It’s party time! And it will start as soon as I manage to get out of the car...
PUBLISHED: 10:09 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:48 27 June 2017
My friend Jane has a sporty soft-top car and often gives me a lift to and from work. I like to wave at my neighbours as we drive by.
But, last week, there was a small problem. As I prepared to get out of the bucket-style passenger seat, I picked up my laptop bag, my handbag and my sun hat (it was a hot day) and attempted to exit. But I couldn’t. With a raised edge around the leather seat, my feet didn’t reach the ground and, with both hands full, I couldn’t grab hold of the door frame for leverage. I rocked back and forth a couple of times, hoping the impetus would propel me out of the door. It didn’t.
There was nothing else for it. Jane had to push. I rocked, she pushed my back and, after a couple of failed attempts, I was finally ejected from the seat into the street. The neighbours waved.
I have given myself a stern talking to. “Lynne,” I said, “You need to recognise you are not a spring chicken.”
But I wasn’t listening. Instead, I have decided to go into training. I want to be able to get up from the floor without using my arms to assist me. My artificial knee makes it quite a challenge and, as things stand at the moment, I can’t even get down onto the floor without hanging on to a piece of furniture and lowering myself to the carpet.
Once I get down there, I try and find a few floor-level things to do – retrieve the grandsons’ toy cars from under the sofa; dust the skirting board. Then I try and rise to feet. It’s not working. I sit there, beached.
“Do you want a hand getting up?” says my husband as I shuffle impotently round the floor on my bottom.
“No, I’m going to do this.”
Twenty minutes later, exhausted, I give in, plant my hands on the floor and scramble to my feet, where my husband is waiting, gin and tonic at the ready.
“It will get easier,” he encourages. Well it has and it hasn’t. I’m no nearer springing to my feet from a sitting position but I’m finding it easier to drink gin.
Another reminder I’m not getting any younger came when we hosted the first night party.
Unlike many local drama groups, this one has a party after the first night of the show... and the last night... and usually the penultimate night and nights in between too.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you are a student holding a party, your first thought is for your own enjoyment; when you are an adult, your guests are paramount and, when you get to my age, the priority is... the neighbours.
Consequently as the preparations were under way (the party was due to start at about 10.45pm, after the show), my husband was dispatched to deliver notes to the people who live next door, to tell them we would be having actors arriving and we would endeavour to keep noise to a minimum. Not that we expected any sort of loud behaviour, it’s just that stage actors have the ability to project their voices... especially after a beer. It’s not dangerous, just the artistic temperament kicking in.
I’m guessing that after a glass of champagne and glowing reviews of his Henry V, Lord Olivier − dear, dear Larry − would have regaled everyone with his: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” from the shrubbery at the bottom of his garden.
I needn’t have been concerned. The cast turned up tired, happy and very hungry. We had made a vat of beef chilli and a modest amount of veggie chilli, served with rice, nachos, grated cheese and soured cream. We used to put out a bowl of salad but no-one ever ate the healthy stuff. Once upon a time the smokers would have headed out into the back garden for a puff (once upon a time, I would have been one of them) but few people smoke these days; not even among thespians and journalists.
It was a cheery band of players that congregated, ate and waved goodbye. I peered out into the dark night – they switch off our street lamps at midnight – and it looked as if the neighbours were undisturbed. Phew... I don’t have to move house.