Saturday, 19 January 2013

Transport and Theatre

It stopped snowing yesterday afternoon, but stayed very cold, so today the pavements and the road in my street are all sheets of ice, as there's been enough traffic to compact the snow, but not enough to clear it. It looks as through the roads further out are mostly clear, so I should be able to get to work on Monday, provided we don't get more snow. Although  getting to the end of my own road is likely to be interesting, knowing that the road is clear beyond that is reassuring

I went out this morning to see how bad the going was likely to be, and then walked down to the station in order to get a train into Bath,  to go to the theatre.

The train was late, and horribly crowded - to the extent that there were people unable to get on, at Avoncliffe. It turns out that Bath Rugby were playing at home this afternoon, which no doubt was part of the reason for it being so crowded. It makes me hopping mad that they never put on any extra trains (or even extra coaches) despite that fact that trains on match days are *always* packed. I imagine that the snow and the lateness made it even worse than usual. And they have just put the fares up. Grr.

Once I got to Bath, I grabbed a pasty for lunch, and took a few photos of nice buildings with snow on them, then back to the theatre to see 'Quartermaine's Terms'

The play, by Simon Gray, is set in a school teaching English as a foreign language, in Cambridge in the 1960s, and is presented as a series of scenes in the staff room, over a period of around 2 years.

There are lots of funny moments, but the play is ultimately a tragic one.

All of the characters experience their own personal disasters, whether in the shape of an unfaithful husband, a dependent and critical mother and unsuccessful love life, a daughter's suicide, a partner's death, snobbery and lack of professional appreciation or family breakdown and failure as a novelist. Everything is presented through the medium of staff room conversation, so practically all of the drama takes place off stage, and we only ever get a partial and understated view of anything.

Quartermaine himself (Rowan Atkinson) presents as, perhaps the saddest of all. He appears to be a well-meaning but ineffectual teacher, and to have no life beyond his job.  Throughout the play he is ignored or taken advantage of by his colleagues, who use him as a babysitter for their children, but forget or turn down his own invitations, and the play finally sees him facing the loss of his job.

There was a little too much of Mr Bean in Rowan Atkinson's performance for my taste, pushing his character from pathos to ridiculous once or twice, but despite this is was an interesting play, and I'm glad I was able to see it.

It is going to the West End now, for (I think) a couple of months - I shall be interested to see what the critics make of it.

My train home was late, which was actually a good thing for me - it meant I was able to get on a train 10 minutes after getting to the station, instead of missing one by 3 minutes and having to wait half an hour, and it was reasonably empty, too, so I got a seat.

The walk home from the station was hard work, due to the ice, but having spent a lot of time over the past 48 hours looking for my yaktrax I gave up and bought some new ones (well - these) when I was Bath, so I was able to walk safely.

And I called into one of the local mini markets on the way home and bought a lime, so the well-earned G'n'T I gave myself when I got home could be properly garnished.

Tomorrow, I think I shall try to make another batch of marmalade. It's a nice, warm, indoor occupation.

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