The last couple of posts have failed to catch me up with the present, and I know from my abortive childhood attempts and diary keeping that this is a fatal situation. Struggling along trying to write in detail about everything and never catching up to the present is a recipe for disaster, so I’ll use this post to sort things out. Oh, and I’m still planning to write about the ‘Me and My Girl’ performance week. One of these fine days…

Since Thursday the 19th was the subject of my last post, Friday the 20th is where I shall begin. The afternoon saw yet another rendevous with the cast of ‘Me and My Girl’. It’s always the way after a show; you spend so much time together during rehearsal and performance, and then suddenly it’s over and everyone’s busy catching up with work, or rehearsing hard for their next show. The odd reunion for coffee is the standard way to stay in touch. Since it was such a wonderful afternoon, we then went and sat by the river for a while. Watching people punting on the river is an endless source of amusement, and after a while you can be sure to see someone unceremoniously fall in. (Two on this occasion.) Follow the sidebar link to my photoblog for an illustrative picture. (One of these days I’ll redesign my blog so I can post decent sized photos to it.)

In the evening I was at the ADC Theatre again doing ‘front of house’ for the musical ‘My Fair Lady’. I had quite a few friends in the cast, and there were more M&MGers along that night too. I really enjoyed the show, and it made me regret that I wasn’t a part of it. (Long time readers may remember my dilemma when offered a part, and as it turned out lots of people did both shows. Still, it would have meant even less time to work, so I probably made the correct decision.) Then I was doing front of house at the ADC again on Sunday evening, for a touring show called ‘Jackson’s Way’. It was the Perrier Award winner from last years Edinburgh festival, which promised much, and I wasn’t at all disappointed. Definitely one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages. Chris John Jackson is a spoof ‘Life Coach’, and builds his presentation around his ‘flash of inspiration’. Paraphrased – ‘While there is a small number ‘pointful actions’, there is an infinity of ‘pointless actions’, ready to be harnessed’. May not sound funny, but it was if you were there…

I’d been invited to a friends house for dinner, which I couldn’t attend due to the show, but popped up afterwards for a quick drink. Ah, those fateful words. Needless to say it was past 3 am by the time I weaved back into college. It was well worth the effort of climbing the only hill in Cambridge though, as I got to have a long anticipated political argument with a friend of mine. I get on well with him, and he’s a decent guy, which makes it all the more inexplicable that he’s a Conservative party supporter. An ardent Thatcherite with a social conscience? I had to find out more. Needless to say I didn’t manage to convert him, nor him me, but I enjoy arguments for their own sake. They inevitably leave both parties even more entrenched in their own views, but it does at least force you to clarify the reasons for your beliefs.

Monday evening was when I moved back to St Albans, laden down at the last minute with an additional ten books from Catz library. Indicative of my general work ethic, I am great at getting text books but struggle with the whole ‘opening and reading’ thing. Since I’ve been home, I have made lots of plans for working, and feel ready to launch into it any week now. Other than this serious apathy, the only major event in the last week was a big family party on the Saturday.

It was my dad’s side of the family, who we see rarely compared to my mum’s side. It’s a shame, since we always get on very well when we do make the effort. The excuse for the party was somewhat confused, since one reason cited was my aunt’s 60th birthday, but this actually isn’t until November. She lives in the US though, and since she was over in England it seemed as good a time as any to celebrate the occasion. Other possibilities were the immediate proximity of my uncle’s 65th birthday, or perhaps that my cousin turns 30 in the summer, and my brother is 18 at the end of April, not to mention that another of my cousins is due to turn 40. Basically, there was a party, and regardless of the reason it was great to see so many family members that I hadn’t for ages.

It was organised by my cousin Joanna, and held at her place in Oxford. Bizarrely for an atheistic student, she lives in a catholic convent, but things are not as austere as one might imagine. There are only three nuns to almost 50 students, and I assume revenue from the accommodation provides them an income. Attempted conversion of their tenants is no doubt a consideration, but not in a scary or imposing way. I’m sure my cousin will stand up admirably to the onslaught anyway.

No doubt everyone has been through similar parties, when all these people you don’t recognise seem to be related to you in the most obscure ways. Conversations revolve around clarifying that your grandmother’s second cousin’s nephew-in-law was their first cousin’s uncle’s neighbour’s baby-sitter. Or something like that. Older family members will delight in pointing out how much you look like your brother, and will recount loudly how they watched you running naked round their garden hurdling flowerbeds when you were ‘knee high to a grasshopper’. Merely walking across the crowded room requires great trepidation, and swift evasive action to avoid the crazy aunts, skillfully diverting them towards your unsuspecting siblings.

Actually that better describes parties on my mother’s side, and I enjoy them anyway, despite the inanity of the inevitable small talk. At the party on Saturday I spent some time mingling, but eventually the cousins gravitated together, forming a generational ghetto in the garden. The cousins range from 18 to 40-something and are scattered country wide, both contributing to our infrequent contact. Whenever we do meet we all say how we must see each other again soon, and this time was no different. We’re great talkers, but less than efficient doers.

It’s actually not very long till I go back to Cambridge, at the very latest on the 16th of April and it might be a few days earlier. Between now and then I’ve got a lot to achieve, and as ever I plan to start bright and early tomorrow. The biggest obstacle is the current state of my notes from this year; I have three large piles of paper in no semblance of order whatsoever. The task of taming these into something useful for revision purposes will not be easy, but is an unfortunately necessary evil. I’ve been finding plenty of distractions to avoid starting, which reminds me that I was going to recommend the book I just finished reading. ‘Pompei’, by Robert Harris, is set mostly in the days just before the town’s destruction and contains fantastic description of the erupting Vesuvius. It’s a highly intelligent thriller, which I was entirely unable to put down. Well worth a look, as are ‘Fatherland’, ‘Enigma’ and ‘Archangel’, his other novels.

I think this mammoth post brings things up to date, and I must head to bed. Tomorrow will be a day filled with dynamism. It will.

PS Running the Blogger spell-check on this post, I was prompted to replace mum’s with mom’s. Yuck.