Wednesday 3rd. September, 2014 – We travel to Longforgan for Elizabeth’s funeral 

We deliberately arrived early at Longforgan in order to have adequate time to walk the dogs after their lengthy car journey. Walking along the side of a field, I took this picture of the Church from quite far away. One of my friends, Jim Jack, with whom I studied at Princeton, was minister here for many years

Up and walked Mix before chatting to David and helping him move an armoured cable into the Bothy so that soon there will be power there. Soon after ten, Rachel and I, with the dogs, set out for Longforgan to attend the funeral of Elizabeth, Sue’s Mum. It was a long drive but we arrived in good time and walked the dogs before the service. The Church was well filled and the stand-in minister (Elizabeth’s own minister was on holiday) did a good job. During the service Nicholas read a poem he had chosen for the occasion:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Patrick paid tribute to his mother’s life, painting a picture which those present clearly recognised and concentrating on the qualities which made her a loving wife, a caring mother and a friend to so many people.

After the service we got a moment or two to speak with some of the folk we knew before setting off for home, and another long drive. Once home (and it was an uneventful journey) we had time to feed the dogs and give them a bit of exercise before leaving them in the house (they would be let out once Olive, Mum and Digger returned from the funeral) and setting off for Berwick to attend the streamed performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatre in Stratford of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Rachel was particularly anxious to see this play because she hadn’t seen it before and, in fact, it is forty-five years since it was last performed on the main stage of the Stratford theatre. Some experts believe that this may well have been the very first play written by William Shakespeare – everyone is agreed that it is an extremely early work.

I enjoyed it immensely. Rachel pointed out to me that the major difference between this performance and previous ones is in the ages of the performers. The lovers were all so young – they hadn’t had to build up their reputation but were entrusted with such major parts while they were still at the start of their careers. It certainly paid off. The play moved well, was full of fun and, if it wasn’t as rounded as Shakespeare’s later works, one could recognise where many of his later ideas were to come from. It was superb (and, as one might imagine, almost the largest cheer of the evening was reserved for Crab, the dog, played by Mossup and who, as far as I could tell, did everything he was meant to do, exactly on cue).

After the performance ended we picked up a Chinese take-away and returned home to enjoy our first food of the day before walking the dogs and going to bed.

I should record that when we were walking the dogs at Longforgan earlier in the day, we looked towards the church and saw these animals looking back at us. It wasn’t quite what we had expected!


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