Every cloud has a silver lining. So said someone wiser than I, once upon a long time ago.
Hence, when my eye surgery, planned
for Tuesday, was cancelled for Reasons Inexplicable, my first thought was to rue the day that I had sold my theatre ticket for Wednesday's matinee performance of An American in Paris. I could have been there, on the Champs Elysee, singing "I've got Rhythm!"
I bewailed. But not for long, because the truly lovely and accommodating Ali, who had bought my ticket when I didn't think I would be able to go, kindly agreed to sell it back to me. Hi, ho, silver lining!
It being half-term, granddaughter Hazel Bagel was joining her mother (the Youngest of the Darling Daughters) and me on our Jolly Outing. Why have one much beloved companion, when you could have two? We met at Green Park, where
dozens of people were sprawled on the sun-dappled grass enjoying picnics. Why hadn't it occurred to us to bring a picnic? we asked each other inconclusively. Hazel consulted her mobile phone and informed us that it was a mere mile or thereabouts to our destination
- should we step it out? Having failed on the Picnic Front, we could look out for a good place to eat on our way.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters and
I had both dressed for a summer's day; my granddaughter was clearly less confident in the weather forecast. She looked like Heidi, I told her, with her hair tied up in two tight bunches on top of her sweet head. Fortunately she is of a Forgiving Nature, especially
where I am concerned.
We stopped off at Bill's for lunch. My daughter and I, as always, ordered the same meal. Hazel made sure to order Something Completely
Different. I predict that, at some time in the distant future, she will find herself fancying exactly the same dish as her mother. It happens to us all in time. It's tradition...
At the Dominion Theatre we collected our tickets before following the signs pointing the way to both the Royal Box and the toilets. A helpful member of staff suggested we might want to avoid a long queue by taking a different route - how come she didn't
think we were on our way to the Royal Box? we contemplated. Did we not look, well, sufficiently regal? We didn't dwell on this for too long, however, because we came across a large display board which would make an ideal background for a photo. A kind woman
offered to take a photo of the three of us. We didn't take much persuading.
We were still looking for the Ladies with no queue when my granddaughter observed that
we seemed to be back where we started - with the same helpful member of staff issuing directions. How had that happened? We retraced our steps to discover that we had missed the door to the loos because our attention had been taken up by the display board
and its promise of a Photo Opportunity Not To Be Missed.
I am ashamed to admit that my eyes grew heavy during the first Act - so much so that my daughter had to
nudge me to wake me up. I fear I may be turning into Mr B who habitually drops off at least once during even the most exciting of theatrical experiences. None of the family - apart from me - will sit next to him in a theatre or at the cinema.
"Coffee!" proclaimed my daughter, as the curtain came down for the interval, leading the way out towards the bar. Heidi, sorry, Hazel said she had noticed a shop next door
to the theatre which sold coffee at a bargain price so we headed outside, with me marvelling at my granddaughter's powers of observation. We bought two coffees and three bottles of water for the price of one coffee at the theatre bar - this is the advantage
of being accompanied by a college student with an Eye For A Bargain.
It wasn't only the coffee that kept my eyes from drooping in the second Act. The music! The
dancing! Plus love won the day, which is just as it should be.
What a truly fabulous day! I wouldn't have missed it for the world - and thanks to a cancellation
and a kind friend, I didn't have to.