Wednesday 13th. November, 2013 -- A Day of Two Halves: from the commonplace to the absolutely sublime! 


The dogs are always the first out of the Granary


Slept in, and so I breakfasted before walking Mix; not that he seemed to mind because he enjoys breakfast in the farmhouse. Came back to the Granary and found an email with the hymns for Sunday which I duly prepared and sent off to Neil and Jamie and then I started work on the boxes in the study. I worked at them all afternoon and actually made progress. I say I worked at them all afternoon: there were interruptions. I stopped to renew my car insurance and discovered to my delight that my premium is one third lower now that I have retired and live in the Borders (and no longer have that dreaded Glasgow post code). I also took Mix off for a substantial walk – rejoicing in the fact that we have good weather, unlike so much of the rest of Scotland. It seems to happen often – in fact maybe this little bit of Scotland is like America’s Florida: the place to come when you retire to get the best of the weather.

Stopped boxes about four thirty, had a shower and changed and an hour later Rachel and I set off for Berwick. We had a fish supper in the car and went into the Maltings to attend the first ever streamed live performance of a Royal Shakespeare Company production from Stratford. We were sharing with people all over the country and all over the world and it was stupendous. I had no idea what to expect but it was wonderful, just like being there – better really, because we got the advantage of all of the best angles and real close-ups. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, what a blessing it is to be retired! (And to have the wherewithal to go off gallivanting – my Old Age Pension arrived in my bank account today. I still wonder that every four weeks I get such a sizeable payment into my bank account just because I am old – and I get my proper pension from my employment at the end of each month as well. It is, of course, too early to tell, but first impressions are that I am much better off in retirement because when I was working we had two homes to run -- one in Wemyss and one at Luss – and because so much of my income got spent on the Manse and on my work. That’s not a complaint, just an observation as why now is so good!)

But back to tonight. The setting, the staging the casting, the acting, the play, the performance: all were superb. Our theatre was comfortable, full and happy. David Tennant made an excellent Richard II, Oliver Ford Davies was superb as the Duke of York and Michael Pennington was magnificent as John of Gaunt but, in truth, everyone was great and the play was quite modern as it discussed regime change, or the role of supreme power in a country under the guise of examining the purpose of medieval monarchy. The introduction and supplementary features provided by the Royal Shakespeare Company were as good as one would have expected from them. It was a tremendous evening and we are told that the new director intends to work right through the entire canon of Shakespeare’s work over the next six years and that every production with have one evening on which it is streamed. I can see that even in retirement a diary is going to be a sine qua non. A really happy day – tomorrow it will be back to boxes!

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