So, ex-Mrs W, how would you describe the end of the first week of your Life Reclaimed? My response? I reserve judgement.
It has been an interesting renaissance. I have already written about the lunch party I so enjoyed last Sunday, I hsve mentioned a supper with friends, followed by lunch with friends and all rounded off by a visit to Glyndebourne.
Lunch on Wednesday was such fun - my friends, B & T, have been so kind and have given me such support. We ate at a local restaurant which is quite unique - it is owned by a Portuguese family, who have run it for many years. It is an amazing experience to eat there, it is always full every day of the week, even though it is out in the countryside, the clientele are mainly regulars, members quite definitely of the silver foxes, and the staff are unbelievably jolly.
Looking around the dining room, I realised that whether I liked it or not, I also was one of these silver foxes, although obviously, I considered that I looked years younger than anyone else, of course. Such conceit.
Notwithstanding, it was fun and I find B & T charming and great company.
To Glyndebourne the following day. I had not realised that the dress rehearsals were like performances, not actually open to the general public, but all the tickets are made available on a complimentary basis to family and friends of the cast, and some Friends of Glyndebourne.
It makes for a very relaxed atmosphere, because the dress code is not the usual black tie and evening dress one, but just ordinary clothes. One still picnics in the Interval - my friend and I arrived very early, so set up our little picnic camp, had a glass or two of chilled white wine, some olives and some cheese. It felt slightly strange because the performance starts at 4.30 pm, too early to have had a proper lunch.
I loved putting together our little picnic. As I was unearthing picnic paraphanalia, finding cutlery, tablecloth and napkins, I felt a little tearful. Life is so different now, and I so miss doing things like this. I packed a beautiful lace trimmed cloth that belonged to my aunt, big linen napkins to cover our laps, and as I did so, lots of memories came flooding back.
I roasted a poussin, with tarragon, butter, and lemon, which I just cut into quarters, to eat with our fingers if necessary, cooked tiny new potatoes, made a little mayonnaise flavoured with lemon juice, white peaches poached in sugar syrup and white wine, with a little creme de framboise liqueur stirred in at the end, to be eaten with thick Greek yoghurt, and put together three cheeses, some ripe epoisse. Shropshire blue, and some goat's cheese. My friend brought the salad made from lettuce grown on her allotment, all unusual, some dark red, some frilly, some mottled, and some Russian gherkin cucumbers, sweet, crisp, and slightly bitter, and also the wine. All quite delicious.
Now for the opera - I had never heard of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress - a huge oversight, as it turned out. It was wonderful - a alightly slow start for me, but then, I really began to enjoy it. The libretto by W H Auden, the scenery by David Hockney, what more could one ask? I loved it - opera is actually light on story - but always the music and singing are magical. We knew Matthew Rose, who sang the part of Shadow, and who had kindly given us our tickets, so it was lovely to have a connection with the performance.
It did turn out to be a very long day - nearly six hours driving in total, but so enjoyable. I am fortunate that I can continue to do things that give me so much pleasure - but I do have to cherry pick now, I cannot do everything.
So - my final answer at the end of this first week? I have had a jolly time, but it was all still tinged with a certain sadness, old memories die hard, and it will take time for the dust to settle.
1 day ago