Escaping Spontenaity

There hasn’t been anything much this week that has made me want to write a blog post, but a few things have happened that seemed worth writing about.

Amelia came to visit, which was lovely. She kept me company while I sorted out various piles of paper in my room, we went shopping for clothes with varying levels of success, and we sat on the floor eating up various tubs of food out of the freezer. I had to abandon her twice, for two different choir rehearsals, which unfortunately isn’t all that uncommon an occurence (with the amount of choir I have had for the last two years, visitors have had to get used to losing me to rehearsals since the longest we have gone without one is two days!). The next day we only really had time to get up and have breakfast before Amelia went off to get her train and I had a singing lesson followed by babysitting. Rather sweetly, the girls’ great-grandmother who is 98 years old and still entirely mentally present decided to accompany the baby and I to the park while the toddler went off with mum for a playdate. It was an unusual experience spending an afternoon with two people almost 100 years apart in age! It reminded me of the fact that my own great grandmother almost reached her century. I wonder whether my grandparents, parents or myself and my siblings will reach anywhere near that age?

On Friday I went for a run. It was the first time I’d run for quite some time, but it had to be done: shortly after posting my last blog post (which was written just after midnight on Wednesday morning), I decided to sign up for a half marathon. I honestly don’t know what possessed me, but now I have to actually train for the thing! I got back and was so wiped out that it took a great deal of energy to get showered and changed to drag myself across town for my friend Emma’s birthday garden party. I’m very glad I did though, as a large number of Emma’s friends are also my friends from previous theatre adventures and many of them I hadn’t seen for several years. We spent the entire afternoon and early evening in the garden eating our way through a tremendous quantity of strawberries, cheese and cake. In the end, to avoid waste, I came home with an entire “back up” birthday cake, six cartons of fruit juice and most of a loaf of bread which I intend to make into bread and butter pudding.

Spontaneously, Emma, her friend Lizzie and I decided to join Stumo to see the late night comedy sketch show, which was absolutely hilarious. I have never laughed so much at a comedy show before. One of the four actors was George Potts – I anticipate hearing his name a lot more in future, and I’ll be so proud to say that I worked with him on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe (although perhaps not as proud to tell the details of our disasterous opening night… a story for another time maybe).

On Saturday my friend Tamsin and her partner Sophie arrived and we went to see the inter-college boat races, which I had never managed to see before despite the fact that they occur at least twice a year, every year. Then they headed to their hotel and Anna came over to my room for dinner, before I quickly got changed into a ball gown and Tamsin and I went off to a May Ball. It wasn’t the best ball I’ve ever attended – there was very little to do, and we didn’t know anyone else there at all – but it was nice to catch up and right at the end, a Latvian man dressed as a cowboy and entirely painted gold decided to come and chat to me, while a random drunk girl in a boat club blazer attempted to steal food from Tamsin’s plate and confided that she wasn’t supposed to eat carbs. It was a very odd end to an otherwise uneventful evening.

Sunday morning arrived too soon and I went off to chapel before coming back to meet Tamsin and Sophie again and go punting. Then I had to dash off for a choir rehearsal (there is a pattern developing here), and they made their way to chapel later for the final evensong followed by the chapel garden party. I was so pleased that they liked the people I introduced them to and didn’t feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. I hadn’t realised that Tamsin had never been to a church service before, other than Sophie’s brother’s Holy Communion, so I was glad it wasn’t intimidating. Sadly they had to leave to drive home, and I went off with some chapel friends for more punting! After two hours of drifting along the river, punctuated by crashing into banks and spinning in helpless circles as first-time punters attempted to get the hang of steering, we decided to go out for dinner.

Every year, I have had the same odd sense of adjustment. All the way through Easter term, social lives shut down. Every decision has to be weighted against the need to stay at home and do more revision, or get enough sleep before an exam. Everyone is busy, stressed and anxious. And then exams finish and suddenly things open up. For an entire week, spontaneity rules. People stop sleeping and eating at regular times and instead go to balls, parties, picnics, concerts and plays.

Unfortunately, I can no longer handle such a radical departure from my routine for an extended period. So on Monday morning I gathered up some things and headed off to my flat for a few days of getting myself sorted, measuring spaces ready for the move, and getting enough sleep. Yesterday evening I went along to a meeting of the local running club, which far exceeded my hopes. Everyone was very friendly, without being overwhelming or insincere, and thanks to a kind man who volunteered to accompany me, I managed to run 4 miles: further than I have ever been before.

Today I have achieved nothing at all. The tutoring lesson which I had in my diary never materialised (my student didn’t come online, and hasn’t replied to my emails), and my plan to go and register at the library and buy a bookshelf has been postponed until tomorrow in favour of a veg-out day on my bed. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by all the things I have to organise, plan and fit in during the next two weeks, so it was good to have a totally unstructured day. In an hour I’m going into the main town to watch a film, and tomorrow I will deal with all the jobs that have been left undone today, as well as going for another run. Then on Thursday I must get back on the train and return to the madness, hopefully a little more refreshed than I would have been otherwise…

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