Plateauing

I’m feeling strangely flat, and I shouldn’t be because it’s warm enough to wear skirts and stilettos, I know what to write this week (kind of) and last weekend was utterly gorgeous. I think I need a holiday, but I won’t get a break until the beginning of next month, when the parental unit come over from Oz.

Last weekend was spent in M’s endlessly entertaining company in the wilds of England, exploring old houses, beautiful parks, gardens and ruins. Sunday saw us walking through the greenest paddock I have ever seen. Up to the skyline, everything was green, and above it were milky blue clouds. We had lunch by a pub near an old water mill with ruins in the distance, and I was in ecstasies. I never knew England could be so beautiful, and fear I may even be starting to like the place.

On the way back through the paddock, we stopped by a gate that led to an old church (although M maintains that a 19th Century church is hardly old) and waited for three young Goths to step through first. The first looked relatively normal, despite a halo of dry, brown frizzy hair, the second was black and the third had buck teeth. Even though I couldn’t hear him, I knew M was laughing behind me, and I was struggling not to laugh myself, but some adolescents do try so hard to be individuals, and we really shouldn’t mock their efforts.

Due to my perpetual state of impoverishment, H very kindly took me to see Equus on Thursday, along with the Magirrister of whom, like H- (March 10 entry), I profess to be very fond. When I met them, wearing my red silk Monsoon skirt and a black top, H asked, ‘Did you spend all day getting ready?’ I protested, somewhat annoyed because I had actually done some work, that it had only taken me 45 minutes. I’d read the play before I left, as from past experience if I don’t hear what’s going on I get very, very angry and frustrated. As it transpired I couldn’t hear much anyway. The loop system worked, but the microphones were at the front of the stage and the actors were standing quite a way back. So I did hear some things very clearly: someone coughing their guts up and a mobile phone going off.

The play was interesting to read but quite boring to watch. Daniel Radcliffe was good but I didn’t think Richard Griffiths had enough presence. The actors playing the horses were fantastic however, not least because they were dead sexy, but also because they’d studied all the movements of horses and they looked positively real. I really liked the theme of communicating with animals in some kind of unearthly, mystical way, just as I liked the fusion between human and animal love in Chloe Hooper’s A Child’s Book of True Crime, and it gave me the hint of an idea for fixing a short story which has been stubbornly refusing to work for the last 10 years.

Obviously one of the drawcards for lots of people was Daniel Radcliffe getting his kit off, and H pointed out that there was a great deal of grappling for the opera glasses between the gay couple in the row before us. But it didn’t seem that necessary for him to get starkers, unless the writer was trying to drive home some point about the primal fusion between man and horse. I have to confess I was more taken with the muscles on Radcliffe’s back than his willy.

The Magirrister had bought a new pack of cards which he liked because they looked old, but they were so new and shiny that spreading them felt like rippling water. Halfway through dinner after the play (at a bright yellow Chinese restaurant in Chinatown), he told me to cut the pack, and that the person with the highest card could chose the last round of hors d’oeuvres. I teased him that he must have already figured out who was going to get the highest card, then cut the pack and came up with an Ace of Spades. The Magirrister looked utterly flummoxed for a few seconds, then conceded that there was no point in going on with his trick and had to put his cards away.

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