It wasn't as planned in terms of my weekend as a whole: weather predictions meant my 2 night stay in Stratford was abandoned for on-the-day return train journeys (and even that was oh-so-nearly replaced by a last minute 1 night away, thwarted by ill health). There were minor hiccups on the day: three of our number were temporarily separated into a pair and a wrongly boarded train single, with an unusual lack of mobiles making reassurance impossible (thankfully, the three were reunited and progressed to our meeting). And then the leading lady was indisposed, creating a shuffle-up effect on the cast similar to that imposed by Tennant's back injury last winter.
But it mattered not a jot because we managed it. Nine of us made it to Stratford, as planned for not just an annual reunion but also a significant cultural activity. We came from across England: the north-west, the south coast, the entire sweep of the west midlands and beyond, and from the east midlands.
The sun shone - not too unbearably. And we were all happy.
When I was at Wolverhampton Uni, first as an undergraduate and then as a temporary lecturer, I felt incredibly lucky to meet and befriend such wonderful people on the teaching staff. The class that I first ran on my own, Romanticism, in the 1994/1995 academic year, included a delightful cohort of youngish to older mature students. In subsequent years we kept in touch and my former tutors, now colleagues, saw them through to graduation and subsequently on to further studies, other qualifications and lives. And we still meet each year for conversation and culture.
This year we planned and plotted a trip to Stratford for a play and I have to say it feels like a resounding success with even skeptical RSC visitors delighted by the production of As You Like It. Full review in next post, but thank you everyone for making it so wonderful.