In other, more localised news, I had precisely zero 3G this morning (not exactly a surprise) and a similar level of mobile service. So, thanks Orange/EE. Shit as ever. I spent half my way into work trying to text Katie to ask her to take some chicken out of the freezer; will now have to revisit dinner plans. Vexing, vexing. I am so fed up with the lack of service in London. FFS, it’s London. I really don’t understand. I was opposite the Hs of P on Friday afternoon, and there was just no service at all. Honestly, you’d think our noble parliamentarians would have got pissed off to the point of getting it fixed by now. Or probably they have a bubble of wifi and are thus unconcerned by the problems the rest of us face*.
Anyway, in happier news, as previously advertised, went to see the National’s Edward II on Friday. Oh, that was good! I can see why it would be polarising, but I really enjoyed it; their choices really worked for me. The staging was fantastic – loved the shack-of-plotting where baronial whispering went on (set in the middle of the stage, you couldn’t really see inside, but the scenes were projected onto screens – I thought it was a brilliant way of representing all the secret conspiring that went on, and the implicit danger of those meetings). Also there was a comedy portacabin of terror which tickled our fancy. I thought the characterisation of Isabella was fascinating – she seemed simultaneously to have agency and yet to be dependent on the man in power, whether that man be her husband, her lover, or her son (and that final scene with Edward III was mesmerising). That one line, “All live to die, and rise to fall,” I think perfectly captures the mood of the whole play and that medieval view of the progression (or cycle) of life: the wheel of fortune, indeed. All in all, fabulous.
Saturday, as planned, we went to Ham House, where it was fortuitously open cabinet day! Open cabinet day is the best day. An update on Ham House (as I am sure you have been eagerly awaiting): the Duchess’s bathroom smelt very vinegary; the paintings on the staircase have been taken away for cleaning or summat; they’d left the door to the lumber room off the beer cellar unlocked so I had a little look round (it’s full of lumber); we discovered where they must have barred the kitchen door to the outside world; the library was, alas, locked, so we couldn’t go in and instead peered longingly through the window; they’ve got a new second-hand bookshop (thumbs up).
Didn’t do anything on Sunday except roll around the sofa like a would-be potentate whilst Katie brought me a bacon sandwich for lunch and squash & blue cheese riz for dinner. TV watched over the course of the weekend included Agents of SHIELD and, natch, Downton. My feelings on Downton:
1. I’m sorry, I’m not happy about Edith’s fella. Very concerned he’s going to turn into a Nazi. Back to the drawing board there.
2. Well. At least Matthew left a letter with testamentary effect, but I still find it massively a) out of character and b) fundamentally unlikely, given his profession and state in life, that he did not just make a fricking will. And, in fact, he says he never has made a will. Not when he became Robert’s heir. Not when he inherited Ginger Lavinia’s dad’s fortune. Not when he got married. Not when he bought half of Downton. Really? Really? DO NOT BELIEVE.
3. FFS. Cora’s credulity and Robert’s blind bullheadedness are really giving me the pip. I harbour a longstanding fondness for Robert, but he is being a complete dick.
4. Bates should not look twinkly-eyed; it is extremely disconcerting.
5. There is not permitted to be any conspiracy against Anna. Unacceptable.
6. There is an unwavering truth about Downton that has been apparent from the very first: the Dowager is the best thing.
7. The new lady’s maid. No. Must go. Cannot bear all the petty plotting and mean-spiritedness.
8. Rose is annoying, but that chap she danced with was A+ adorable.
9. The footmen are also annoying. Daisy, you deserve better and one day your prince will come.
10. Molesley. Oh, Molesley. No words, really.
Also watched Atlantis, which I have to say I thought was a bit shit, so I probably won’t bother with it again.
* Huh. It’s like a little allegory, right there.