Work and play

I’ve done a lot of both this week. Finishing my income tax return made a fine start to the week, although this was offset a bit by searching through four bags of grass cuttings, looking for my lost ring. It remains lost; but, well, it’s only a thing, and things don’t matter much.

Just one visit to the hospital this week, on Monday. I didn’t deeply affect any lives this week, but it passed the time for a few people, and as some of them are waiting for hours, that’s not a bad thing to do. I did receive a card this week from one of the people I worked with last week in the hospital, and it obviously made a big difference to her. As you can tell, I do worry sometimes about the worth of this work, but the cards I get back make it clear that it’s definitely worthwhile.

The prison was good this week. I’ve got the diaries back now, and although there aren’t as many as I had hoped for, they are riveting, full of emotion and interesting thought. I thought I would read one when I went to bed, and was still awake an hour and a half later, unable to stop reading them. I’m really pleased with them. The writing group went well, too, although three of the best writers have gone – two to other prisons and one released.

And on Thursday I managed to clear all the emails and get a meeting arranged, and sort out lots of bits and pieces, so all in all, work went well this week.

Play didn’t, or at least not the play. The second readthrough / audition for Ring Round the Moon attracted rather more people than the first, but two important  people were missing – the two guys who were both keen to play the very challenging main part. I wouldn’t have planned to do the play at all unless I was absolutely certain I could cast this role – the actor has to play identical twins; he must look no older than 30, and be good-looking enough for a woman to fall in love with him at first sight.

This was worrying, to say the least. I phoned them both. They both said they couldn’t do it, after all. This meant a significant loss to the cast – not just the main male lead, but another important male character (to be played by whoever didn’t take the main part), and the main female lead, who was going to be played by the girlfriend of one of these two guys.

Now, I have tried to direct RRTM before, a few years ago, and the main actor moved to London just before we started rehearsals. I tried and tried to replace him, and couldn’t, and to be honest, I don’t really feel like going through all that again. Besides, it just delays the start on any replacement production. So, I’ve pulled the plug; we won’t be doing RRTM after all. We’ll be having a meeting on Tuesday to decide what to do instead. I am disappointed, but I don’t blame the people concerned. It’s much better to say they can’t do it now than wait until later, and there’s no point taking part in amateur drama if it feels like a chore that you can’t enjoy.

So, anyway, the weekend was playtime of a different type – a weekend away with my mother. Holidays with my mum have not been successful in the past, and I really wasn’t looking forward to this one, but at least it was only to be for a couple of days. But – it’s been fun! The hotel was, as my mum put it, like a very upmarket Butlins. The food was excellent and the rooms good, and there was lots to do. I tried tai chi; had an archery lesson and a fencing lesson; played table tennis; and even danced in the evenings. The highlight for me, though, was a 45-minute swim in the sea, wearing my shortie wetsuit; it would have been more like 45 seconds without the wetsuit. I was thoroughly invigorated, and ready to face an evening with a whole bunch of oldies. And my mum and I didn’t have a single argument, although we came close to it at one point.

It wasn’t quite Skiathos, but at least it was a break. Mind you, it does mean that I still haven’t caught up with all my work…

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