A family wedding and Twelfth Night at Fairlight Hall

A family wedding? Us? Yes I know it is surprising when our family is so small, but this was Philosopher’s nephew Matthew, who lives in Hythe. An alternative sort of wedding. Our family may be small but it is certianly not ordinary… Then, the next afternoon, a lovely performance of Twelfth Night by the Duke’s Theatre Company, in the walled garden at Fairlight Hall. Had a very good day out in London yesterday, but Battleaxe can’t cover everything…

Amazing sky at Littlestone. This photo has been entered into a WI photo competition!
Battleaxe on the beach at Littlestone…

So, first, the wedding. Readers may remember that Philosopher’s only sister Hilary sadly died last year. He saw quite a lot of his sister when she was alive, but very little of the rest of her family. She had a husband Mike, and two grown-up children, Matthew and Harriet. Neither of them had partners or children. As sometimes happens in families, Hilary’s illness and then sad death renewed old bonds that had broken apart. Matthew is a jewellery maker and designer, now living in Hythe, and he formed an attachment to Julie, who is a lovely, warm woman with three daughters and a successful business – a chain of nurseries. Julie is clearly a very family-orientated person – they have persuaded Harriet to move down to Hythe, and have taken up with us. We went over there to visit them earlier in the summer, and then invited us to the wedding.

They had already had an official marriage in a registry office, but had the real do in their garden. It is a lovely garden, on several different levels, with great views of the Downs and the sea. The weather was unsettled, but stayed dry except for one brief shower. Blazing sun some of the time. We scrubbed ourselves up as well as we could – I can still get into the lovely dress I wore for my 70th Birthday do and poetry book launch, also at Fairlight Hall. Just realised I never wrote a proper blog post about that. What can I have been thinking? Well, it’s too late now. Shame.

On the way over to Hythe we stopped to eat our sandwich in Littlestone. Neither of us had ever been there before – you drive off the main road at New Romney – towards the station for the little railway. It was a surprise – fantastic views from the beach and strange, big houses. It reminded us of one of those French coastal towns in Normandy…. We particularly liked this one, which is for sale at £1.1 miliion.

Anyway? Alternative? Yes, I guess so. Matthew looks a bit like he should be in a heavy metal band – thin, long hair, black jeans, band tee-shirts. Lots of the blokes looked a bit like him… They had a zany celebrant in a striped djellaba (is that you spell that…?) and a different sort of grub… no sausage rolls and chicken legs, but lots of cheese, nuts, fruit… and a lovely cake covered in flowers rather than icing.  Anyway, here are a few pics to give you a flavour.



Love Matt’s shoes – and one of their little dogs…
Julie, her mum and one of her daughters.

Twelfth Night? Yes indeed. Weather was much the same as the day before, fine except for one shower. Fortunately Battleaxe and Philosopher had snagged seats under one of the huge brollies, so we stayed dry.

There was a really basic, but clever, set, a tiny cast, with lots of skilful doubling up, and they did a fantastic job. All the performances were strong, and they made it very, very, funny. Their comic timing was flawless. As Battleaxe said about the Barefoot Opera production a few weeks ago, having these small, intimate productions presents works in a completely different light. More intimate, more immediate… We loved it, and from the amount of laughter and applause, clearly, so did the rest of the audience.

I particularly liked Ben Simon, who played Sir Toby Belch as a fast-talking, wide-boy small-time criminal, and doubled as the Duke Orsino, who he played as a bead-bedecked languid hippie, topless, in harem trousers… and Malvolio’s yellow outfit was fabulous… As I say though, all the perfomers were strong, and easily audible.

The walled garden was a lovely venue and was looking very special in the late afternoon light. It was packed!

The Duke’s Players are now coming to the end of their long summer tour – all across the country, but hopefully they’ll be back next year. Battleaxe would totally recommend.

That’s all for today – am a bit busy to put it mildly. The Great Novel first draft is now finished, and I am busy editing it all, in preparation for its exposure to publishers/agents. There is so much editing to do – all the timings have to tie up, all the dropped clues and suspects followed up… never mind the usual things like spelling. I discover that a couple of characters have even changed their names part way through! The village is now called Compton Perceval…



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