The weekend was gratifyingly quiet, with Mum here. Lots of cups of tea and ambling around Stokey. Much pleasure in seeing Spike with her. He needed no prompting to lavish attention and laughs and be generally the sort of grandchild you'd make a 5oo mile round trip to see.
Mum's addicted to Coronation St, so we watched Serena McKellen on superb comic form. He's obviously having a ball.
Sunday we took the Tate to Tate boat, which I recommend (tho' it wasn't the spotty Hirst one), and had lovely roast dinner (or lunch, as the southerners say) at The Constitution pub in Pimlico, one of our old haunts. We revisited Churchill Gardens, the riverside council block where B and I lived (6th floor) before Spike came along.
Noted that my old shaving mirror is still in use in the bathroom, three years on.
Had pre-supper/dinner champagne back at our place to celebrate Everton qualifying for European Champions' League next season. Appropriately enough it was a bottle forwarded from the Beeb radio drama Christmas party for doing so well with my Liverpudlian play.
Mum left Monday lunchtime, and in the eve I went to Henry4.1. Where to start? I was feeling knackered and very odd in myself beforehand (my medicined head) and in the scene before the interval I dropped off, bored by the posturing of the rebels and the bloody bellowing of some of the cast - for which, of course, the Olivier takes its share of blame. But but but. The design is fantastic, Gambon is utterly beautifully on his game (be quiet, Mr Billington), and David Bradley's Henry is a riveting portrait of martial power and the solitude of kingship (the opening speech was electrifying - the way he talked of Christ "nailed/ For our advantage on the bitter cross" gave me goosebumps). Matthew Macfadyen's Hal is, to my taste, perfect. Sure he doesn't versify that well, but you know what, I don't mind. He gives us the character - the nascent cruelty, the ego poised between two ideas of its future, the neediness - and that's more than good enough. He also has the cojones to speak softly in that cavern, trusting we'll hear. Funny how the din of clearing throats dies down when no one on stage is shouting.
Last night, lovely dinner (or was it supper? confused now.) catch-up with me old china Erica W, who's brilliantly well and busy and had loads of interesting stories. She took me to the nicest pub - just off Bishopsgate - that has a picture of Dan Cruickshank in the back bar. I suppose he must be a regular. Or perhaps the landlady just really likes archaeology.