Two nights in the cottage

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 July 2009

Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation of GHOSTS by IBSEN is intense, to say the least. The five actors perform in one little drawing room. The atmosphere oppressive and dark. The candles and gaslight that illuminates the last quarter of the play is claustraphobic.

I cried when the mother broke, B cried when the son broke. Siddhi didn't cry but was moved by the evening. The old man was as good as ever. His costume perfectly fitting for his part. He looked like the Hovis advert. Jim says that Ibsen clearly hated the working man as all the parts that are created for the likes of the 'oosbind, are nasty and wheedling.

I drove the roomie back to Battersea and set off for the cottage at 11.30. Jim set off an hour before me on his motorbike. The gear lever jammed so he ended up doing the last 20 minutes stuck in 6th gear. I arrived back at the house by 1.15.

Jim walked up the drive to meet me and I jumped out of my skin, I didn't recognise him in the dark. I had forgotten quite how dark it gets here in East Sussex, having not been home for two weeks. I'm not complaining mind, I love it.

As the time edged towards 2.30 we talked over the play, ate toast,drunk tea then collapsed into our big, cool bed.

The sound of silence was so welcome. I lay listening for foxes, owls, badgers, but before you could say towhitt towhooooooooooooo I was gone.

On Friday night I compared a dance festival in Camden Town, everything from 'The Company of Elders' to The clogging women from Cecil Sharpe House. I missed Jim's press night but I had decided that Ashley took top billing as I've known her ever since she was wearing pink leotards and dreaming of being Arlene Bussel.

Saturday was spent in the flat, re-organising three thousand pairs of shoes, and doing the washing, it all dried on the balcony, it smelt of fresh air and memories.B turned up looking radiant. She's been accepted to do Youth Work in Hackney, she starts her course tomorrow. The old B is re-emerging but as a new version of herself. By the time we had arrived at The Arcola we had ditched the dirt on everyone we knew - ah! The pleasure of daughters

This morning I re-set the alarm for 9.00 - BH one of my favourite radio programmes - woke me. The death of Harry Patch, AT 111, was announced. Harry was quoted as saying that war was just organised murder. He is the last surviving voice of WW1, the dear Somersetonian has single handedly made me re-think my attitude towards wearing a poppy in November. I still hate the idea of warmongering, the arms race, the hypocracy that surrounds our territoral obsession, but for the likes of Harry, and all the millions of innocents who died on my behalf, I feel it is behoven to me to honour them Rob, the agent, will be delighted it was the first political row we had.

I arrived at Waitrose at eleven not knowing that it opened at ten. The old git said he would kill me if I bought more shopping than was on the list. So I bought nine eggs instead of a dozen.

We had a BLT and real coffee with hot milk listening to 'Sorry I Haven't a Clue' Oh! I know I should be loyal to LBC but there are four programmes that I make an appointment to listen to . 'Desert Island Discs', Fi Glover's Saturday Live, Broadcasting House and SIHC.

Our kitchen has a wooden table in the centre. Jim usually sits on the top corner, I opposite, this morning we abandoned our set places and basked in the sun at the other end of the table. It was lovely. We laughed at Rob Brydon's filth, munched on our bacon, lettuce and tomato rolls and slurped our fresh coffee. Delicious.

Then I happily pulled out the extension plugged in the mower and cut the grass. I changed my route, I'm clearly getting adventurous in my old age, Loads of windfalls so I made stewed apples with agarve syrup and cinnamon. The blackcurrents have all gone to the black birds. The raspberries have all dissappeared. The rose-hips are out but I'm too lazy to do anything with them. The mint and rosemary bushes are huge and all my tubs of herbs, from St, Johns Wort to Marjoram, are flourishing. The lawn took me ages I kept getting interrupted by phonecalls, ants nests which I poured boiling water over, the lawn has more brown patches than Jims costume, not to mention whacking myself on the chin with the junction box, I look like I've been smacked in the face by Lennox Lewis.

Jim fixed his bike and then we sat and had a cupper with our lovely homeopath who visted with two of her children. We argued over 'Bruno', which I think is cutting edge, and she doesn't, they left having eaten all the biscuits.

I played the piano for over an hour. It's been ages since I sat and had a play. It was good, It frightend me that I was losing my touch but Handel and Mozart got my fingers and brain working. The ivory came off the top 'A'. which is sticking, so I booked an appointment with the piano tuner, whilst Jim stuck the ivory back on with super glue. Jim even ended up whistling some of Amadeus's bass lines, poor sod must have been turning in his grave.

It feels autumnal and its not meant to, but it did, so I made roast chicken, leeks and carrots cooked in a little milk and butter, courgettes in garlic and olive oil with new potatoes and mint from the garden. Whilst it cooked I ran a bath. I poured in baby bubbly stuff and something else that smelt nice. I found a face thing in the drawer. I felt like Anthony Hopkins in 'Silence of the Lambs'. A citrus face cloth which had to be unpeeled and positioned over the face, pulling out the mouth piece. I put my glasses over the top of the face cloth - yes I was the Invisible Man covered in orange slices - I slid down into the foamy warm water. Bliss, I read my book until I could smell the dinner wafting up through the floorboards.

Jim and I sat opposite each other tearing at the meat, popping the potatoes and discussing the use of knives, forks and fingers.

He settled on the floor, I in the arm chair, and we watched some telly. I keep sneezing so I'm going to bed to scare of the swines.

The daughter's just phoned to ask us to wish her luck on the first day of her course. She will be fine, but I'm going to ring again and tell her so.

I have re-set the alarm so that I'm up early enought to wash and dress before catching the train in TWells, and a return to London town and three hours of live radio..........

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At July 28, 2009 5:56 PM Marmite wrote:

Glad you reminded me about the sad bits in Ghosts...I'm bringing tissues...I'm a sop I'll cry in both bits!
Can't wait to see it on the 1st
lots of love Marmite xx

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