On the train for Lowestoft, with calls at Blurtford, Saxmurfer, Ohfershire, Dalton, Moore, St. Connery, and Darsham.
I’ve done this three times now, and I think I can manage without assistance again. It’s not that I don’t know which train to take; I do. It’s how to ask for the ticket. I want the fast train to Norwich, but I want to get off at Ipswich and take the slower train to Darsham, but actually Lowestoft. This requires an up-and-over maneuver - leave the train, take a lift to the walkway over the tracks, then take the train that’s sitting there, waiting, to head off.
If you’re lucky, I gather. Sometimes it’s not there. The first time, I ran! And made everyone else in the family run, too. The second time, with Daughter last year, I encouraged alacrity. This time I strolled. Eh. It’s there. I’ll make it.
Some of the towns on the stop don't seem interested in visitors.
Then we stopped at Darsham; I disembarked, greeted Astrid with glee, got in the car, and headed to Walbers. The objective of the summer would be soon achieved.
I made it to the Anchor.
They were out of the ale I wanted.
But there were others! After three half-pints of Adnam's finest and dinner with the Kings, I went back to the B&B and fell asleep at the preposterous hour of 10:30, thinking “I’m going to be up at 4, aren’t I” but it didn’t matter. Three days into the time deformation of eastward jet lag, I was still a bit off.
Around ten AM the next day I went to Astrid’s house to run through the chat segments for the show, and then we greeted the other actors who would be performing in the first skit.
Have I told you what I’m doing here? No?
I’ll describe in detail later, after the triumphant performance. Let’s just say it’s like last year - we’re doing two of Peg’s scripts, but it’s bigger. There are more people involved, actual staging with blocking and props. Look, Ma, I’m acting!
Five years ago I picked up the phone and called Peg Lynch cold to talk about her 1950s radio show and now I’m in a small town in England doing her Albert character with her daughter as her Ethel character. It’s . . . just a vast joy. So.
The first read goes great, and we’re all right there. It jells instantly. The other actors are, well, actors, so they know what they’re doing. Break for lunch, then the second set of actors arrive for the more difficult skit - it has actual action and props and the like. The actors: an adorable and charming actress from Norwich to play the little daughter, and a nice old lady who is sedate and cheerful and your basic nice old English lady, until she starts to speak her lines - at which point she erupts into the fully-formed character of a dotty English matron, brilliant diction, charmingly dotty. Well:
June Beatrice Freud, Lady Freud (née Flewett; born 22 June 1927 in West Kensington, London), is a British actress and theatre director. She is also known by her stage-name Jill Raymond, and was usually known as Jill Freud after her marriage to Clement Freud.
As a war-time teenager, she was evacuated to C.S. Lewis's house in Oxford and she is said to have been the inspiration for Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Uh huh. She was in “Love, Actually.” And now I’m acting alongside her.
Have I mentioned how much this is sheer absolute delightful heaven?
After the rehearsals I went back to my B&B and slept. Overslept my alarm. Woke, went back to the King’s for more run-throughs on our presentation, then dinner and drinks and palaver, I had to ask Denis about this.
Oh, Cleese was in that musical he wrote. Long story.
At the end of the night I tottered down the dark lane to the B&B, and was reminded that this was the path Daughter and I took last year after an evening of equal duration and amusement - and while you might think “aww, time moves on, you must have felt a pang,” I was texting her in Brazil as I walked along. She had texted earlier about going for a walk, I’d sent pictures of the Kings and news from Walbers, then said do you remember that dark walk back, all the stars above, the glorious remove.
She did. And reminded me that I relieved myself en route.
And it was magical despite that. Such is Walbers.
Off to a smashing start! Tomorrow: rehearsals. And then the performance.