Monday, 6 January 2014

January 2014 - nothing new, the story as before.....

                                                                                          .....and evermore shall be so.
There are times when I envy the adventurous of mind. The ones who will go out of their way to find a mountain to climb or a molehill to kick, to swim the Channel or pee in a pool. Just for the fun of it.

Not me. For me it’s more of the same. Green grow the rushes O.

Curtains drawn, lamps lit, Millie dreaming on the rug by the fire, the remote within reach, remains of supper congealing in the kitchen sink, wind and rain howling and rattling like all the Hounds of Hell  have been released at once.

But I’m not complaining. Neither is Millie. Good things are happening too.

The notoriously fickle River Severn, which frequently doesn’t know if it’s coming or going, is merely lapping the terrace of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon, instead of overflowing it. We are among the lucky owners of tickets to both Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, which are playing in rep and were sell-out hits even before the official opening night. And not a film star or boy band in sight!

Such is the Hilary Mantel effect. 

We went to the matinee last Saturday and, lo and behold, the lady herself was there, sitting in the row behind us. I looked over just the once. The show was a triumph, Mantel’s treatment of the ruthless machinations and political intrigue at the court of Henry VIII and the rise and rise - so far - of Thomas Cromwell had me spell-bound; I might even say ‘swooning with admiration’, but then I’m the unadventurous kind, who doesn’t do much swooning. I am already looking forward to the second play later this months. O Joy!

And yet more joy: the first snowdrops have been out for a week, bravely nodding in the atrocious weather conditions. I suppose it’s their job to ring in the New Year, and proclaim, with the Welsh Twelfth Night carol :

Now Christmas Is Past,
Twelfth Day Is The Last,
To The Old Year Adieu,
Great Joy To The New.

Much later, next morning, hanging my head in shame: 

There you are, letting me re-route the River Severn to lap the foundations of the RSC Theatre when all the time it’s the Avon. THE RIVER AVON - SHAKESPEARE’S AVON! Are you all too polite to put me right or could it be that one river in a far-off country is much like any other, as it obviously is to me. It took my friend Frank to point out my mistake. He is good at that. 


  1. So happy to share these good times with you, dear Friko <3

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

  2. The fellow in your photo snuffing the candle looks like an actor in 'Zen' and 'Coupling.' Can't think of his name. Also saw him in a bbBBC Hardy story...'Far from the Maddening Crowd'. diannee

  3. ah. its very cool to have season tickets to the show like that...i wish...i wish....smiles...
    oy i tend to be more ont he adventurous side...but in our frozen tundra right now
    i am content to stay inside....

  4. I had forgot that I planted Snowdrops. I will be on the lookout for them.

    I think Millie is smarter than most of us. Me, anyway. Look at her there all curled up in a ball. Good dog. Please tell her I said so.

  5. At least you are fortunate enough to go to plays, which I have to put on all by myself to get any kind of amusement. The animals and I star in them and I have the leading role. We sometimes have guest actors, but none of great fame.

  6. I can hardly contain my envy, both of the venue and the performance. Thanks for letting me enjoy vicariously!

  7. Oh how wonderful. Stunning performance, another to look forward to. And I LOVE your snowdrops.

  8. The Hilary Mantel books are now plays, to which you have tickets, and there she in the audience, too? Just call us green with envy here. But some consolation is that we have (finally) been able to start watching The Hollow Crown,about which we first learned from you. Do you remember? Before we all went out to eat, when we came to visit, you wanted to make sure to record the next episode so as not to miss it. We're surprised, now that we've started to watch, that you were even willing to go out with two total strangers and risk missing an episode!

  9. Friko, this post was a delight! You've reminded me that I have yet to read either of those books, though I've been meaning to for ... might be years now. Thank you. I almost escape envy of your being a ticket holder and seat occupier at that Stratford performance. show us that you've already got snowdrops in bloom! It's just after 9 p.m. in New York as I type and we are assured or warned that tomorrow will be a record breaking cold day. I am already planning how many layers I can wear to work and still have some sort of stylish appearance that will do. Of course, it's entirely possible that wise potential customers will wait another 24 hours for their visit to the shop. They might have Millie as their muse.

    Thank you for your sweet comments over at my place. xo

  10. I think I can swoon. I'll practice.

    Oops! I hit my noggin. That's all the swooning for tonight.


  11. Green, that's me just now. I did not know Mantel's books had been dramatized. How lucky are you! I'm looking forward to the third book.

    Hope the river rises no further.

  12. Oh Du hast schon Schneegloeckchen wie schoen! Ich sehne mich nicht nach vielen Dingen aus vergangenen Zeiten, aber nach den Schneegloeckchen schon (und nach den Maigloeckchen auch - und nach Kastanienbaeumen!). :-)

    Otherwise I wish to tell you Friko, that I think because of your love of reading books you are going on a lot more adventure trips than many people much younger than you! And the fire lit, Millie at your feet and the remote in reach sounds perfectly cozy and happy to me - ich mag gemuetlich! :-)

    Enjoy your theater visits!

  13. A little live theatre to break up the gray days. You will not get my sympathy. I am jealous. Being near the famous author as well? My addiction to almost anything British these days, has me envious out here in my remote country home.

  14. See! I said the snowdrops would make all the difference! That is pretty early, but how they lift the spirits and make opportunities suddenly seem more possible? I was remarking this to myself this very morning as I stood on a bridge over the river Rhine just south of Gloucester ;-)

  15. I'm not jealous , not in the slightest . No , definitely not . No , not even faintly ...
    Humph !

  16. Snowdrops!!! How lovely is that!
    Nothing like a cozy evening at home when the weather out there is so nasty.

  17. As long as Shakespeare knew where he was everything is alright. With all that water it's no wonder everything is so lush and green there.

