Saturday, 28 October 2017

Picking Up and Moving On . . .

. . . starting with a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Marlowe’s play 'Dido Queen of Carthage’ which is based on Virgil’s Aeneid. It is a play of intense human passions.

Fleeing a war-torn Troy, Aeneas is a refugee seeking new roots and a new identity in Europe. Queen Dido is ready to help him when meddling Gods intervene and turn help into an all-consuming love.

The goddess Venus complains that Jupiter has been neglecting her son Aeneas, who has been lost in a storm on his way to found a new Troy in Italy. Jupiter calms the storm, allowing Aeneas to land safely on the North African coast.

Aeneas meets with other surviving Trojans who have been receiving hospitality from Dido, Queen of Carthage. When Aeneas meets Dido, she agrees to supply his ships and he tells her about the fall of Troy.

In order to keep Aeneas safe Venus sends Cupid to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas to stop him resuming the dangerous mission to Italy. Venus and Juno come together to create a storm, forcing Dido and Aeneas into a cave together. There, they declare their feelings for each other and consummate their love.

Meanwhile, preparations are made for the Trojans to depart for Italy. Dido removes the sails from the ships so that they cannot go, although Aeneas denies intending to leave. Dido announces that he will be king of Carthage and they decide to found the new Troy there instead.

Hermes informs Aeneas that he has no choice but to leave as his destiny is in Italy. Aeneas reluctantly agrees and goes to tell Dido. She is horrified and burns everything that reminds her of him. Heartbroken, Dido takes fate into her own hands and kills herself while Aeneas’ s fleet, with him on board, sails for Italy.

I enjoyed the outing very much. No matter how convenient and stress-free live streaming to local cinemas is, a live performance, on stage, in Stratford-upon-Avon, is always a special occasion. There’s nothing like the buzz you get from the collective anticipation of a theatre filled to capacity.
My friends and I have already booked tickets for a series of plays starting from January. Additional excitement will be added to the trips by spotting that we were passing a branch of my favourite supermarket in a town on the way. We stopped on the way home and I indulged in some unnecessary and excessive food shopping, mostly treats and luxuries. OK, so I added a few vegetables to my cart for virtue.

There you are, something to look forward to.

Social life is picking up. I wonder if people round here are psychic? Or perhaps I am giving off more receptive vibes? For the past few weeks I have been very aware of the fact that my loneliness is always more intense at weekends. Beloved and I made something of them and sitting at the table in solitary state, no matter how tempting the food or palatable the wine, there’s none of the warmth of two people in perfect harmony sharing a meal. So I am glad to report that I have a Sunday luncheon invitation for tomorrow! I had an invitation to supper last night and last Sunday I had two invitations: one to drinks before lunch and one to lunch, at  two different houses. I will accept every invitation coming my way even those I might have turned down previously. On two occasions recently I met with people whom I liked very much, one of them a brand new acquaintance. Perhaps I’ll write about them presently.

It looks like life might be returning. In one of my prolonged bouts of sitting on the second from bottom step of the stairs in the hall after returning home from a walk with Millie I’ve been asking myself where I think my life might be going. Who am I, now that I am alone? I never did identify myself by my relationship with other people, i.e. wife/mother/grandmother. With Beloved gone there is now nobody who depends on me and, for the time being, I do not depend on anyone either. The latter will eventually change, of course, if I am unlucky. Decrepitude comes to us all in the end. Sans Eyes, sans Teeth, sans Taste, sans Everything, as Shakespeare has it. But not yet.

Finally, the relationship with my daughter has broken down again, for good I think. She won’t say why. Marlowe has a wonderful line spoken by Aeneas to his friend and fellow Trojan about his disappearing mother, Venus:

Stay gentle Venus fly not from thy son
too cruel! why wilt thou forsake me thus?
or in these shades deceiv’st mine eyes so oft?
why talk we not together hand in hand,
and tell our griefs in more familiar terms?
But thou art gone and leav’st me here alone,
to dull the air with my discursive moan.

Strikes me it works the other way round too. Or for anyone left by someone they love. Whichever way, in life or in death.

If I come up with an answer as to how I see my remaining years go I’ll let you know. Does anyone out there ask themselves a similar question?


  1. We just do a day at a time here, I have no reason to look too far ahead:)

  2. It was so good to read this post and see that you are taking on life and friends again. Nothing will be the same again, and to quote a saying I have heard a lot of lately, “it is a new normal”. It is sad to read that things are not going well with your daughter, but don’t give up hope. Everyday is an opportunity, and all things are possible if we want them bad enough. If not, find your best path for peace in yourdays.

