Saturday, 27 April 2013

Drama In Two Acts

Act I

We were off to the theatre. “As You Like It”, one of Shakespeare’s comedies with a silly story and lots of fun.  Our friends were on the doorstep, it was time to go; we had a long drive to Stratford-upon-Avon ahead of us.

Kelly was in the house, wielding a noisy vacuum cleaner and all we had left to do was to shoo Millie back inside and set off. Kelly knew that Jay, Millie’s dogsitter, would arrive before she left the house. Jay’s key and pay was on the kitchen counter. Kelly had her own key which she would leave behind when she finished her job.

The drive was uneventful. It was a pleasant day and after a good two hours' car journey we enjoyed sitting on the terrace above the river, eating our sandwiches and watching the ducks. Absentmindedly I pulled a sandwich out of the bag on the table.  “Something wrong here,” I said, "the filling is cheese, I can’t eat cheese.” Sally and Frank had been watching me. “It’s wrong,” Sally said calmly, “because your hand is in our bag.”

Standing in the long queue for the Ladies is never a pleasure; I pass the time by watching myself and all the other ladies dying for a pee before the show in the tall mirrors, as we slowly shuffle towards the tiny cubicles and relief. Standing in line seems to drain the life out of you, we all have a vacant look, intent on getting to the promised land before the last bell.

Beloved and I had seats in the centre front row, we were close enough to the stage to lean on it and I was sitting directly beside and just under one of the two walkways the actors use for their exits and entrances,
often thundering past me but sometimes just standing quietly, alone, or in pairs, silently watching or performing 'off-stage', while the main action takes place in the centre. At a very quiet moment my phone went off, right under the feet of the banished Duke Senior, whose well-turned calf muscle didn’t even twitch.

I hate the morons who can’t remember to switch off their phones; I had pressed the off button long and hard before the show started; surely, it couldn’t have been my phone. Besides, it was a brand new phone, never used, and only one person knew the number,  Jay. Why would she ring me? The faint ringing stopped. Ten minutes later it rang again, still faintly and for just a few rings. I shifted in my seat, getting uncomfortable. I was sure I’d switched the phone off. Concentrating on the play became an effort. Sure enough, the damn thing went off again, just three rings this time. Theatre auditoria provide no holes to crawl into, nor could I interrupt the performance by creeping out; the whole theatre’s attention would have been focussed on me. Sitting so close to the stage, I would have created a huge disturbance. I was stuck.

When the interval came I shot out, examining the phone. It was on and the display showed a 'locked' symbol. I couldn’t do a thing to it, neither switch it on nor switch it off, check for messages or retrieve missed calls. Apparently, the only thing it would do was to sound the ringtone.  I was desperate now and ready to grind it under my heel, when I had a better idea: I removed the battery, which killed it stone-dead.

Act II

All was calm when we arrived home. Millie was alone, hysterically happy to see us, but fine. Jay had taken only a small part of her pay and left a long, apologetic note to say that there were details she would need to tell us as as soon as possible. Within minutes the landline rang.

Jay had been delayed in getting to our house and when she arrived Kelly had gone. Kelly is a very nice woman but she spends more time concentrating on a constant supply of desinfectant and rubber gloves than lubricating thought process mechanisms. Being a brush short of a broom cupboard, she had left the   door locked and shoved the key back in through the letterbox; Millie inside. As well as Jay’s key. The normal arrangement in such cases is for the person leaving to put the key into a hiding place known to all and sundry for the next person. We are nothing if not trusting.

Jay tried all doors; all were locked except for the small, integral, garage door, which leads into the house via another (locked) door. This internal door was the first one she tried to force. No luck. Ditto the front  and back doors; the conservatory doors were open but the inner glass doors were locked. No luck.

Through the letter box Jay could see Kelly’s key on the mat. She went into the village and borrowed a couple of magnets on a stick, a kind of fishing rod for keys. No luck. Jay is not very strong but she has a friend who is. Jay fetched Linda and took her to the up-and-over garage door to see if Linda could push the inner door open. Linda walked straight into the not-quite-fully-open garage door, hitting her forehead on the metal edge, and briefly knocking herself out. Head wounds bleed profusely, Linda went straight to the surgery where the gash in her forehead was cleaned and glued back together. After that she decided Millie would have to chance her luck without her.

Jay hadn’t given up yet, she went to fetch more help, a man this time. A chap’s brute force might succeed where a woman’s feeble efforts had failed. Robyn tried his best, using burglar’s tools on keyholes, but short of actually causing damage he saw no way of getting in.

Poor Jay was in despair. “ I need a magic wand”, she wailed. Angry and frustrated, cursing Kelly, and worried about Millie, who had been locked in for hours, she grabbed hold of the handle to the front door and rattled it as hard as she could.

And the door sprang open!

Perhaps Robyn’s efforts had dislodged the lock, perhaps the combined heaving and pushing had had some effect; whatever the cause, the door opened as freely as a bank’s door when a rich man enters.

So Millie had her walk - albeit a short one - and her dinner after all.


Things rarely work out the way you plan them but All’s Well That Ends Well. We also now have a specific lock in the house which appears to be badly bent out of shape.

“But other than that, Mrs. Friko,  how did you like the play?” “Not bad, not bad at all, thank you for asking."


  1. I'm puzzled.
    Why does Kelly have a key if she leaves it when she leaves?
    Or is it the sort of lock you have to physically lock?

  2. smiles...oh my...the second part is rather a comedy of errors itself...ha..i am glad the door was not unlocked the whole time...that would have been terribly embarassing...almost as much as your phone going off...smiles...ugh...been there and done that accidentally...

