Because of sadness there is dance!

Tonight, following a visit to an Italian restaurant, Jon made clear his opinion of musical comedy. I feel our relationship may have suddenly encountered a rocky patch. After spending a lovely morning together, while the other weasels went walking and taking photos of dirty signs, I must admit to being somewhat devastated.

I’m trying to shake off this blow.

Our day started off pleasantly enough with a trip into York. Jon had to pop into the office for a bit, so I went with him to keep him company and avoid falling over in some sodden field somewhere.

York was lovely though a bit crowded. I started off walking around to the minster then, feeling a bit put off by the crowds, found a Starbucks for a quick latte. I was a bit upset by the lack of hazelnut syrup but, other than that, it was rather pleasant. And rather fancy.

Suitably refreshed, I headed off for the York Art Gallery to enrich my soul with a bit of art viewing. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover the current exhibition of Japanese ukiyo-e prints tautologically called Pictures of the Floating World.

Of great interest was the series of prints relating to kabuki players. In particular, the work of Utagawa Toyokuni (Toyokuni I) who was ‘renowned for his actor prints (yakusha-e) which he produced primarily from 1794 to the late 1810’s.’

The print below is of Iwai Hanshiro V (1776-1847) who, it is said, was one of the best female impersonators of his time.

Although kabuki started life with only female performers, in the 1620’s women were banned and men took all the roles. So, like Shakespearean plays, there was a lot of cross dressing. I guess the men realised that kabuki was lucrative, so they banned women and took over. Just like Katrine Marcal so eloquently writes in Mother of Invention.

I also discovered that there was a Japanese festival (the Torinomachi Festival) during which prostitutes were fined if they didn’t have customers. Which seems incredibly odd.

I thoroughly enjoyed my wander around the paintings. Apart from the Japanese prints, I rather liked the work of Marinella Senatore (1977-). In particular her works made as part of York Symphony which gathered together local stories and transformed them into artistic works.

I really liked her work titled Because of sadness we have dance! which made me smile.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and sat in Exhibition Square for a little read, while I waited for Jon to take me to lunch. Which was had in the delightful Eagle and Child pub.

We then drove back to the house where, while waiting for the return of the weasels, we both sat in fold up chairs in the sun trap that is the back of the garden, reading and generally snoozing like a couple of contented old men.

It was so pleasant that Lilly (the cat) actually let me stroke her. She hasn’t been particularly approachable ever since the roofers were round, replacing the tiles a few weeks ago. Which reminds me that I forgot to mention the roofer that was scared of heights. It occurs to me that his choice of career may not be the best decision he’s ever made.

Eventually, the peace and tranquillity of our Polkington idyll was shattered with the return of the weasels and we found ourselves gathered in the living/dining/kitchen area trying work out the contents of a parcel which was delivered to the house the other day to a name that doesn’t live there.

The small, flattish parcel was stroked and fondled for a bit by most of us before John managed to extract a small green fussy thing from the tiny hole in the wrapping. Then, feeling the other objects in the parcel again, seemed to indicate the same sort of things only in different sizes.

John found the person they should have been delivered to by looking up the surname and road name in the BT phone directory. A person of the same surname was listed living a few doors down. It was figured that the person who had ordered the item had accidentally picked the wrong number from the postcode drop down.

There was a lot of hilarity until the door bell went and we all suddenly went silent. Were we in trouble for laughing and cackling with noisy abandonment? Had we annoyed the neighbours? No, it was two young teenagers asking if their parcel had been delivered to the house.

Bev handed it over without finding out what it was for. Anthea figured it was probably for some school project.

Eventually, it was time to walk to the pub (Cross Keys) where we relived old times in various European countries and discussed TV programmes we have all and separately enjoyed.

Lorna, Anthea, Bev, John, Jon, Darren and me

After a couple of pints, we set off for our booked table in the Italian restaurant. We were not alone in our riotous behaviour as there was a long table behind us full of women (and one man) who were noisier than us. I would have thought this was an impossibility but, to be fair, there were more of them.

We devoured as many carbs as we could before espresso and amaro to see us into the night. We left when the staff started clearing out the furniture in preparation for closing up for the night.

Eventually we were settled into the front room where I discovered how Jon feels about musical comedy (neither particularly musical or funny). We also found out about the dining area in the Amundsen-Scott Station at Antarctica, which was nicknamed Alice’s Restaurant. Jon’s father worked there for a while.

I’m still trying to get over the musical comedy thing.

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