    How lucky you are to be able to enjoy Shakespeare at such a famous theater.

  3. Mostly good things here, with the making of new friendships and reinforcement of the old ones at the top of the list. I can picture you in that supermarket since I was there too (just prior to Ludlow and you) which is almost like the difference between streaming and a live performance. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me, but I'll let it stand. But, my heart hurts for yours when it comes to your daughter, and most especially because she won't tell you why. I suspect you are pretty experienced at just accepting what is, but it's cruel to turn her back without explanation. I'm so sorry, dear friend.

  4. Hi Friko - that's so good to know on many a score: your delightful outing to Stratford, the synopsis about the play - I learnt!, then the future visits booked and those 'dashes in for a quick shop' ... also the more invitations - I'm so pleased to read about those and how they'll give you something small each week to look forward to ... as you say life goes on ... and mostly it's the small things that help so much.

    I am sorry to read about your daughter ... let's hope she will come round ... but it seems that for now leaving off is the way forward ...

    With thoughts - Hilary

  5. Good to read this post dear Friko, that you are getting out and about, starting to enjoy life again.

    I am trying to live in the present, one day at a time.

    I pray that your relationship with your daughter can be healed.

    Love & hugs ~FlowerLady

  6. HI Friko. So glad to hear that people are reaching out to you, and vice versa. I don't know if the loneliness ever go aways completely. The loss of your beloved, and the separation from your daughter; a lot to take in. I have two sisters who, for god knows what reason, decided to separate themselves from the rest of the family. Every once in a while there is a glimmer of hope of reconciliation, only smashed to the ground. I try so hard to just let it go. But, as they say, hope springs eternal.

    I think of you often as I know you are figuring out your life without your beloved. Take care; sending hugs.

  7. We all do, I'm sure! I always wonder. And reading your posts gives me some hopeful clues.

    1. Wishing you the best, and gratified to read you are getting out with others.

  8. There is indeed, nothing like a live performance, even though the HDs are so well filmed these days and also bring opportunities to see things one couldn’t possibly get to (for us here, most recently, performances by the National Theater). I don’t know that I’m in a position to offer much insight on living the rest of one’s life, though one thing I can say for sure is that mine will not be spent in local electoral political squabbling such as I have recently been through in an effort to “do my bit.” I was never so glad to escape—to New York City—to hear a wonderful program of contemporary Irish music, actually a blend of new and old, with a magnificent singer, Ioarla o Lianaird, accompanied by contemporaneous.

  9. glad to read that life is returning and you are receptive to outings once again. yes, you probably are sending out subliminal messages about your renewed interests. sorry to hear about your daughter. hard to make amends when you don't know the injury. I wasn't estranged from my mother but I didn't like her very much.

  10. Dear Friko, having taken a rather unplanned lengthening blog break, I spontaneously decided a few days ago to create a new post and also to start visiting some favorite places. What a delight it is, on this rainy grey NYC Sunday morning, to find these recent posts from you.

    How beautifully you express yourself. How clumsy I am. I apologize for not having sent you the promised email. xo

  11. Friko, I'm so glad to hear that your social life is picking up. Sometimes I think it probably takes concentrated effort to do this, but in the long run, is beneficial. As you mentioned, I imagine it is a 'new normal', but one that all of us have to face eventually. I will pray for the grace and courage you need to get you through this difficult time.

  12. I was so interested to read about the Marlowe play, which I hadn't heard of. In fact, I know almost nothing about Marlowe, and only began paying attention to him when some quotation of his, or his relationship to someone, was pointed out to me. Of all the winter projects I need to undertake, going back and reading through the comments on my blog is near the top of my list. I know there are gems in there, and things that I wanted to remember -- but have forgotten.

    I haven't any doubt that we give off "signals" about our openness -- or not -- to social engagements and interaction. I'm quite sure that my message is, "Don't bother me; I'm busy." It's not that I don't like people. I do. And it's not that I don't enjoy social occasions. I certainly do. But time is limited, and I'm still working while most of my friends and acquaintances have retired. It makes a difference. If I'm to have time to read, write, and roam with my camera, the three hour lunch or movie matinee isn't always a desirable option. I suppose part of it is that while I'm still healthy and able to get out, I want to do so -- and the truth is that many of my friends no longer are able to do the walking and hiking I enjoy. It's a conundrum.

