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Saturday, June 4

Well, all good things must come to an end, and it was time for the sojourn of my girlfriend to do just that. While I bleary-eyed-ly (idly too) slept-in, packing appeared to be going on around me. I wasn't being deserted for my oversleeping. It was just time for her-adored (rather than her-indoors) to return to the south of this country in order to take her exams. Much revision had been going on in this house and there's only one reason for revision and that reason wasn't going to be served if she stayed 350 miles away from the exam room.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, as they mentioned in the Romeo and Juliet movie we'd watched a few days ago. In this case, parting is something you don't do until lunch has been prepared (I prepared it - it was sandwiches) and a printer cartridge has been bought. Shakespeare never mentioned those things and certainly didn't put Romeo and Juliet in a PC World before he departed to his exile. But this love story is not intended to end in the tragedy of the twin suicides that was Shakespeare's dream of the most romantic couple ever. No, this story hasn't ended yet. The girlie is back at her student accommodation, and I am here in Newcastle writing about it. MSN keeps us together when we're not in the same lcocation.

Following her departure from my street, I leapt into action. Okay, so I didn't actually do any leaping, but I did want to get myself busy, rather than waste the day moping (or even mopping). I drove to the bike shop to pick up my newly fixed bike. I haven't cycled in about 6 weeks, maybe even more. The bike was vibrating when I tried to pedal it and the chain was nasty and rusty. The vibration turned out to be a snapped axel (sounds nasty) the rusty chain turned out to be rust, on the chain. I bought a new chain and the warranty sorted out the rest. The lyric "That wouldn't pay for the chain" from Les Mis just popped into my head for almost no reason.

Talking of musicals, and no, that wasn't a contrived link, I don't lie on this blog - it did just pop into my head, providing a neat segue. Talking of musicals, I used the bike to attend a musical. I had first driven to a retail outlet where I had bought some new shoes and a new rucksack (my old one had really worn out), so I was now equipped for cycling again. Well, that's my excuse for spending money again. So, when I arrived home I spent a little time getting ready for an evening out and then cycled from my home to the People's Theatre (not the "Peoples' theatre" as the programme so erroneously put it) where they were playing Guys and Dolls. I hadn't got a ticket and I didn't know how long it would take me to get there on the bike. I set off just after 6, assuming that I would just get there in time to maybe get a seat if they still had one. While the theatre is a massive barn that is hard to fill, in all senses - sound, performance and audiences - I assumed that the Saturday night of a popular musical would probably be heaving.

I assumed incorrectly. I also thought I would have a harder time on the bike than I actually did. I breezed through the journey and had plenty of time to chain my bike up at a nearby pub before going to the box office. I had been cycling in just my jeans and shirt, but I had my fleece in my rucksack in case the return journey was too cold for such attire. I listened to some of The Producers on the way on my MP3 player. Finally I was back into the swing of cycling. I was getting exercise and getting about. Good stuff.

They had a seat for me at the theatre. I went and sat in the bar with a coffee and waited for the rush. There was no rush. Maybe about 100 people in attendance. Possibly 150, certainly not a theatre full. It's a shame that there were not more people present. There was a somewhat attention grabbing art display on the wall which included several glamour-shots of a middle-aged lady. They were tastefully painted, but there were also reasonably explicit. It's quite hard to concentrate on the conversation when there's a pair of oil-painted aged areloae staring at you in the corner of your eye. Conversation? Wasn't I alone? Well, yes I was, but I joined a woman and her 6 year old grandson at one of the tables, rather than hog an entire table to myself as I sipped my coffee. The grandson was complaining to his grandmother than this was "an old people's show" and he also asked the question "why are we here", which amused me enough to comment that he'd just asked "the eternal question". I like being amused. Children amuse me - in their innocent naivity, rather than in an alleged Michael Jackson sort of a way. The child was keen to rabbit on about films he'd seen, and he had seen musicals on film - he spoke quite informedly about the movie of Chicago. I tried to enthuse him about the show he was about to see, while also agreeing with his grandmother than this is the perfect musical.

I settled into my seat, among the space of the theatre, and waited to see whether my £7 ticket price was money well spent. I had low expectations. In fact, I fully expected the society who were putting on this amateur production to murder the show. On the up side, I expected the band to do a good job of the score. Although they had a rather shaky start on the overture and had, somehow, decided to include every note of that score in the evening's entertainment (it can be cut if necessary without too much loss in some places), my trust in the musical director was not misplaced.


What can I say. The show I did in February had sumptuous sets, glorious costumes, good direction, excellent principals and big production numbers. This thing was limp and lifeless. It was partly down to budget. Their set was composed of a few cloths and a few props. Their costumes looked like they'd come from modern day department stores, rather than a theatrical costumiers. The two female leads were fit to be chorus girls. In fairness, one of them had a very good singing voice, but the quality of the acting was poor. The two male leads were actually rather good all rounders, but that was it for the whole cast. In some cases I wanted to knock heads together. In other cases, the quality of the writing managed to leap above the impoverished performances that were on display. I had set myself up to think it was poor, but the cast managed to exceed my expectations of an abysmal show. They also managed to rewrite bits of the script.

It was a loose interpretation of a good show and they turned it into something dull and lifeless. It was a disappointment, even though I'd expected to be unimpressed. Shame.

I came home on the bike at unknown speeds. I managed to bust my tachometer as I retrieved my bike. This sounds painful, but should be fixed if I spend some time with it and its manual. Maybe tomorrow. I thought I'd be more puffed out from the cycling, but it seems that I've not managed to lose the knack completely. Hopefully, the cycling, coupled with my attempts to get on the wagon and stay on it, will help me shed a stone or two. I'm sick of the size nazis and perhaps it's time that my trouser size enabled me to buy whatever trousers I wanted, rather than the dregs.

Arriving home, I put the bike away and drove to a nearby petrol station/Tesco where I bought some food for my evening meal. It was healthy food. Then I returned home and ate the food while online. I played online games with my girlfriend for a few minutes, which was geeky but fun. Then she went to bed, and I was left to my own devices. I've revisited a writing project I thought that I'd lost interest in. Perhaps I haven't. Frustratingly, the wireless network connection, which I set up a couple of days ago, has gone and died. The moral of the story - don't buy cheap shit on ebay and expect it to work for very long. Perhaps it's just the power supply, I don't know. This means that I can't take my laptop down to the dining room and use it and have the internet at the same time. I'm not sure I need to do that, but perhaps it would have been nice!

I've also spent some of the night trying to get this blog up to date. The situation is this. I've currently got the text from 6th-20May written. Everything prior to that is posted online. I don't want to post too much online at any one time. If anyone is reading this, they should do so it easy to digest chunks. I have to write up from 21st May to today still. I've got some notes, should this should be possible. Perhaps, at some point, I will actually get this blog up to date. Maybe it's destined never to happen. I don't know. I don't even know why I write the thing... so what difference does it make?

After a bit more blogging, I went online and played and won two games of scrabble. It seems that my games against the computer player on my mobile phone version of the game have helped me get better. In the second game, I had reached a score of 340 when the other played resigned. She resigned when I had two 7 letter words (well, there were words where I used all 7 of my letters). I started with "virulent" and then gave her "fingered" which was also on a triple word score. I got 95 points for it. I was very happy. She gave up. I must remember to play more online scrabble. It's fun when you win!

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