The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th February 2023, Goodbye Belfast, See You Again Soon

A lift to the city is not to be sniffed at, especially where a suitcase, however small is involved. Kathryn needed to get to work, and Johnny who could have opened for a well earned lie in, kindly drove the pair of us down. Buttons came for the ride, sitting on my knee most of the way, alternately watching out of the window, licking the back of the front passenger seat, or looking me in the eye. She is a very sweet dog, very affectionate and loving. I should have got up half an hour earlier and then she could have the walk she so clearly thought I was going to give her. However, Johnny plans to take her out later so she’ll be happy. I’d say she’s a daddy’s girl, but then she’s also a mummy’s girl, the boys’ girl. In short, the perfect family dog.

The lift into town meant I got an earlier bus out to the airport than anticipated. So I shall be hanging around departure for a while. It meant no worry about getting through security in time for my flight, or filling my water bottle at the unbelievably slow water dispenser. My main fear is getting too relaxed and missing the announcement that the gate has opened.

After a wet and noisily windy night, the day is beautiful, blue skies and sunshine on the fields about. Before I came the forecast was a week of unrelenting rain, but other than a light spattering yesterday evening, the rain has been at night.
I spent much of yesterday at cultural pursuits. In 2017 I saw Girl From the North Country during its first run in London. If memory serves correctly, I saw it a second time during that run. I see a lot of theatre, but much of it becomes a blur. Not the case with Girl From the North Country. So when I realised it was on at the Grand Opera House during my stay in Belfast, I treated myself to a ticket at the matinee. It was also a treat to get inside the opera house whose exterior I have long admired. Arriving some time in advance of the performance, I was able to explore and study some of the displays. There was a photograph of a very young James Nesbitt sporting lots of curly hair. Without the caption, I am not sure I’d have recognised him. All the greats have played there, everyone from Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, through Laurence Olivier and Morecombe and Wise, to Kenneth Branagh with then wife Emma Thompson in a production directed by Judi Dench. On Wednesday night I was at the Lyric theatre for a performance of Romeo and Juliet, a production based on an adaptation by my Johnny’s sister Anne. Portraits, both paintings and photographs, adorned the public areas. There was Adrian Dunbar with locks to rival those of young Nesbitt; Brian Friel looking serious, Liam Neeson looking craggy, Stella McCusker looking serene.

Being at the theatre was great. My week has been extremely busy, I walked a lot, explored areas new to me, revisited ones I know. Sitting in the dark, enjoying the performances was magical. I must find out who played the nurse in R&J because I particularly enjoyed her performance. Obviously the cast had changed for Girl etc. When I saw it in 2017 Ciaran Hinds was playing the part of Nick. The man sitting next to me was enjoying a birthday treat. His daughters, ranged along side him, had bought the tickets, knowing him for a lifelong Dylan fan. He wasn’t sure what to expect. At the end the audience rose as one to give the cast and musicians a standing ovation. the man turned to me and smiled his delight. On the other side of me, a woman turned and pronounced the performance wonderful. I see it’s on at the Wimbledon theatre soon, I am tempted to go again.

Postscript: I actually wrote quite a lot more for this post while sitting in departure at the airport, but when I tried to upload it the wheels went round and nothing happened. Then large amounts of the text, and the photographs vanished. Right now my mind is more on bed than writing, so although I have restored the photographs, you’ll just have to imagine what else I might have had to say.

Sweet dreams.


2 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th February 2023, Goodbye Belfast, See You Again Soon

  1. It’s been many years since I’ve been to an opera, but reading your post takes me back. I doubt we have much worth seeing here, or cultural for that matter. However, we are moving back to Texas to help with my in-laws. Their health is declining. We’ll only be 2 hours from Dallas, so perhaps I can go there once in a while and catch a show.

    • Ah you are an opera buff? Being at the theatre watching a good live performance is magic. we are hard wired to enjoy storytelling, to suspend our disbelief and enter the world we see on stage. enjoy your live performances!

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