Curiosity took us to Richmond – in Yorkshire.
Suspect a need to explain this. ‘We ‘is the trio, Grandma, her Knees and her Curiosity. The Knees need their regular walk, Curiosity must explore and find questions to answer and Grandma is happy to go anywhere and see what turns up. ( And to travel alone….See below. )
This time, we were heading for a family reunion in South Yorkshire when Curiosity became intrigued by the thought of Richmond and its historic Georgian Theatre Royal: preserved, restored and back in action. So we went.
Look at it! Original wooden Boxes, bench seats in the stalls, though not quite lamplight. About 200 seats and a tiny stage.
If you can ever get there, do do the backstage tour. How did they manage! How do they today! Living history.
And they were doing Lady Windermere ‘s fan….
What a treat! A chance to sit in that atmosphere, almost on the tiny stage, watching the Niche Theatre Company. Four so talented actors playing a myriad of parts using Commedia del Arte masks. Initiative, imagination and enormous fun. (Always amazed how many common cliche phrases turn out to be from Oscar Wilde!)
Richmond is charming: cobbled market square, mediaeval streets, a towering Castle and the lovely River Swale. Found an equally historic B and B. The kind of place where you immediately feel at home …and they give you a cuppa.
Next morning, Curiosity took the Knees on a morning stroll along the riverside path. It was flat, so no complaints. The Norman castle still dominant looked down at us.
Then something odd. Two canoeists paddling upstream, hard against the current towards the falls. Why?
Even odder they stopped, did a sideways manoeuvre to let the current anchor them, one against a bush and one by a rock. And just sat there. Strange. To Curiosity’s annoyance, there was no obvious answer.
No obvious answer either to the next puzzle. A little further on, a man, sitting on a slab mid current.
He looked completely at ease. Wearing a helmet and weather proof gear he seemed comfortable. But no sign of a canoe or any apparent reason for being there.
Then it all happened. He collapsed backward and lay still, spreadeagled.
Various walkers stopped and gathered in concern. But help was clearly coming. Upstream at the waterfall other people appeared scrambling scarily down it.
A human chain waded towards the rock. We were frozen willing them on. Cheers from onlookers. Happy ending.
A little further on the explanation appeared………….Yes, a Mountain Rescue Team having a practice.
Why have I written this?
Not for the theatre, the play or the river story, though all of that was lovely.
No. But because it seems time to highlight something important about later years. Something which seems to get lost when we think about ageing.
Fun and adventure are still out there! Anywhere. Everywhere. Walk, bus pass, train….
Even at 82. And on your own. And even if you have never done it before….You will be surprised.
No one to go with? Great! The odd thing you discover when you travel alone, is that you are not! You talk to far more people that you ever do when you have a companion!
Just go and find out!
PS. Here is a list of of some of the people I chatted with in the 20 hours I was in Richmond:
The landlady—telling me all about her visitors. Mostly long distance walkers! Hadn’t realised that Richmond is on the Coast to Coast Path.
Theatre volunteer usher —-We discussed Friends Groups and the fun of being involved with something like the theatre. And of course, the play. We both loved it.
Couple sitting next to me —-sharing our amazement at the versatility of the actors and the use of masks. Totally intrigued we were. They were American tourists!
In the interval noticed the Theatre Manager. Asked him how the theatre was funded. That got him talking! But then on to the programme and how he found these amazing groups. Plus of course the problems of an old theatre and modern H and S rules…..
Next morning the riverside onlookers …we were all sharing alarm, and speculating. Lovely crowd.
Ended up talking to the Rescue team leader about their training, recruiting volunteers and again finance!
Final chat over a coffee at the riverside cafe with the local dog walkers who meet there regularly.
Nothing like patting a dog or a gooing at a baby to start a conversation!
Just lovely to meet so many interesting people. And something to talk about when you get back
Oh my curiosity gets me into some wonderful situations! Travelling without a human companion does lead to more conversations I quite agree – and my dog is often the instigator of conversations.
I’m glad for you that the Knees had no complaints. 🙂
I love your indomitable spirit! You are such an inspiration to others over 80 who may be afraid to to ‘just take their knees out for a walk’! Keep going, Joyce. We love to hear all about your adventures!
This walk proved dramatic on two levels. As a great fan of Oscar, I find his play about Lady Windermere’s ventilation device one of his best. As Lord Darlington says, ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’ And then of course the drama staged by the Mountain Rescue Team. You certainly manage to cram a lot into your walks.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone.
Fans of your blog, and Oscar, and of course Lady Windermere, will be following you.
loved your story, and yes, I do talk to more people when I am alone. Even the hobos can be a riot!