Herewith an account of the adventures in England in 2018, written on the spot with scant reworking. The events depicted took place last week ago.

Still out of joint with the clock, I woke at 6:30. Off to the sea, then.

Went up the High Street past the Black Dog or Mucky Pup - it was robbed the other night, which has the village buzzing and outraged. I mean who would do such a thing? Wasn’t open yet, so no coffee. Nothing was open, but the dog walkers were out, and a few people biked towards the ocean for the morning dip.

Over the floodgate, over the bridge, up the dunes and marshes to the grey roiling beyond, complete with swimmers bobbing in the skiff and dogs on the shore, waiting with mild concern.

The village in the morning is quite perfect, and lends itself well to any sort of filter that suggests a Gainsborough:

 

I ran into Denis on the way back; he was cycling along with Mabel in the basket. The toast of London just a few weeks ago!

The order of the day was the same: rehearse, rehearse. This time with music cues and sound effects. We nailed down our presentations a bit more; a lot of this show explains Peg Lynch, shows some old TV shows, some interviews, and gives a pretty good account of her remarkable career. I’m still amazed that this happened, that this is happening; from one phone call made on a what-the-hell whim one winter morning at home to standing on a stage in the community hall performing her works before an audience in Suffolk. I mean. I mean really.

It’s made the vacation a bit odd, in vacation terms - although I got my time in London to wander about and do as I wished, so I’m not complaining. Even running errands around here is fun, as I get to see the larger market towns. We went to Halesworth, a nice little hamlet with signs of its old industrial river-powere mills along the estuary.

Those are "ducks," you say:

 

The more you look at it, the more its size of proportion seems to be surreal:

 

They point this out to visitors:

Why might that be?

 

We took a swing to Southwald, the seaside town to the north of Walberswick.

Had an Adnan’s Ghost Ship in a pub - well, drank it outside and watched the reddened vacationers pass by, talked to a few locals Astrid knew, checked out the Controversial Swan Hotel, which has been renovated. They’re aiming to get the upmarket vacationers, so they’ve given the venerable place a modern spiff. The restaurant has been the butt of jokes for the small portions and ungainly repositioning of the tables; everyone brings up the way the butter is served - a conical twirl on top of a beach rock. Authentic! Because it’s a beach town! Stones and all.

The Swan is owned by Adnan's, which has quite a presence in the region.

 

 

SHOW DAY

Rainy, which is fine. English damp, spitting drizzle.

Spent the afternoon setting up the hall:

 

Then a run-through on stage. Good thing I’ve years of experience at this!

Well, a play in 6th grade summer school, I think.

GAH

12:25 AM

Done. That . . . was more fun than I’ve had any stage ever. It went smashingly well. Full hall; 100 + sold out. The program consisted of Astrid and me telling Peg tales, interspersed with clips from Peg herself, and then a performance of a radio play, then a 1956 TV show with Basil Rathbone that had never been seen since it aired, then . . . a skit from the 1952 Kate Smith show. And by “Skit” I mean an actual play with blocking and moving around and acting, dear boy. Every single trepidation and doubt and worry evaporated, and I went offscript. Everyone had had time to memorize their lines, and I hadn’t. It was a rather frantic piece of work, but somehow by the time we got there I knew it, and just said what the hell: I can do this. And it worked! Everyone laughed! Great unstinting kudos after the show, then the afterparty at the Anchor barn - met a fellow who actually composes library music, and as you can imagine I had a capital time talking with him. (Check out his work here: I love it) Then whiskies at the Anchor with a moviemaker who has Ideas about where this all goes next.

At the end of the night - nudging in morning, really - I walked home down the dark lane to my room, as happy as a man can be, and realized I ought to do the thing I’d meant to do; last chance, best time. Dug out my earbuds, and with my last few scraps of electricity on my phone put on the right piece of music from decades. Turned off my torch and sat down in the grass and looked up and the innumerable stars, and basked.

Tomorrow: you'll see the performance.

 

 

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