My divine second daughter Georgina turned 21 on Sunday. Here she is at her party at The Rose in Chippendale (Sydney) holding my first daughter’s hand. Ruby made a beautiful speech (she read it over the phone to me) and Georgie had a lovely time. Richard and I gave her a bracelet made by the multi-talented blogger/cook/designer Luxirare in New York. I was really sad not to be there — the party (hosted by Georgina’s real parents & my dear friends) sounded wonderful… and didn’t end until seven in the morning.
I told Ruby recently that I’d never stayed up all night. She looked surprised, then put her arm around me and said kindly “Oh, Mummy”.
Here is a recipe for making a four year old boy very happy: watch some old Spiderman, Superman and Wonder Woman clips on youtube with him. Then make him his own Super Hero costume using designer tights, a black tee shirt, a pillowcase for a cape and a bra-washing-bag for a mask. Name him “Worm Man”. He will keep this outfit on for nearly 72 hours, wearing it to nursery and in bed. He won’t answer to anything but Worm Man. His parents might curse you but you will have a fan for life.
LEAVING KING LEAR
I went to see King Lear but had to leave half way through. I’d travelled to Stratford Upon Avon by local bus from a village called Kenilworth where I was staying because I had a workshop at the University of Warwick. Sitting in the bus as it hurtled along the hedge-lined country roads (like in a movie!), I looked at the timetable and realised that all the buses stopped at 6pm. Oh goodness. There was no way to get back to my little B&B that night. Did I want to pay 100 quid for a mini cab? If I could even get a driver to take me that distance? So somewhat sacreligiously I left at interval, happy to have seen Lear as a fool sinking into dementia, Goneril and Regan beautifully nuanced (I even understood why they treated him so). Even then, it took me two hours to get back to the B&B on several buses but I enjoyed watching deer, cows, sheep, horses and white swans out the windows.
Changing routes at Leamington I met a man wearing thick glasses and a green playboy windcheater: “I’ve spent seven hours in the hospital today, I’ve broken my thumb from slipping on some dog poo, it was a little dog, a bit bigger than a rabbit. Its owner didn’t pick up the poo but I think he’s been caught on CCTV and will be fined 1000 pounds. A few years ago I broke my ankle by falling in a pothole. People say rude things to me on the street.”
Then I met a young woman in baggy jeans: “Do you have a phone with internet that I can use? It’s to call someone special, someone important… the truth is he’s my ex, I still love him, I live in Ireland now, tonight’s the only night I can see him, and if he came and I wasn’t here he’ll never talk to me again… his parents hated me from the start, actually they broke us up. I know he probably really doesn’t care about me but that’s hard to believe, and I’m only young.”
I went to one of the Josephine Hart poetry hours. It was TS Eliot and one of the readers was Ian McDiarmid. I was really interested to see what Hart looks like. I admire the clarity and economy of her books although they always leave me a little disturbed. She has dyed black hair in a strange sort of style — sort of a helmety bun on top but with a little bob-style at the back. Quite hairsprayed. I’ve never seen a hairstyle quite like it. She is small and wore black, including very high shoes, and looked a little gothic.
CANDLES IN THE WIND
Richard arrives on Sunday, and then we’re all going to Latvia… then Richard and I will have a few days in Moscow before coming back to London. In Latvia we’re staying at a resort called “Blackhead”.
I want to go into a church and light a candle for my friend Dzintars (he was Latvian and his name means amber) who died when he was way too young.