    I did love that phrase: "discursive moan." I don't know why it made me laugh, but it did. It's so different from the typical whining we hear today. It reminds me of the moaning of my neighbor's beagle. That dog can run the scales of emotion, in major and minor keys. He has a lovely life -- sometimes I think it just feels good to moan. It does for me, now and then.

  13. Glad you explained that play...not sure if I would have enjoyed the complicated relationships and twists and turns as you did. My brain not that sophisticated. I am alone this month and my mind drifts to that place and time where I might be alone more permanently. I am please your social life has fallen into place to nicely. Is it you or them. I am a loner and the phone does not ring here unless someone wants money.

  14. As I turn 61 tomorrow, I think more and more about the next 20 years or more. I watch my parents, now in their 80s and think, "that will be me." I make mental notes of what I'd like or not like to emulate.
    Meanwhile, I still go to work everyday, I garden vigorously, hike and enjoy my young grandchildren. I am not morbid about the future, but I do wonder what it will look like.

    How lovely to read of your social outings, and your renewed interest in life. I'm also sorry about your relationship with your daughter, and like others have written, encourage you to not give up hope for reconciliation.

  15. I think you are right about giving off receptive enjoy yourself to the hilt!
    As to thinking of what is to come...yes, and I don't like it.

  16. To be able to see those plays live in such a place--wow! That really is something to look forward to...besides the special treats on the way home--LOL! I am sure your energy is more open than it was and people sense that. Who knows what the future holds. I try to take it one day at a time and enjoy them the best I can. ;)

  17. Yes, I ask the question posed by Aeneas. In fact, I thank you for reminding me of those lines. They speak perfectly to the same question I have about a broken relationship with my sister. The rebuff of an offer by me to help her after she had been injured came with a very angry and nasty response asking me to never contact her again. Honestly, I don’t know what precipitated the response she gave me. I have given up hope for a rapprochement. It hurts.

    I am thrilled to read of your social life. I’m envious of your theater visits. You truly are picking up and moving on.

  18. Going to a play is always a special treat and I am glad you are going and opening your arms to the world again. Decrepitude is what I fear the most, not being able to take care of myself.

  19. It was good to hear of your trek to see such a play - in such a theatre. Good for you, Friko, and here's to more outings. Like you, and others commenting (or not) decrepitude is something I fear as well, but, onward we go.

  20. It is good to know you are out and about, to plays and invitations for lunch and so on. I agree with what you say about even the most delicious meal or wine; it just isn't the same when you are not sharing it with someone you love (or at least like).
    Sorry to hear the relationship with your daughter has broken down again. Things sounded rather good last time you wrote about her.

    My 50th birthday is in less than 6 months. That puts me firmly into the category of "more than halfway through", even though I myself find it hard to believe. The next couple of years or so are probably going to be decisive as to what my retirement will look like. I have another 15-17 (or more, depending on this country's political development) of work ahead, which is much less than the 32 years I already have under my belt.
    If I have a choice, I want to spend the rest of my life with O.K.; whether that will be at my place or his, or somewhere new, is secondary.
    Also, as far as depends on me, I hope to remain healthy enough to enjoy the next 2 or 3 decades. I am under no illusion - things can change from one moment to the next, as I know only too well.

    All the best to you, Friko; those invitations (drinks before lunch, and then lunch somewhere else) sound very sophisticated! I hope you will tell us more about them.

  21. You always write amazing posts.
    I am glad too to see you always surrounded by love here

  22. Ask those questions all the time - "what will I be when I grow up" sort of thing - sign of a life well lived that you are still asking questions - answers? Now that's something else altogether!

  23. So glad to know that your world has brightened a bit. At 74, living with my Old Man who is 84, I don't think "how will my remaining years be." I know my days are numbered. If Old Man is out of my sight too long, I go looking for him, knowing full well that one day he will be gone. Meanwhile, every day is a gift. We have had a much longer time than many others. I, too, am glad to see that you are so much appreciated here. There is hope for humanity.

  24. Hi Friko, what a hopeful post except for the end about your daughter. That sounds like a heartbreak and you sound wise to accept the situation as it is. For what it's worth, my Mother and I lost one another for almost nine years, but in the end, all the love was back. I've turned 70 this year and my damn back is a problem. Otherwise, I wake up every morning eager for my first cup of coffee and ready to see what I do.
    love kj

  25. Awesome to see how you can move on, friend F ... Keep going ... Love, cat.


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