This week has been a bit mad. In addition to the usual manic work stuff, a few 'old house issues' becoming apparent (leaking drain, damp, condensation...) and the general day to day stuff of living, I've had 2 trips to London. Work related rather than pleasure exclusively, as a result of which I've decided a 2 hour plus each way commute is really not for me! I love going to London, but really, I think, because I like to be able to soak up the atmosphere and people watch. Running on and off the tube and negotiating crowds of people when you actually have to be somewhere at a given time not so much fun.
But I did sneak in a few little bonus 'moments'... On Friday evening after a full days meeting, we took in the Royal Ballet's Manon at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This did not disappoint - the music was beautiful and the dancing defied what you think a human body can do. How those dancers manage to make something so physically demanding look so graceful and effortless is beyond me. Although in many respects the lead character doesn't exactly encourage your empathy (she's a bit shallow, flirts between love and riches with giddying fickle-mindedness) the story was told with such emotion that by the end of the second act I was reaching for a tissue... not that it takes a whole lot to reduce me to tears these days!
Obviously, couldn't take pictures in there so this is copied from the ROH site. The sets and the costumes were stunning and the setting of the opera house beautiful (another first for me, had never been in there before). Several ballet 'newbies' in our group, who had come along with a healthy degree of scepticism, were completely converted - if you are not sure if you like ballet, this is one to see. Lovely way to spend the evening.
Then before heading home on the Saturday, I made the effort to go and see the poppies installation at the Tower of London. Over the summer this stunning sea of poppies, each representing service personnel that died during the First World War, has spread across the moat around the Tower. Lots more about the installation here - I was keen to see it before it is dismantled in November.
It was heaving with people, but even so, no less impressive to see this flow of red that certainly focuses the mind in terms of the scale of wasted lives. Very powerful image.
Something of a reminder of the value of life.
There have been a number of sobering things this week, most not for mention on here, but this little waif touched my heart too...
My middle son's girlfriend is a vet nurse and found this poor little lost soul curled up in the road, cold, blue and very nearly history. He is about 6 weeks old and, she is pretty sure, dumped. I don't understand how anyone can do that. I had said I wouldn't have cats in this house - no garden, too near a busy road, out all day... but was seriously tested here!! Fortunately, within a day a kind home had been found for him so I'm sure he'll have a happy life now.
So, enough dallying, back to the tedious business of 'day off' activities - chasing the water authority re the drains, washing, ironing, cleaning... though have to confess to a degree of obsession with what has become something of a scientific exercise monitoring the relative humidity and checking the dehumidifier. Should this house ever resemble something less than tropical levels of humidity (without the warmth!) I shall be putting flags out!!!