  18. Nice to see snowdrops...if we were lucky they lined the riverside walk before the annual floods started!
    I cannot like Mantel's historical books...though I did like her early expat stuff.

  19. I planted some miniature vibrant fushia/maroon gladiolas this fall and several are poking up out of the ground! I worried about them as they got pulled up a little early by the woman who gave them to me and I just let them sit out sheltered on my garden work table all summer. As for the river, well, I'm not a big Shakespeare fan. or rather I just haven't been exposed all that much.

  20. Oh, heavens! What a treat you had! I can easily understand your being a little addled!

  21. Dear Friko, whilst I may (though I don't) understand people who need their adrenaline rush you will not find me climb mountains or bungee jumping ever. Makes no sense to put one's live at risk. Imagine you still have a mother and what it would do to her to have to dig you out from underneath an avalanche just because you went skiing (runter den Idiotenhuegel).

    I will never shirk a challenge and there have been a few, but by golly, Friko, homefires, peace and quiet are to be cherished. Only to be interrupted (and welcome) by friends' laughter. The odd cat. Though they tend to use up their lives at the rate of knots.

    Schneegloeckchen herald my mother's birthday in February. I love the way they poke their little heads out of the earth against all odds. As my mother has done the last few months to see - she and I hope - another February.

    In other good news: I am terrible at parting from my minimalist Christmas decorations. And having no excuse to listen to all those carols I know inside out.

    Keep warm, keep dry, Friko, not least Millie,


  22. Oh, that play sounds like something I would simply adore! My kind of thing! And you know, there is much to be said for hunkering down with your Beloved, Millie and the remote, venturing out when it is worth it and just being. I'll take it any day!

  23. hank you for your kind visit with me on the blog.

    Well the new year is already 8 days old and everything is as usual. In the new year there will be good and sad, ups and downs. The main thing it keeps the balance somehow.

    All the best

  24. Quiet joys for us sensitive enough to appreciate them. No extreme sports needed to please me, either.

    He does look like Ben Miles. Part of what I love about British actors and film/tv, seeing familiar faces in many different parts, sometimes even chat shows.

  25. Ah Friko I just read your post and I got kind of depressed. I do like your snow drops though. What I mean is that I see it’s no good for me, I am from another culture. I read all the comments, and they are good, but you see in school and college in Paris we mostly read the French classics, and we barely talked about Shakespeare who everybody loves in the US. I do not know of Hilary Mantel – I have been reading “Enfance” of Nathalie Sarraute (in French,) but I could not talk about it on my blog, or the other current French authors I read as they are unknown here in the US, or at least people don’t care about them. If I mentioned the French classics in my blog, such as Racine or Moliere – how many comments would I get? I bet about none, apart from my French readers. I did mention Perrault, the master fairy tale writer and the first one, in my current post. I think you reflect well on the culture where you live and everyone can and enjoy your posts as they relate to it. I don’t know, maybe I should stop blogging, or at least not make it public, or change and write it only in French. It is the new year and I am discouraged. But your blog is always terrific.

  26. I feel like a heretic here as I could not, for the life of me, derive any pleasure from Mantel's oeuvres, much to the dismay of those who recommended with such delight. So no, I would not be going to the plays, even if La Mantel herself was beside me.

    But I love the snowdrop and you in the warmth of your hearth and canine. That I could manage. And well.


  27. When we saw snowdrops brave the snow and slush, we knew winter was waning. Lovely flower.

  28. You are so lucky to be able to go to Stratford, see plays there - oh my!!! I love Stratford - it was raining when I was there, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. I have a weakness for old English towns and villages.
    I wish we had a little bit of your rain. We're still waiting for the winter rains to begin and so far not a cloud in sight. As many envy us for our weather here - and yes, I usually love it and prefer it to the gloomy winters in Germany - living here means dealing with drought, and last year was the worst for a century. We're already conserving water wherever we can, but one family is not even a "Tropfen auf dem heissen Stein" (is there a similar expression in English?). So we're waiting and hoping.

  29. Yes, you've heard the ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times" There is a lot to be said for more of the same! I would LOVE to see this play but I can't see myself trundling up to Stratford any time soon, specially not in this weather. I hope 2014 is good for you, Friko.

  30. I ADORE Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. Wonderful that you are getting to the plays. Green with envy. I do hope they put on a live streaming at some point in the future. And to be sitting near the Mantel. Swoon:)

  31. I just wondered since when the River Severn flows across Shakespeare's birthplace, I just had checked a cruise to make on this river ! The flooding in some parts of the UK is really terrible. We had a little bit too, not where I live, only very strong winds. I love to go to the theater, I have now two comedies in view, one on the 17th and one on the 27th. For one theatre we have a season ticket.

  32. Greetings to the snowdrops - it still feels as if winter has yet to get going properly here. Blessings from Dalamory

  33. You'd corrected your error before I read this post, Friko. :-) The UK seems to be awash wherever we turn, so it's much better to escape into the joy of the theatre.

  34. Hi Friko - as I'm way behind reading and blogging in general - how wonderful you were able to see Wolf Hall - and excellent to know it was so good. I got theatre tickets for my birthday .. but I doubt we'll have anything as hi-brow as that down here: we cater for the retirees ... not for those with Millies, red Agas and castles on the hill ..

    Now Snowdrops - I do love them .. and the swathes and drifts will be out soon .. if they haven't been swept away in the rain ... Do you know I hadn't thought about the Avon .. just knew there was a lot of flooding .. but glad Frank corrected you - seemingly very kindly!

    Cheers and happy wet walks .. Hilary


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