I’m running out of evenings. I’m trying to pack things in before December descends and I go full time Scrooge. Today was the first day of our remarkably short rehearsal process. It’s the fifth consecutive year I’ve done this show, and five months is longer than my longest tour so I guess I can say that Christmas Carol is the longest run I’ve ever had. 1 month up, eleven months down. A cast change mid way, two years ago, when we lost John because he was in South Africa. Jack came in. But this’ll make 5 months over 5 years…

Every year I assume it’ll be the last year and then back it comes. This year there’s plenty of new stuff externally. A new huge venue. A new chef. A new team on the bar and on Stage Management. All friends though. And despite the short process, Jack and I are digging for new content.

I’ll have a link for you really soon. Although for those of you who’ve been asking it’s in Liverpool Street, it’s every night in December, and I love seeing friends there. If you’re broke I expect I’ll be able to put a code up for a reasonable discount. PM me if you’re interested.

Anyway, today I tried to seize my evening. After rehearsal I went to catch up with a dear old friend – of mine and of my mother. She’s from Greece, so she’s not over here very often. Her kids were good friends of ours growing up. When my dad was in Switzerland we used to spend a lot of time together. She’s robust, positive, kind, and hasn’t changed a scratch in 25 years. We had tea and shortbread and just … spent time in one another’s company. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed. Plus the tea was great. It’s a good way of reconnecting with those that are lost, spending time with their friends. I suppose it must be similar for them spending time with me. I should do it more often. I used to find it too painful. But not anymore.

But despite pleasure, great tea and company, and two shortbread left on the plate, I couldn’t settle with just one visit in my precious evening. It was a mild evening, and I’ve been feeling pretty composite with all the yoga. I felt like a walk, so I walked across town to have dinner with my half brother Rupert. More tea, lamb, elderflower cordial. Rupert hasn’t drunk for years which is handy as I’m off for the moment. I’m not desperately missing it, frankly, but it’s easier when people aren’t chugging wine in front of you.

Rupert is now my oldest remaining sibling. He’s looking great apart from the fact he can’t walk right now, but that’s down to recent keyhole surgery in his knee. He’ll recover. Thankfully.

I’m glad I get on with my siblings. We’re all very different. Rupert is a chartered accountant, so has that strangely uncomplicated relationship with numbers that I was thinking about yesterday. The two of us mostly just caught up. It’s been a long time.

I haven’t been as good as I probably should have been about keeping in touch with family, old friends of my mother’s, even old friends of mine. It’s so easy to stalk people online and see how they’re doing. We have to remember there’s no substitute for a hug, loads of tea and lamb chops, good company and direct human contact. If any of you fancy tea and dinner, The Factory session is cancelled tomorrow (Tuesday.) Shame to waste one of my precious last few evenings. We could do alchemy with a clown! Or not. Perhaps I just suggested it because it’s the only recent photo I can find, and it’s bedtime. Zzxxx



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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