Posted in ballet, coppelia, hangover on February 26, 2008 |
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I went to see Coppelia on Friday night, it was stunning and I had wonderful seats thanks to the generosity of James, who also happened to be sitting next to me. The ballet was bright and infectious, I wore my excited five year old grin for most of it and even texted my mum in the interval to say how good it was. I desperately wanted to be a ballet dancer as a child and went to many many lessons, forced my parents to watch me in many shows and then finally worked out at age 8 that I was completely lacking in rhythm and grace so I hung up my ballet shoes and took up some other ridiculous hobby.
A night of culture in a beautiful city what else could a woman ask for. Well perhaps not to have woken up the next day with a hangover so bad I pleaded with The Talented Mr. Rigby to take me to hospital and a big graze on my knee. What happened?
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I have been reading Doris Lessing’s – the diaries of Jane Summers. I am a huge Doris Lessing fan and this is the book that she wrote under a pseudonym , she describes the process of writing this way and why she did it in the preface, she also mentions that some did not recognise it as her work and some did. As I knew it was her and as a fan I find it impossible to believe that people could not spot her in its pages. I have almost finished the book and have enjoyed it immensely although it has been tough reading. The first diary deals with Jane’s encounter and eventual friendship with an old lady, the descriptions of the way old people live and the way they are viewed by others and the loneliness they experienced really struck home. It made me think of my grandmother who has recently gone into a home as she is suffering form Alzheimer’s and it made me respect the work my aunt has done to keep her at home for so long, especially as my aunt also has two autistic sons.Lessing also describes the rage and anger that old people have and how often it is those that care for them that feel the brunt. The rage comes from the indignity of dying and the frustration of age. That part made me think of Ernie Watt.
Ernie Watt was my maternal grandfather and my great friend. We became really close when he moved to the same town as me and because the year my grandmother died was the same year my parents spilt up. It wasn’t easy to be his friend or granddaughter because he was a cantankerous old git who often refused help from everyone but me, my mother as a nurse found it very difficult.
That first year we were both on our own we would have lunch once a week in the pub near the bookshop I worked in and he would tell me stories, most of which I knew of by heart. I loved those lunches and always came back to work drunk as I had to try and drink more than him so that he would not drive too drunk. He was a drinker, I am loathe to call him a drunk or an alcoholic as I feel both words sully the memory of the wonderful man he was.
So he was a drinker, first drink was at 11am, he had a running joke with the doctors that when they took his blood it would be pure Bordeaux. He was often angry, grumpy and told outrageous stories. He was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 10, had a lung removed and took early retirement, he developed a shadow on his other lung, had cancer of the throat and towards the end had a series of strokes but he did not die until I was almost 31, it was long time to live in pain. I think that is why he drank.
He passed away two years ago this month, I could not decide at the time if I should fly home but I did and am very grateful I had the opportunity to say goodbye. Even if he did yell at me in the hospital for not massaging his feet properly. And I am very proud that with the help of family and his friends we managed to keep him in his home . He was a popular man a great big show off who loved company and never tired of telling people he was not English, he was Scottish. He even had his own ‘Sippers Club” a no women allowed whisky drinking club. I miss him.
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This weekend The talented Mr. Rigby finally got his Christmas present. I had organised a trip to Brussels for his present as he had mentioned once that when he was there on business it looked really nice and that he would like to go back. I clung on to this piece of information and thought that this would make a perfect non carrying all the way to England and back present.
Brussels was lovely, so relaxing, I ate and drank loads!! The bars there are really elegant, mostly art nouveau. We did a walk recommended by the guide book which was basically a bar hop. We went here and had a beer with raspberries and to Cirio for a had an elegant half and half (half champagne and half white wine – lovely) and herefor a kir royale and here for jazz and a gin fizz. Archiduc was great, it was very busy though and the waiter did throw one of the gin fizzes all over the table, I was so glad it wasn’t me for a change that I got out my little pack of tissues and helped him clear up. I think possibly that is not cool when surrounded by jazz aficionados nodding with cocktails in hand to let them know you are not cool at all and in fact the kind of person who carries packets of tissues. I also have plasters, nurofen and an emergency 10p to make a phone call. We topped it all off with a fantastic dinner at La Quincaillerie, perfect.
We did mange to do some sights as well as eating and drinking. We went off to the comic strip museum, I used to love comics as a kid but was not prepared for all the “sexy” comics that were on display, Tintin never did any of those things I can assure you. I think many comic illustrators are a bit sex mad but I admit that this opinion was formed after going to Robert Crumb exhibition.
The hotel was stunning and I was feeling more than a little smug when we checked in, we even upgraded our room because clearly the opulent surroundings made us think we could actually afford to do that, obviously the idea that we were born to be in this kind of place carried over in to the room when I decided we should drink champagne and loll around in hotel dressing gowns. I did manage to steal everything I thought I could get away with, pens, bottle opener, paper, matches, nail file so clearly I am not that posh.
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