Sunday, 4 July 2010

An island weekend and TBTE

Well, a whole week has gone by (as they frequently do) when I haven't set foot off the island. Not since returning from the most delicious fish and chip supper on the Quay at Maldon last Saturday night. And this is a  huge part of the charm of island living for me - the wonderful self-contained, self-sufficiency of it all.  (OK, admittedly, I sailed across the Blackwater to Bradwell and back yesterday evening, but I don't think that counts. It wasn't by car and I didn't land anywhere!)

I used to refer to my children here as Small Doyles (SDs) 1, 2 and 3. But since numbers 1 and 2 are now no longer smaller than me (in height, if not girth!), I'm going to have to change the terminology. They'll doubtless object to any clever acronyms I might devise, so for now they can simply be O, elder daughter, freshly emerged from the rigours of GCSEs, looking forward to a summer of music festivals, unrestrained Facebook interaction and never having to do another physics or German exam again in her life; H, pining slightly for rugby but rejoicing in his new-found prowess in javelin and triple-jump, living a Swallows and Amazons existence whenever he can, rowing 'Sea Pig' (of which more soon) with his mates around the creeks and tiny islands off Mersea; and IM, uber girly girl, owner and wearer, by default, of my entire collection of high-heeled party shoes (not items of attire I need much, if ever, these days), obsessive hair-stylist and The One With The Performing Gene.

Much of the weekend was taken up by IM's appearance in Mersea Island Youth Player's' ambitious summer production, The Junction, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday, O and H accompanied me to the island's theatre at the MICA centre, seated cabaret-style, for an interesting, if sometimes unsettling experience. The gritty urban storyline, devised by some of the older members of the ensemble - and all credit to them for their imagination - was hardly bedtime story fodder for the 8-year-olds (IM, for example) in the cast, in my view, but maybe that's because I'm an Older Mother and not a hip, cool, whereitsat one. But the dancing, costumes, lighting and general spectacle were superb, and the months of rigorous rehearsal were well rewarded. Directed, produced and musically devised by a dedicated team of islanders, all regular performers at The Mersea Session, The Junction was a splendid showcase of young Mersea talent.

What weather we are having! Today was another cloudless scorcher - but here we have the sea breezes to mitigate the otherwise oppressive heat. I had stacks of work to do, but luckily it was of the scribbling-with-red-pen-on-piles-of-paper kind, so I was able to sit in the garden (paperweights to the fore) for five hours and got through another few chapters before the insistent siren wail of the ironing mound could be borne no longer, and in I came to wrestle with sheets, shirts and skirts, and got a bit steamy.

After hearing IM read another chapter of Matilda aloud, do her guitar practice and finally, after a good deal of prevarication, get into bed, I zipped out for a quick circuit of West Mersea on my lovely 1964 green Triumph Ladies' Bicycle (with basket, naturally) to take the night air and stretch the creaking legs before night fell (the bike being unilluminated, since H 'borrowed' and subsequently broke my last set of lights - and not for the first time, either). Here are the resulting TBTE pics, the first two featuring the historic Oyster Sheds, soon to be demolished, despite vociferous local oposition, to make way for a 'fine dining' restaurant (all highly controversial - more soon) the latter two taken from the Best Office On The Island.

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