I seem to have done a lot of grumbling lately. My arm hurts, it’s cold, my gnocchi are mouldy, I’m afraid of falling over… Wah wah wah. What a whinger.
So I am declaring this to be Grateful Monday, and am not going to moan. Surely I can manage that, for one day at least? Here instead are some things I am thankful for.
I have some very lovely colleagues, and even lovelier friends, and a bloody wonderful family, all of whom have been unfailingly kind and patient with me since early December. They have helped me, carried things for me, given me lifts, made me tea, cooked me supper, plied me with alcohol, commiserated with me, encouraged me, and just let me know I’m not alone. I know some great people. I love them all, and I am so blessed that they all love, or at least genuinely like, me. I’m a lucky dog.
Thinking of which, I met a truly gorgeous dog this morning, on my way to the bus stop. Schnauzer cross, perhaps? – short and wiry and particoloured, with chestnut chin whiskers and a “What’s in there? Who’s this? What’s that? Look sharp!” expression on his bright little face. His owner looked as tired and bored as he looked alert and alive - I hope she grows into being like her dog and not the other way around (with the exception of the hefty ‘tache, which probably suits him better than it would her). He was so full of beans, bounding along on a Monday morning, interested in everything; just being eyed up by him gave me a boost.
Another thing I am grateful for, besides my dear circle of friends and family (and the delight of watching other people’s dogs) is my dvd player. That was a good buy; one of those expensive purchases that really do make life better, rather than it rapidly becoming clear that they were a waste of money (my omelette pan is another; and the blender; and the electric blanket; and the radio). Thanks to the dvd player I have been able to spend the evenings when I was not out (ie, most of them) with quality entertainment in the form of movies, ballet, contemporary dance, opera, and the odd tv series. Too tired to type one-handed all evening, unable to draw, paint or sew, frustrated by the difficulty of holding a book and turning the pages, I have instead been entertained, enlightened, moved, scared and delighted by my dvd collection. I’ve cried over Christopher Bruce’s “Swansong”, flinched at “The Devil’s Backbone”, thrilled to a glorious production of “Aida” and marvelled at the wonder that is “Some like it Hot”. I’ve letched after Brendan Fraser in “Blast from the Past”, worshipped Miyako Yoshida’s Sugar Plum Fairy, cried over the understated brilliance of “Shane”, wallowed in a compilation of past winners of the Cardiff Singers Competition, enjoyed the switch-off-your-brain sheer fun of “Viva la Diva!”, and discovered “Firefly”. Yep, pretty good stuff, all things considered.
I am also enormously grateful for living in a country with a free-at-point-of-demand national health service, and a hospital within half an hour of my home.
And on Friday I was able to get to Covent Garden to see MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet”; hurrah. It was an evening of slip-ups, actually; a weird squalling noise from one of the oboes, a mobile ‘phone going off somewhere; then Leanne Benjamin came down awkwardly from a lift in the Balcony Scene and put a hand down on the stage to keep from falling; and during Act Two Edward Watson landed badly from a jump and was visibly in trouble for several minutes. I couldn’t see exactly what had happened; it may be that his shoe was loose, rather than an injury, as he slipped offstage for a few minutes during one of the crowd dances and was fine when he came back. Despite all these little whoopses, however, it was an excellent evening out - and I was in tears by the end, which is surely the mark of a good “Romeo and Juliet”.