All the world’s a stage in High Park

It’s been go, go, go since we got back from Manitoba on Tuesday – seeing friends, watching Shakespeare outdoors, and then the regular stuff like shopping, gym, writing, oh, and my back feeling like someone had stabbed me with a blunt knife.

Wednesday I tried to catch up on a bunch of things that had slid down the list while we were on holiday. I managed to write about 4500 words of my book, all while sitting on the balcony on a gorgeous Toronto summer’s day. Later when I walked down to the shops, I found myself thinking how much I enjoy it here. Yes, it’s summer. Yes, winter is coming, but at that moment, I felt really content being in this city.

In the evening, Glen and I travelled to Leslieville (technically downtown Toronto but not really) to have dinner with Dave and Antony at their place because Manny is over from Washington, D.C. We’ve got a lot booked up over the next week so Wednesday night was looking like our only chance to see him. We got to see Josh, Dave and Antony’s son, for about 30 minutes before he was put to bed. Bedtime is very strict in the Clark household, something I’ll no doubt emulate if/when we have babies.

Antony and I collected fish and chips from the place just down the road from their house. To our surprise, they don’t do pineapple fritters. To the guy’s credit, who’s mum came from Australia, he knew what they were but said Torontonians didn’t like them. Instead, they like deep-fried pickles. Now THAT’S weird. The fish and chips were good, we had wine, dessert, chatted, watched videos of our travels, and then Glen and I went home, having made plans for them to come to our place on Saturday morning for breakfast.

Pain seared through my back just before we left their place. Thankfully, I was able to walk to the bus stop and catch transport home before the pain really kicked in. My hip was so off-kilter that my right leg looked about 15 cm longer than my left. Walking was difficult, lying down in bed was uncomfortable. I lay awake for a long time, trying to get into a good position but also thinking about the plot for my book. At 1am I took half a sleeping pill and managed to get to sleep a little while after. I woke up in the morning feeling groggy and not well rested.

Thursday passed all too quickly. I talked to family back home in the morning, did a spot of writing (not as much as the day before but enough to not feel like I’m falling too far behind – even though I am), and managed to book an appointment for my chiropractor for a little after 12. It helped. It really helped. Over the rest of the course of the day, the pain subsided noticeably, my hips aligned to their semi-normal state, and I could walk without wincing. Such a relief.

In the evening, Glen and I had tickets with Julian to As You Like It for Shakespeare in High Park. I pulled together a bit of a picnic. Chicken and salad was easy enough, but for dessert, I think I outdid myself. I wanted to make Eton Mess and make the meringue myself. I’ve never made meringue before. My first attempt failed. I used egg whites from a carton. Despite the box saying you can make meringues with them, you can’t. They didn’t peak. My second attempt turned out a lot better. Thank you, Thermomix. I whipped up some cream, cut some strawberries, and I was set.

We had beautiful weather for the play. It’s in the middle of High Park in an amphitheatre. We’d pre-bought reserved seating so we were in one of the front few rows and had a little cushion thing. It’s not the most comfortable place to watch a 90-minute play, but it wasn’t too bad. The length of time was about right. We got there at 6, Julian arriving a little while after, and then we had our picnic.

We’d just about finished the Eton Mess (which tasted heavenly) when the lady behind us leant forward and commented on how impressed she was with what she bought. She praised us for the preparedness, remarked on the chicken salad, and then gushed over the Eton Mess. Glen gave her the last remaining meringue, which went down a treat. I blushed.

I’m always a bit apprehensive about seeing Shakespeare, mostly because half the time I struggle to understand what they’re saying. Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream I’m reasonably ok with as I either studied them or was in them in high school. Corialanus I got after reading what it was about. As You Like It I’d never seen. I read the synopsis before leaving the apartment. It sounded complex and unbelievable, but it promised to be a comedy.

I was really surprised at how well the play was interpreted and portrayed to the audience. I even laughed at the jokes, and not just because of the actors’ delivery of the lines. The lines were easy to understand and they were humorous. Way to go, Shakespeare. Jan Alexandra Smith, who played Jaques, was excellent, but they were all good actors who played their roles well. We left feeling glad we’d been to see it, rather than feeling like the whole thing had been a bit like a chore. I’m glad we saw As You Like It instead of Titus Andronicus which plays on the alternate nights.

The next few days are going to be just as busy, and stretching towards the end of August and into September. I can’t believe how fast time is going, and how much we’re managing to squeeze in.

What do you say, eh?

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