It’s been a surprisingly busy week for a man of leisure such as myself.

Water Festival at Somerset House
Water Festival

A play at Shakespeare’s Globe, an all-night party, a Water Festival at Somerset House, two sports’ days, my parents visiting, lots of gardening AND went to watch Millie play at the Royal Festival Hall.  Amidst all of that I’ve also managed to upgrade some CVs (mine included), apply for some jobs, and begin chasing down some freelance work.

I highly recommend a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe, almost regardless of what you’re going to watch.  The sense of history there (despite it being a reconstruction of the original) is remarkable – you really get a sense of what it must have been like visiting the theatre 400 years ago: the people milling around, the wooden seats, the large central stage… I almost wished they’d brought some animals in, as people supposedly did back then.

Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare’s Globe

As it was, the Lovely Melanie and I went to see The Last Days Of Troy by Simon Armitage, a new play dramatising the event of Homer’s Iliad, which was extremely good.  We were surrounded by a class of American schoolkids, which annoyed the Lovely Melanie no end, but I thought they were pretty well-behaved, all things considered.

We did wonder about the wisdom of bringing a six-year-old child, as one woman behind us did, but they left soon after the bit where Achilles smears himself in the blood of the dead Hector.  I can’t think why.

We’ve had twin sports days, too, which are always fun to watch.  Here are some pictures of Millie and some pictures of Amber.

But I think it’s fair to say the BIG event of the week was Millie’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall, where she played the recorder onstage alongside a couple of hundred other children from Bexley.

Originally, the Lovely Melanie and I had one ticket between us (reasoning it would be a bit long and late for Amber, so one of us needed to stay home with her), but as luck would have it my mum and dad were coming up to London to stay with us that night – my dad and the Lovely Melanie always have a day at Wimbledon.  They bought concert tickets, generously gave one to us and my dad volunteered to stay home.

Millie went up with the school during the afternoon to rehearse and get ready, my mum and I caught a late afternoon train up, and we met the Lovely Melanie at the South Bank after work.

The South Bank was full of excited parents and children, and the Royal Festival Hall was heaving!  We did wonder why the concert was three hours long, as the programme didn’t seem to have that much on it, but we soon found out.

Have you ever tried to organise a concert with 300 young children (they were aged 7-16, but most looked younger than 11)?

No, neither have I, and having seen it done I’m amazed they did such a remarkable job in just three hours!  Swapping orchestras and choirs, rearranging seats, changing the sheet music, bringing hundreds of nervous children on and off – often in semi-darkness…  There had been no full-size rehearsals beforehand either – Millie didn’t have a clue what she was doing, except to play her part of a tune at some unspecified point.

I rather enjoyed Millie’s bit.  The song – played by hundreds of kids of different talent and ages – had a ramshackle experimental air to it that reminded me of Can and other crazy ’70s Krautrock bands that I like. 🙂

Millie at the Royal Festival Hall
Millie at the Royal Festival Hall

Meanwhile, in the audience, the Lovely Melanie was sat downstairs, so she had a closer (if more restricted) view; my mum and I were sat up amongst the gods, so we could see everything and nothing – faces were all a blur.  Thank goodness we did eventually spot Millie just before she started playing after the interval, but as you can see from my picture, it was a sniper’s task!

She was so wonderfully excited to be there and I was so proud to see her there. I may have partied backstage with actual rockstars at the South Bank, but never in all my 42 years have I been onstage playing an instrument. 🙂

We finally got back home about 11pm, and exhausted Millie (and grownups!) fell into bed and straight to sleep.

It’s just about a week since I was made unemployed now, but we’ve been so busy that it hardly feels like it at all, and I’m only just starting to get up to speed with applications and plans.  The next big milestone is in a few days when we discover exactly how much money the taxman has taken from my job payoff, and how long I can afford to be at home blogging and arsing about!

Fingers crossed for that, eh?

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