15 October 2005
This is Misha's third day in hospital. I thought she'd be in and out, as she has been before, whack the infection with antibiotics and she's a homecoming drama queen. How wrong I was. She's really seriously ill; three days in and she can still barely stand, isn't eating, won't even drink. I've just been to visit, and they carried her in like a queen on a fur-lined bed; she cracked one eye open, waved a weakly paw in my direction and yowled faintly, in a summoning, 'advance and be recognised' kind of a way. So I did the melting-marshmallow thing, and the nurses kindly left us alone for a while.
They think she's a little better today, in which case I'm glad I didn’t see her yesterday. The vets say 'wait and see' and 'it's still worth persevering', which has a salutary effect on my optimism, when I can find it.
Meanwhile, what? I cook a little, clean a little, work a little, drink a lot. I go out, much of the time: I have seen happy movies (Sky High, Pride and Prejudice, like that) and foolish theatre (there is a new stage version of an old radio hit, Round the Horne, wherein they use original scripts and play them straight, but it's a recreation rather than a remake, because the contemporary actors play the originals, Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams &c. It occurs to me that this may make no sense at all, to anyone who wasn't English in the sixties; but Williams particularly is a cultural icon, and it's not pastiche, they play him for himself rather than for laughs, and so it is screamingly funny because he was).
School of happy coincidences: a couple of days back, a letter got misdirected by the postman, it came through my door when it shouldn’t have. It was clearly addressed to someone else, who lives on another street altogether. The coincidence here is that he’s actually a friend of mine. So I trotted up the road to hand-deliver, and he yelped with glee and opened it there and then, and it was from a mutual friend, and Andrew said "We’re going to the theatre tonight, to see Round the Horne." "So am I," I said. Which made a double coincidence, which cheered us both; and then the phone rang, and it was a friend of his calling to say that the man playing Kenneth Williams was staying in her house, and would he like to go round for a drink after the show? So he shrieked, and passed the phone to me with instructions to her to repeat herself; and I shrieked, and she invited me too. 'First time is happenstance; second time is coincidence; third time is enemy action', but I didn’t have time to get paranoid. Off to theatre, see show, back to Caroline’s for drinks - and she turns out to be one of the kind people who helped me move here ten years ago, and there is no rubric for what the fourth coincidence means.
Another of the originals in Round the Horne was one Betty Marsden, a name I know only from that show; this evening I was watching a rerun of Sherlock Holmes and there she was, playing a landlady. Is that five, or do we have to start counting again, what with the passage of time and shift of focus?
© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.