The days at Warwick pass by swiftly but quietly, as the year hurtles towards its Solstice. The weather remains variable, alternating between periods of wet but mild spells and clear cold snaps, slipping easily from one to the other as if the system was navigating a chequerboard. At the moment there is freezing fog outside and a severe frost is forecast for tonight, making both the ‘Squirrel’ Stove in the Saloon and the ‘Epping’ Range, aft in the Boatman’s Cabin, work hard to keep us comfortably warm inside.
It’s not the sort of evening to encourage one to venture out.
I am glad therefore that it was last weekend that I travelled to Malmesbury instead to see my son Alex and family. He and Catherine have a daughter Penny who is now six months old and I met the little lady for the first time on Saturday.
And she’s lovely too; a very bright happy little girl who looks just like her Mummy. But then I suppose every doting grandfather tends to have exactly the same feelings at this time.
I arrived on Saturday and Alex collected me from the train station at Swindon and then on Monday morning I travelled with him on his way to work and caught the train back to Warwick from Bath. It was a long and tedious journey involving three changes but it was a wonderful weekend which I had been looking forward to for some months.
Grandfather and granddaughter with the same silly grin
But mostly my time here at Kate Boats has been quiet, and so I’ve had a chance to get a myriad of small jobs completed. I have made the most of the 240 volt hook-up from ashore in as much as I think everything aboard has been washed thoroughly in the machine and of course it’s a pleasure to have the decadent use again of the electric kettle and toaster.
And you know? I’ve even cleaned ship on occasions.
Life is wonderful.
But frequently too I have been travelling to Stratford-upon-Avon, where my brother David lives out his bachelor existence. It’s good always to see him as we get on very well together.
Of course living so close to the Royal Shakespeare Company he visits the theatre regularly and though it is always well booked up and I normally have to make do with his description of the different productions that he has seen, he managed recently to get a ticket for me as well. This was a thorough, though unexpected treat for me.
It wasn’t a Shakespeare play that we went to see but Alexander Pushkin’s ‘Boris Godunov’. I had never seen it before, either as a play or the operatic version by Modest Mussorgsky and as in the past I had struggled to follow other Russian contemporary literature, by Chekov and Tolstoy, I was rather anxious that I might even let myself down by nodding off in the middle somewhere.
However this production adapted by Sir Michael Boyd and directed by Adrian Mitchell was performed beautifully with great spirit and understanding by the understudy members of the cast and it just shows how versatile and professional these RSC players are. I didn’t even feel like dropping off to sleep once and was gripped totally the whole way through by the vibrant production.
Well done the RSC.