I’ve been looking forward to it for simply weeks - my “reward for good behaviour.”
At least two months
ago, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I decided we just had to book tickets to witness again the twinkle toes of Charlie Stemp, who we had first seen in Half A Sixpence. He was appearing this summer in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production
of Crazy for You and we were, well, crazy to be there.
At the time, however, the date was looming for me to take my Problem Knee into hospital for major surgery.
Would I be recovered sufficiently for a theatre outing before the show ended its run? Time would, of course, tell - but theatre box office booking-on-line will wait for no one. Or no knee. “Let’s book for the very last show,” suggested my
daughter, “It will give you the best chance of being up for it.” A Sunday matinée it was - yesterday afternoon, in fact. For the last five and a half weeks I have been working towards it, my reward for good behaviour.
Obviously I can’t prove I have been good but then fortunately nobody else can prove otherwise. And everybody needs something to keep them going, to look forward to in happy
anticipation of the Treat To Come. I’m sure you will agree.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters arrived on Saturday, slightly frazzled from “back
to school” syndrome but eager to check on my progress since she delivered me back home, two weeks after my op. I will freely admit that I did show off quite a bit, demonstrating my latest tricks, such as walking round the house without any sticks or
other aids, clambering on and off the bed with ease, and executing knee bends and high squats with barely a squeak of discomfort. Loyal as ever, my daughter was fulsome in her praise. It goes a long way, don’t you know, a dose of Fulsome Praise.
She also helped me bring some semblance of order to the chaos created by four weeks of live-in carers, each with their own original ideas on where to store things, how to
arrange the furniture and what unusual food items to secrete in the fridge and freezer. My house is starting to feel more like my house and less like a care home.
Then it was off to the Main Event - would it live up to our Great Expectations, we asked each other as my daughter drove us the fifteen miles to the theatre. She had our spare wheelchair in the back of the car just in case we had to park miles away
though I was secretly determined that there was no way I would give in without a battle. There were lots of tents erected around the car park - I thought it was a circus but it turned out to be a Covid Vaccination Centre. Fortunately parking was not a problem
so there was no need for a debate over use or otherwise of the spare wheelchair.
We had left before lunch, intending to eat in the theatre café; the only
sandwiches left were quinoa and feta cheese which neither of us fancied - but even as we were deciding to settle for a lunch of coffee and cake, a whole batch of fresh sarnies arrived so we were able to feast on Coronation Chicken with salt and vinegar crisps.
We shared a table with a most delightful couple who told us they had been friends for years and years, ever since meeting up at a “Waifs and Strays Party.” Which were you? I asked one of the couple (being me, it was really important to know.) “I
was a waif in those days,” she admitted, “Now I’m a stray…” Every word, every gesture, every memory shared between the two of them signalled the warmth of a long, close and enduring friendship.
We found our seats - aisle seats so I didn’t have to struggle to reach my seat - then it was on with the show. And what a show! Critics declare it is bound to transfer to the West End stage and
if it does, please don’t miss it if you love a toe-tapping musical with great Gershwin songs that have stood the test of time and so many laugh out loud moments. Charlie Boy was amazing, as always, but so was his co-star, the really rather wonderful
Carly Anderson who deserved all the plaudits her performance earned. I staggered to my feet (the Recovering Knee tends to seize up if I sit in one place for too long) and joined in the well-deserved standing ovation (or, in my case, swaying ovation) at the
end of the show.
Back home, we had plenty to recount to Mr B though he was engrossed in watching Dances with Wolves on TV so wasn’t quite as interested
in our tales of the tap-dancing extravaganza we had just watched. My daughter made us all dinner then had to leave for the long drive home. How I will miss her, I thought to myself.
Later, I headed up to bed where I found that, unknown to me, she had been busy. The curtains were drawn against the darkness, the bedside lights were turned on, spreading a warm glow over my pillows,
my nightgown was neatly folded in two, all ready for me to slip into. It brought me to thankful tears, my oh-so-cosy bedroom.
classic case of lingering love…