A warning for Jean Jones, this entry may contain material that will excite you. If you feel yourself salivating with envy just click away from the page…..
I don’t know whether to work forward or backwards, I don’t know whether to include the grizzly bits about my mother and the wretched bits about my darling girl friend who died unexpectedly, or whether I should just tell you the bits of my week that made me feel so energised I didn’t sleep. I don’t know whether to include the back pain, the watering eye, the missing of the ‘oosbind, or the tragedy thats called THE VOICE.
On reflection I shall just write the good bits so here goes:
After a a big meeting on Monday morning I prepared for my three days in town. I decided to travel light.
1 tiny bag of green herbs powder.
1 tiny bag of vitamins.
1 travel toothbrush.
1 Debit card.
2 Travel cards.
1 Mobile phone
All stuffed in the inside pocket of my old blue anorak.
I did not take clothes, towels, chargers or books.
I wore warm socks and shoes. Washable undergarments. One tee shirt. One pair of leggings, one sweatshirt and my old blue anorak which the BBC bought for me back in 1991.
The coat has been with me everywhere from America, Iceland, France, Holland, Germany, to tops of mountains and down pits, and has been featured on the front pages of various newspapers and it keeps me warm beyond repair, which it is in need of since the cuffs are fraying and the bobbles have gone wonky.
On Tuesday morning my lovely neighbour drove me to the station and I hopped on the 11.09 train to Charing Cross. I bought two single tickets to get me into town and home again on Thursday.
First stop my acupuncturist who stuck needles in my right leg and hooked them up to some kind of machine. I jiggled around on the table like a dancing dolly. Miraculous.
When I stood up the pain, of the last few months, had gone. Not a twinge, not a wince, not an ouch or a pleeeeeeese….
I walked very slowly to the tube. Took the Northern Line to ‘The Groucho Club’ where I had a salad upstairs and a good old peruse of the newspapers downstairs. MITCH TONKS, Mr. Fish himself, invited me to his dinner next week. I will of course attend. Mitch is one of the finest geezers around.
The Barry turned up with Mr. B and a chat about pennies took place. Then my writing partner turned up and we left for a tiny supper in ‘Patisserie Valerie’ on St. Martins Lane before ‘Hayfever’ at the ‘Noel Coward Theatre’.
The disappointment at Lindsey Duncans absence – she’d lost her voice – was palpable. ‘Ms Bliss’, her character, is the pivot of the play, the understudy tried, but however hard she attempted she never raised any kind of bar and could not make up for the loss of Duncan.
Added to which a woman, sitting behind us sounded like a peacock on heat, at one point the peacock transmuted into a braying donkey. There was little point in shushing her as brawling in the stalls of a West End theatre is not recommended, especially when you haven’t paid for the tickets.
We left having laughed a little and moaned a lot.
Off to Soho House where we dined with a Hollywood legend who bought both of us supper. It was an evening full of such astounding synchronicity that when the clock struck 2.30 we were still gasping.
A taxi took us back to West Hampstead where we continued to talk. Bedtime was me curled up on the sofa with the cushions.
Me curled up on the sofa without the cushions.
Me curled upon the floor without the cushions.
Me stretched out on the floor with the cushions.
At 5.15 a.m. the rain drummed on the sky light and I finally fell asleep to its rhythm.
My back – not a twinge.
On Wednesday morning I got up early and bought tiny delicacies for my writing partners birthday, a gift, a card and breakfast for a damsel in distress who had lost the love of her life two years ago to a rampaging elephant in Africa. Now a single mother of a two year old daughter, who never got to see her darling father, the young mother is still struggling to come to terms with her tragic circumstances.
She talked I listened, then I walked her to the tube. Time is a great healer we said.
Back to the flat, an honorary opening of gifts then down to a good solid few hours of writing. Where more synchronicity occurred. I’ll give you a taster. I was typing in the name of the actress we want to play one of the characters. My mobile pringed and there was the very actress calling me. She has never called me before, I have never called her. Spoookey.
Guests turned up for tea and after the devouring of a mountain of cucumber sandwiches I left.
Into Charing Cross for a Barry meet, then we two set off for Greenwich. We left the station and walked in the driving rain to a Chinese restaurant where we met up with Barry’s partner.
The waiter insisted on removing everything before the food had entered the mouth, I sighed a huge sigh and nearly swore at him in Cantonese but resisted.
We split the bill and left, walking in the teeming rain past the barricades and massive elephant of ‘Les Mis’ which was being filmed in The Naval college/hospital.
The front door teased opened and two huge ginger cats greeted us. We all settled down, me wearing Barry’s big red pyjamas, in front of the fire watching a documentary about Elizabeth Taylors jewels. Off to the attic into a big bed and a Wednesday night sleep with still no back pain.
I crept out at early doors to walk around Greenwich. They were dismantling the elephant and the barricades and the drizzle had all but dried up. Found the station and using my old lady card headed off into London.
A walk to New Row, Covent Garden to meet with the daughter for breakfast and a mooch around the shops. She left with a new jacket courtesy of the bank of ma and pa, whilst I walked to The National Theatre.
A small bag of crisps and a bottle of water then into the front row, with the writing partner, to see ‘She Stoops to Conquer.’ I wouldn’t normally sit so close to the stage but they were the only tickets I could get and it was the last part of her birthday week.
The play is fun, the actors charming, Sophie Thompson wonderfully over the top, exquisite music and dancing and the best use of dry ice I have ever had the whimsy to sit amongst. My writing pal coughed and spluttered like she was in a London smog, I laughed so much, as did my right hand neighbour, a retired Irish Priest, that for one moment we all felt like part of the action.
Two mwah mwahs and a hug and my three days in town were over.
I hopped on the train and before I had time to check my inside pocket I was back in TWells. The big bus arrived within a few minutes.
The driver, a slip of the thing, swung the green double decker down hills over dales and through a massive downpour. The sky as black as smoke to the South, the sun as bright as an orange orb to the North. There, cuved over the hills was my welcome home rainbow – I lie – two welcome home rainbows. The biggest, most luminescent rainbows I had ever seen. Why the indigo and violet were positively throbbing.
A gentle walk up the hill from the bus stop and I was home to a clean, little cottage, with new white sheets on the bed, a bath just waiting to be slipped into, a cat that was delighted to see me and a fridge full of green veg waiting to be made into a soup.
The old man got home early on Friday, Saturday was supping ale in THE SNOW DROP INN in Lewes, and today was The Marathon.
As I write my back is still perfectly balanced, the old man is snoozing before his trek back to Northampton, my belly is full of the green soup and my feet are finally warm after three hours of freezing reportage from Canary Wharf.
All in all the end of a deliciously full week. And next week proves to be just as thrilling. I’m away again on Tuesday for Mitch’s meal, and then Friday through till Monday when I shall be partying on Friday and Saturday, working and watching the daughter do her first live gig at ‘The Phoenix Club’ on Charing Cross Road on Sunday, then The National again on Monday for ‘Moon over a Rainbow Shawl’
After 63 years of fighting fun its finally beaten me and I’m truly giving in….
There’s that rainbow again….