, to find a woman eating a salad at table in the aisle seat (next to mine) and a man opposite her.  She/they had stuff all over the table and she had put clothing on my seat – despite the reservation ticket on it.  I had a cup of coffee so I reached across her to put it on what little space there was on table in front of my seat, and my bag slipped off my shoulder onto the table, knocking her salad everywhere.

Absolutely no chance of getting into the seat now, so I apologised  (too much) and went to sit in (cramped) seat behind. She said in a loud voice something about mayonnaise on cashmere.  I didn’t say if she could afford cashmere she could be First Class with a free meal.

I’m right behind her now.  She made no effort to move any of her stuff, produced more food, stretched across the two seats and now is sitting in my seat by the window.

I’ll just have to watch no coffee spills on her head when I stand up.

The Lettuce Spinner

There is very little more annoying than lettuce spinners.  Bring “forced” to use one is extremely annoying. Struggling to push the lever round in circles as the whole thing moves uncontrollably all over the worktop is mightily annoying.  Having to wash up three large pieces of plastic with nooks and crannies that you can’t get into with the washing up brush is really annoying.

When you then discover that the spinner is designed to drain by means of a series of holes in its base – which is why the work surface is now flooded in green water – that is annoying beyond words.  Far far beyond words.


We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.

Joan Didion

Quick Update

I’m relaying back and forth to Yorkshire with my brother, caring for our parents.  Dad is recuperating from a heart operation.  All is well.  I am very tired but I am getting quality time with my ancient parents which is good for all of us.  Last day at school tomorrow – possibly my last ever day teaching; who knows.

Job front still at a standstill

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Girl From The North Country

Well I didn’t know that’s a Bob Dylan song.  In fact I knew nothing about this play with music – as I’d call it rather, than a musical – till I got in my seat and the actors came on stage.

I’d literally got off a train from Yorkshire, jumped on a bus which got stuck at temporary traffic lights and got into my seat with about a minute before it started.  Didn’t even have time to go to the toilet – fortunately I held on, unlike the incident at the Royal Opera House some years back but that’s another story.

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