As I welcome you to this latest Muse, I have to reflect upon how summer is now more behind us than ahead of us. The kids are heading back to school, and the regular routine is back. Welcome to September.
I mean that quite literally. When I got to work a couple of Thursdays ago, the window cleaner alerted me to a blown pane of glass at the front of the showroom. The panel had remained in place, but the glass had shattered, and there was a clear impact point. The culprit? Probably a stone that was kicked up by a passing car. This is the first such incident to occur with our half of the building since we opened (the other retailer to share the building has encountered it a bit more often, which is a bit unusual).
With August winding down, and with the garden in urgent need of cutting (urgh, I loathe gardening), I found myself running our decrepit lawnmower around. Before long, the garden was vaguely tidy again, and whilst trimming the bushes, my wife and I noted the presence of many blackberries. Before long she had picked quite a few, and together with some apples and plums, they became part of a crumble.
Crumbles are humble indulgences, and I have long had a fondness for them. Apple crumbles are wonderful, but there is something to be said for the rhubarb crumble too. My parents used to have a rhubarb patch in their back garden, and so home-made rhubarb crumbles were a fairly regular occurrence.
A word on the blackberry bushes. It’s nice to have them around, and there are quite a few in our immediate vicinity, but they are also quite the obstacle too. Their vines tend to be quite thorny, and they grow quite quickly. The path by our house often sees vines hanging down from higher up, and these are a hazard for pedestrians and cyclists. Sometimes we’ll trim these back, even though it’s not our responsibility, because the local council seems disinterested in doing much about them.
At the end of August, my wife and daughter got to enjoy something rather special. Alas, I was at work, and unable to evade work, but I am glad they got to do something like this. They travelled to Mis Majesty’s Theatre in London, to watch the iconic musical Phantom of the Opera.
My daughter has a certain fascination with classic literature, and with the razzle-dazzle of classical theatre. Her love of reading is wonderful, and her interest in the classics is quite special too. I’ll confess that the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein did not interest me, but each to their own, and I think my daughter’s love of such stories is a good reflection of how unique she is.
Where I live, plans have been afoot for some time to open up a new cinema. The project, designed to regenerate the town centre, got underway in earnest in early 2020, and then of course, the covid pandemic struck. There then problems with sourcing the screens (which are made in Ukraine, and the war understandably disrupted this). Finally, Empire Cinemas, who were due to operate the site, went into administration, and now, after numerous delays to the original planned opening, it looks like there won’t be a cinema in town anymore, or at least, not under the Empire banner.
Other cinema companies have expressed an interest in the site, but one of the more concerning rumours is that the whole project might get shelved, which would be a big kick in the teeth to everyone who’s worked on the project, as well as for anyone who’s been looking forward to a conveniently located cinema. The council might be considering turning the area into flats instead.
The whole thing has become one giant white elephant.
For two consecutive months I have comfortably smashed my intake target. I’d like to believe a hat-trick is possible, but circumstances are changing, and as a result targets will change as well. I cannot go into specifics, but I believe more stress is in my immediate future. Oh well, what else is new?
Back to School
My daughter did not enjoy the previous school year. It would be fair to say she had her share of ups and downs. Some subjects – such as PE – were utterly loathed, which I can relate to, being of a nerdy build, rather than a sporty one. My hope is that with the new term, and new arrangements for sets, she will find things easier. I think we could all do without some of the drama that occupied us last term.
Pride and Prehistoria
No, that’s not the title of a weird, forgotten Jane Austen novel, but rather, a reflection of the weekend’s activities. On Saturday my wife, daughter and I attended the local Pride event. We didn’t stay long, for reasons that will soon become apparent.
The Pride event was colourful, as is to be expected, with numerous stalls selling knick-knacks, and a lot of stalls selling food (so much of it smelled amazing!). At this event, the people of the LGBT community could be themselves, without stigma and without prejudice. You’d think this would be the norm in 2023, but I guarantee it isn’t.
Afterwards, we had a date with the cinema, and an old classic. It’s hard to conceive that it’s been 30 years since Jurassic Park came out, but Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel proved to be as enjoyable to forty-something me as it did to kid me. We saw it because of a weekend deal for cheaper cinema tickets, that allowed us to book 4DX seats. These seats rumble and wobble, and air and water get squirted at you during various points. It makes films quite lively!
I hadn’t realised that the late Michael Crichton’s novel was being fought over by film studios even before the book came out. Such was the strength of feeling that his story could be a hit, that four studios bid for the rights. Imagine how the movie might have looked if directed by Tim Burton; he was backed by Warner Bros, but ultimately Universal Studios succeeded against their rivals, and the rest is a very successful cinematic legacy. Michael Crichton not only helped develop the film’s script, but also wrote a sequel at Steven Spielberg’s urging, so that Spielberg himself could direct it!
The film is more light-hearted than the book (and considerably less gory), but still asks pertinent questions. ‘Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should’ is a notion that is always worth considering.
That’s how long my wife and I have been married! The time zips by, it really does. Our love has endured, and handled everything the past 14 years have thrown at us. At times like these, I like to remember a quote from Doctor Who, and to paraphrase slightly…
‘Love is not an emotion. Love is a promise.’
Here’s wishing love to you all.