Planning is everything to me. I am fortunate to have friends who are planners too. The trip to see Richie last year in Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre over two consecutive nights was six months in the works. We strategized seating and accommodations and the icing on the cake was meeting three other fandom women to share it turns out a rare experience thanks to Covid.
When I got on the plane the night of February 24, 2020 I was in pain. I had tripped earlier that day taking my 75 pound Labradoodle Eddie to the boarding vet. He leaped out of the car not into my waiting arms but over me as his leash broke and I landed on the stone front walkway. I dulled the pain on the plane with wine and tried to sleep. I had packed a portable onboard suitcase and a duffel gym bag under the seat which was filled to the brim with gifts for Rachel, Anne, Esther and Jane. Of course I also had Richie’s two mega books that would be gifts to him from all of us. The pain of lugging that gym bag through Heathrow to catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station 🚉 to meet Rachel was a 6.0 on the Richter Scale. Admittedly I tried to hide my physical pain because I didn’t want to be a kill joy right out of the gate.
When Rachel and I started planning we looked at hotels for economy, equalitarianism in space and egress to various spots on our checklist. The restaurant on Tuesday night where we met the girls was very close to the theatre. The dinner was quite lovely and I remember Anne had Flat Richie with her at the time which was a traveling journal project that paid homage to Richie and our respective Home countries. The first night of viewing Uncle Vanya Rachel and I sat in the fourth row to the right of the stage and boy when he walked out my heart skipped a beat. Looking back a year later and watching recently the movie version of the play I completely missed a lot of dialogue and details of the cast because I was so fixated on Richie. I had been fangirling on him for two years then not as intense as I had in the beginning but still things stirred up in parts of my body that had been dormant for awhile. And Stage Door when he sprinted out, dashed to the back working his way up I was tongue tied and sweating! And I foolishly thought I would be cool, calm and collected! A year later I realize how fortunate we all were to not only see Uncle Vanya live but also to see Richie in his native habitat.
Wednesday’s walk around Convent Gardens and lunch and our dinner with Anne at the Japanese restaurant right by the theater were all gifts that got me through the rest of 2020 especially lockdown for 6 weeks. And then Rachel and I went to Edinburgh on the Flying Scotsman and we stepped into North and South. I enjoy reminiscing especially now when my emotions have been a roller coaster from one extreme of elation to the other of anger and despair. I gave my Uncle Vanya signed program to my friend Jacque. My warm Scotland hat has come in quite handy this winter. The trip last February would become an emotional booster shot as Covid grew more pervasive. I long to get out my duffel bag again….
This was Tuesday night program I wore a Russian inspired dress. With jet lag my Armitage “god he’s very sexy” senses were in full mode
We were skulking around London
The week last February including Leap Day was magical, memorable, and meritorious in providing a safe haven for me to just have fun. Thank you to my travel mate Rachel you are a gem 💎 and like family. Thank you to Esther and Anne and Jane for your kindness, humor, and interest in a 6’1 Moody anti socialite. Thank you to Jacque for telling me to just have fun and relax. Indeed!
Stay safe stay well