Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Minstrel's guitar

Hello and welcome. If you are a regular, I hope you enjoyed last week's "infoview". If you're a newcomer, c'mon in, we'll make space.

Well here in the Independent Republic of.., it's been a glorious weekend. Lots of people lounging on the beach and messing around. A few were put off by the seaweed. Admittedly it was like wading through porridge, but once you were through, the water was great. Come and chill on the shingle.

Having learnt from Paultons Park, we avoided the fast and furious this time, and opted for historic houses. Lots of them in fact, at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.

"And that will never be," a play by Suzi Hopkins, was being performed the day we went. It was about two women, centuries apart, who put duty before love. The story unfolded as the actors wove their way through the museum. The cast was limited to the dutiful woman; her lover; two village yobs; two children and Minstrel with a guitar.

We adults wanted to see the play, but it was a high risk strategy with our four year-old, after all;

1. Dr Who wasn't in it,
2. nor was a bear, a gruffalo, Sportecus, Boogie Pete etc
3. loos were miles away,
4. 90 minutes running time
5. no interval,
6. we'd run out of sweets.

Throwing caution to the wind, we got tickets and only missed the first couple of scenes trying to persuade our pre-schooler to get down from a tree.

We joined the back of the audience just as a Puritan preacher was trying to persuade his sweetheart to marry him and move to America. Our beloved was gripped. At the end of the scene we moved on at a sedate pace whilst he barged ahead and skipped happily beside the Minstrel. Fantastic, we thought, our gamble had paid off. (Incidentally, she said no).

An hour into the play and it was building to a climax. Imagine; an American arrives in town. He offers to help the schoolmistress carry a pail of water. There's a spark. It's seen by the yobs. They decide to teach him a lesson. They pounce, goading the American until he snaps. There's a fight, two against one. The schoolmistress pleads for calm. The yobs back off, noisily. Then peace. The victims exchange a look. The spark's been ignited. They leave.

The audience is transfixed. Suddenly a clear, high pitched voice pierces the silence,

" I like your guitar," says our pride and joy to the Minstrel.

"Thank you" he replies.

As we cringe, our lad trots merrily after the Minstrel, refusing to leave his side until the final bow.

It was a great day out.

Back to Shoreham Beach, the roadworks are due to start this week. Time to pump up the bike tyres I reckon.

Have a good week and see you next Sunday.

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