Thursday 30th. January, 2014 – Rowan’s sister Daisy comes to visit 

Daisy in the farmhouse kitchen

Today was a red-letter day for Rowan because today her sister Daisy came to visit. Fiona, a friend of Mum, brought her down with Linda when they both came to see where Mum had settled. Mum was delighted to see Fiona and Linda – Rowan was more than pleased to spend time with her sister.

My day began as usual with a walk with Mix as my companion. We breakfasted early so that Mum and I could go into Duns to collect supplies of food for Mum’s visitors who were due to arrive about eleven. We patronised the Co-op and Trotter’s Bakery (in both we were extremely well looked after by very friendly staff) and then we made our way back to Mount Pleasant and set out everything so that it was ready for later in the day.

On cue, Mum’s friends arrived. Daisy seemed as pleased to see Rowan as Rowan clearly was to see Daisy.

They ran in the garden together:

And after a bit of running around, Rowan introduced Daisy to the dog which appeared to be digging his way out of the garden – strange to tell it has been in the same position ever since she arrived at the Granary – perhaps it is modern art:

Of course, Mix joined in and at times the welcome Daisy received must have been quite overwhelming:

It wasn’t long before Rowan and Mix had become the best of friends and spent several hours together in the garden, sometimes resting and spending time looking out on the rest of the world together.

By the time it was time to leave, Daisy was climbing in through the window to tell us how much she was enjoying it here:

Before Fiona left, we made her promise to bring Daisy back again. Rowan is looking forward to it already.

Soon after Daisy and her entourage drove into Mount Pleasant, Mike, my new financial advisor arrived. Olive and I had an extended discussion with him. I was delighted to hear all that he had to say, not least because it turns out that much of the information which I have been given so far turns out to be misinformation or, at the very least, partial information. I explained what I hoped to achieve with my pension funds and Mike has gone away to try to ensure that he can make it happen. I felt really buoyed up by his visit – and I enjoyed meeting him as well.

We all picnicked in the farmhouse – soup, sandwiches, sausage rolls and cake – and then we took Mum’s visitors on a tour of the estate before settling down for a while in the Granary (from where we could watch Rowan and Daisy having a ball in the garden). Shortly before they left, Rachel returned home from her stained-glass making course. She had had a grand time but was very pleased to be able to share doggy experiences with Fiona – I liked hearing about Buckhaven and Wemyss from Linda.

Soon after they all left, Rachel and I had to get ready to go to Berwick to the Maltings Theatre for a production of Coriolanus which was being streamed from the National Theatre in Covent Garden: the Donmar Warehouse which used to be a warehouse where bananas were ripened prior to sale but which is now used as an acting space by the National Theatre. It seats 251 people so it is quite an intimate space. We grabbed a snack in the little cafe beside the theatre – egg, sausage and chips – and then went into the theatre for the show. I was very keen to see Coriolanus again because many years ago I was involved in a production of it in the open air at St. Andrews Castle. Tonight’s production was powerful with some excellent performances but I missed the spectacle – it was done with a small cast and considerable doubling-up, and it was done in fairly nondescript costumes with almost no set. But the play won through – the story of the general who was a genius in military matters but who just didn’t have it when it came to political matters seemed quite modern; the Tribunes of the people might just as well have been labelled as trade-union leaders, and the crowd was as fickle as crowds ever are. It was a dark tragedy because Coriolanus was the best example of humanity on show (except perhaps for his mother? – a towering performance this by Deborah Findlay; but then perhaps not as she revelled in death or glory in the first part) but even he, Coriolanus (played well by Tom Hiddleston), was flawed and it was his flaws which brought him down (one of the recurring themes of Shakespeare). I thought the second part was better than the first, basically because I didn’t really like the use of all of the seats and the way that they constrained the actors in the first part. I am so glad that we went (not least for the performance of Mark Gatiss as Menenius) – we are fortunate to have such a resource on our doorstep and this relatively new system of streaming performances around the country -- and around the world -- makes so many of the best productions so very accessible.

Back home, we were welcomed by the dogs whom we then walked before bed. It has been an exciting day for Rowan!


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