  3. A day book, please Friko. A day book of laughs - some out-loud guffaws, some grins and one or two sardonic smiles. This story would be perfect for The Book. There you sat, in embarrassed horror through the play as a real drama unfolded at home. I love it.

  4. It wasn't until we were robbed that we started to lock our doors. Now we have electronic locks that require us to enter a pass code. The doors are always locked, but I don't have to bother with keys.

  5. What a crazy story, one which I loved reading...


    PS. My favorite part: "Being a brush short of a broom cupboard" heehee

  6. I love the idea of all this drama taking place behind the scenes while your own drama takes place in front of another drama.

    Shakespeare would have loved it.


  7. High drama indeed! Glad to hear Millie got her walk.

  8. Frico, excellent post!
    The second act of this play (I think it deserves Shakespeare!) I liked more.
    "Not bad" as you said.
    I laughed because the action developed rapidly: the doors are locked, garage, no luck, on the roof, knocking her forehead, a doctor, a magnet, burglar’s tools...
    Perhaps this play is not Shakespeare's and probably Agatha Christie's.
    But not too bad!

  9. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is she, your Kelly... As for Jay: if it had been me, I would have tried to get in for sure, yes, but I don't think I would have gone at such great lengths as to have other people injured. You were not supposed to be away for days or weeks, after all...

  10. Oh dear. What drama. The second act was the one I found most moving. Poor Linda. Jay sounds an absolute treasure. And I am so very glad that Milly did get her walk after all that...

  11. Seeing a Shakespeare play at Stratford-on-Avon sounds like a real luxury for those of us who were raised on such history but never been there and done that. I do love Shakespeare, but must listen intently so that I do not miss one single sexual innuendo. I would not have worked as hard to save your dog from a difficult night. I would have felt dog pee on the floor was less expensive to repair than a damaged door lock. You must have scared her proper. Wisewebwoman has it down exact!

  12. Hi Friko .. that is some saga - and I sincerely am glad All is Well That Ends Well .. and I too hate mobile phones! They always go off when they shouldn't ... but so pleased everyone other than Linda .. who obviously needs some tender loving care for a few days. So pleased you enjoyed the play and had such excellent seats ..

    Cheers Hilary

  13. At least now you know how difficult it would be for a burglar to get into your house. I wonder what Millie made of all the fuss?

  14. Oh my! What a great story, all of it. Act I and Act II. Ingenious to think of removing the battery from the phone. And the drama at home was so very well told, Friko. I enjoyed it immediately, all of it. :-)

  15. Sounds like you're in a safe area so you can punt with the lock, but how frustrating for all -- you with your phone (smart move with the battery!)and Jay with the locks. Your description of Kelly made me laugh out loud. I think the only thing I would have liked more about this post if I was sitting at a table with you, sharing a cup of tea and hearing you tell it with all the inflection I can "hear" in reading your words!

  16. Life is nothing if not comical and confusing.

  17. i think your domestic dram totally upstaged your theatrical one this time, Friko, from the moment yourt took that sandwich from the wrong bag. Glad that Millie was fine, but poor Jay won't forget this day in a hurry. What a star!

  18. Yes, real life drama! HOW embarrassing, the phone dilemma. I squirmed for you!

  19. When I was a junior in college I spent a week in Stratford and saw six plays, which I have never forgotten. I believe Dames Judi Dench and Helen MIrren were in residence then.

    Have to admit, though, that your comedy of errors made me laugh louder than all those on-stage slamming doors.

  20. life imitates art, or is it the other way around?

  21. I imagine those poor Shakespearean actors were left standing quietly on the stage, what with you lot having stolen all the drama.

  22. Well Friko, once again I find myself delighted to have sampled your very fine writing.

    An entertaining night of Shakespeare at the theatre, while a night of theatre is unfolding in many acts back as your home.

    Millie is a true heroine.

    When I first quickly looked at your photo of the theatre, I saw an abstract form of a head and shoulders. (The aisles leading to the stage are the shoulders...can you see it, too?)


  23. A drama on two fronts. Really, Friko, your own domestic doings are as equally entertaining as Shakespeare's. I hope that Linda is quite all right. And Millie.

  24. my phone has a habit of turning itself on in my pocket, so i keep it in a bag or put it on silent as a double-bluff if i'm going out somewhere

    it's not as bad as my old phone which would dial people or connect to the internet in my pocket. A lot of people got to hear the sound of my trousers for a while there...

  25. Ha! Entertainment and adventure all round... - Dave

  26. What an evening but glad it all turned out OK in the end. Have a good week, Diane

  27. Who needs the theatre when you have a private comedy of errors on your doorstep?! ;) As you say, All's Well ...

  28. You could have made a big bowl of popcorn, poured some wine, & watched life unfold at was just as interesting. ~Mary

  29. What a fabulous story, and how well told! xoxo

  30. Oh, my. "Comedy of Errors" indeed! So funny now, even if not then.

  31. AHH! ds got to the punch line before me!

  32. Your stories are as good as any Shakespeare play - drama, confusion, mayhem, humor!

  33. They say the truth is stanger than fiction. I think you proved it. BTW do you have any idea who They is? Dianne

  34. Ah, you tell such a good story. I admire Jay's persisitence and dedication - not sure I would have gone half as far as she did. Laughed at Jocelyn's typically Jocelyn comment.

  35. Hallo Friko,
    schön, dass Du so Theater-interessiert bist. Von Shakespeare kenne ich leider keine Theater-Stücke (obschon diese sicherlich sehr bekannt sind). Müsste mich reinlesen. Ist für mich auf internationaler Ebene ein Problem, unterschiedlichste Dramatiker in GB/F/ES/D/Schweden usw. zu kennen.

    Gruß Dieter


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