A Travellerspoint blog

Goodbye England

Don’t panic – it is just for a week! Tuesday I had my bookclub – more than 30 of us showed up. This time, I’d read the book, Brady Udall's The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, so could participate properly. I’m not sure how it happened, but I was talking to this American beside me during the break, and she asks “what do you teach?” ... “aren’t you a professor?” This confused me, as I don’t think I’d shared that information with her – turns out that unlike everyone else, who thinks my beard means I’m homeless, she thought it meant I was a professor. Nice lady! Very nice, actually.

I had yet another play to go to, this time down in London so off I went on Wednesday afternoon to see Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, set in 1930’s Ireland (featuring one Andrea Corr (of the Corrs) and Niamh Cusack) and loosely based on Chekhov’s Three Sisters which, oddly enough I saw in Dublin many years ago and featured Niamh Cusack (along with her two actual sisters). The story was pretty much “its tough to be five single girls of a certain age in 1930’s Ireland, made worse when your near mad brother who is a priest but has lost his faith, become a pantheist, has just come back from Uganda” but I really enjoyed the fact that it was performed in the round – I was sitting one row back from where quite a lot of the action took place. The one odd thing was that they had a narrator, the son of one of the sisters, looking back from years later, odd because (a) he told a lot of the story that then was played out on stage anyway and (b) his younger self was part of the play, but instead of having a young boy play him, he provided the voice but was effectively off stage. But lots of fun, particularly when Gerry (father of the young boy and a charming but useless larrikan) is around. Lughnasa, by the way, is not a place, it is a pagan harvest festival.

So, again because of the night train being cheap, I had a working day in London, in the Westminster Reference Library, a nice quiet place and close enough to a particular hotel that I could use their wireless internet. Thanks. I had planned to go back to the French place I enjoyed so much last time I was in London, but was distracted by a coffee shop, from the window of which I spied a particularly busy Malaysian cafe across the road – very nice food and a constant turnaround of happy customers. That left only time for a leisurely visit to Foyles and it was time to wander off and catch my 10:00 train.

Dinner was also the highlight of my Friday – I went to this Chinese restaurant near the station. Even though its name (Red Chilli) made me think it would not be up to much, it had fantastic duck pancakes – a huge mound of duck meat, cucumber juliennes and some other unidentified vegetable; that was just my starter! I went home very replete indeed.

After spending most of Saturday at work, it was time to go.

Reading: very little, just the first chapter of Watchmen, the graphic novel put out in the 1980’s which has just been made as a film, one salon.com at least rates very highly. This is my very first graphic novel, and I find it an odd experience as it has a number of story lines, with the text from some running into the pictures from a different storyline, i.e. character a and b might be talking, we see them doing so in one box, but then in the next box, we see characters c and d doing whatever, but still get the speech bubbles from a and b. A bit freaky, but it produces interesting resonances. Making a film of it could be a challenge!

Posted by NZBarry 10:39 Archived in England

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